Emil Otto HoppĂ© (1878â1972) is my kind of photographer. He was incredibly prolific, producing a huge body of work which spans many people, places and subjects (not likely to be pigeon-holed then).
He was not only a portrait photographer, as he was also known as a topographic and travel photographer. I am particularly interested in his travel photography, mainly because theÂ images he took throughout his life document different kinds of places (from Indonesia to Australia) and show them in a different light.
What drove Emil Otto HoppĂ© to take photographs abroad?
Unfortunately, the records held at The National Archives arenât necessarily going to provide in-depth or exact answers to that question.Â Even if you may not find all the answers to the questions asked in the course of your research, it shouldn’t stop you from asking (and looking) anyway. Thatâs the mystery of archives. Records donât always tell you all the answers. They can be mysterious and enigmatic, and can often raise more questions.
It doesnât mean you arenât going to find any records though. The records I found relating to Emil Otto HoppĂ©Â Â by searching The National Archives’ catalogue capture his movements to various places.
Moving toÂ London
HoppĂ© first came to Britain to train as a financier in 1902, but later turned his hobby of photography into a career with great success.Â German by birth, the naturalisation case paper file in HO 144/1169/214766 reveals that he was born in Munich. It also provides personal details like his parentsâ names and the signature of the applicant.
Some naturalisation case paper files may contain police reports which summarise the general character of the applicant and other details such as where they lived. HoppĂ©’s case paper file provides a brief summary of his places of residence, and therefore help us track some of his movements within London.
By the time he was naturalised in 1911, he already established himself as a commercial photographer based in Baker Street, London. The summary to the report held in the case paper fileÂ is âfavourable. Applicant is a well-known photographerâ.