He is one of the most important photographers of Bauhaus and modernism, but first found his creative medium after completing his studies at the school of design: Otto Maximilian Umbehr, also known as Umbo. Born 1902 in Duesseldorf, Umbo arrives at the Bauhaus in Weimar in autumn 1921, intending to become a painter. Here, he attends Johannes Itten’s preliminary course.
“Umbo’s innovative photographs of the faces of Berlin’s bohemian milieu or of urban scenes soon make his reputation as an avant-garde photographer. In 1928 Otto Umbehr becomes one of the main photographers of the Deutscher Fotodienst (Dephot), the foremost photo agency of the Weimar era. Here, he also makes a name for himself as a ‘pioneer of modern photo reportage’ (Molderings, 1996, p. 132). When Gropius leaves the Bauhaus in 1928, Umbo is briefly considered as a teacher for the new photography class; the job goes to Walter Peterhans and Umbehr instead becomes a specialist subject teacher for photography at Johannes Itten’s Moderne Kunstschule in Berlin.” Bauhaus Association 2019