Jean Mohr

Two little girls learning to walk again, Lao People's Democratic Republic
WHO/Jean Mohr

Jean Mohr was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925. He earned a degree in "sciences commerciales" in 1948 and began work at an advertising agency. In 1950, while travelling with the Red Cross to the Middle East, he discovered photography. After briefly studying painting in Paris, Mr Mohr moved back to Geneva in 1952 and worked as a freelance photojournalist. His work was published in several papers and magazines, and he received assignments from the International Labour Organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Red Cross, and UNESCO, among other international organizations.

In 1978, Mr Mohr began working with the writer John Berger, a collaboration that would lead to a series of publications and conferences on the relationship between word and image. In 1984, he received the Prize for Contemporary Photography from the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne and in 1988, the city of Geneva Prize for Plastic Arts.

Between 1960 and 1974, Mr Mohr produced a number of photo stories for WHO. He travelled to all of the WHO regions and his work appeared often in the World Health magazine.

The bridge on the Drina: Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1961
The photo essay The bridge on the Drina, by Jean Mohr was inspired by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Ivo Andric's book by the same name, "which tells how the bridge, ever since it was built in the 16th century across the fast-flowing river of Serbia, has contributed to the growth and life of the town of Visegrad." Mr Mohr explored the theme of urbanization: "the growth of towns, suburbs swallowed into city centers, the disappearance of green calm." (World Health, December 1962)

Ill but active: Lao People's Democratic Republic, 1968
For this photo report, Jean Mohr visited the Mahosot hospital in Vientiane. He photographed the variety of physical therapy and rehabilitation programmes aimed to allow patients to make the transition back to independent life. His images were published in 1968 under the title Infirmes mais actifs.