Home Biography

Jean Mohr was born in Geneva September 13, 1925.
His grand father was director of the Basle Mission, and his parents came to live in Geneva in 1919. His father Wolfgang Mohr worked as a translator (17 languages) for the International Labour Office and later during the War for the International Commitee of the Red Cross. Very hostile to what was happening in Germany under Hitler, he applied for Swiss nationality in 1936 and received it in 1939, just before the beginning of the War. Since his childhood he rejected his German roots and used the French pronunciation of his first name, "Jean," although he had been named "Hans Adolf" when he was born.
Jean is the third child of a family of six children, (five boys and one girl). After primary school at the Brechbühl school in Geneva, and secondary school in the Calvin College of Geneva, he received a Master’s degree in Economic and Social Sciences at Geneva University. He then worked for one year in the world of advertising, then left for the Middle East where he worked with Palestinian refugees as a representative of the International Comittee of the Red Cross and later for UNRWA. He then studied painting in Paris (Académie Julian) before coming to photography at the age of 30. A profession he practises with passion to this day. In 1956 he married Simone Turrettini (Master’s Degree in science who subsequently became a film director at the Swiss TV (Télévision Suisse romande) where she received many international awards for her documentaries in Switzerland and abroad.
They have two sons: Michel, the elder son, has been living in Japan for almost twenty years. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Geneva in 1992 with a thesis on Japanese Buddhism. He is currently teaching Asian religions at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He is married with Yurika Kameya and they have two sons: Samuel and Louis.
Patrick the second son, completed an artistic maturity at the College Claparède in Geneva before starting as a photographer. He made long trips to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, then to Africa, mainly Burkina Faso.
Back in Europe, he decided to dedicate his life to theater, and obtained the diploma of the Jacques Lecoq school in Paris. There, he met his wife Michèle Millner (Australian) with whom he founded the Theatre Spirale on his return to Geneva. They have presented many shows in Switzerland, in Africa, in Finland,in Lebanon, in the U.S.A. and in France (Avignon, Limoges, Paris.) They have two children: a girl Mia (15) and a boy Leo (11) both attending school in Geneva.
At the Swiss National exhibition of 1964, Jean Mohr was chosen as one of the 50 artists forming "la Voie Suisse" His pavillon illustrated Swiss economic and social freedoms.
In 1978, he obtained a prize in Köln for the photographer who had worked most for the cause of Human Rights. In 1984, he received Contemporary Photography Prize in Lausanne with the exhibition "C’était demain" ('It was tomorrow') and in 1988 the City of Geneva Prize for the Plastic Arts (awarded for the first time to a photographer).