Bonnell Robinson was born in New York City and after graduating from Columbia University went on to studies at MIT and RISD eventually moving to Boston. She is a professor of photography and art history as well as a curator. She has taught at undergraduate and graduate levels at the Art Institute of Boston, Lesley University, Mass College of Art, Boston University, Brandeis, and RISD. Robinson has curated over 80 exhibitions since she began her curatorial work in 1978. Selected exhibitions include artists as diverse as Käthe Kollwitz, Duane Michals, Stephen Antonakis, Edward Gorey, Chuck Close, Susan Meiselas, Ralph Stedman, Migual Rio Branco, and Luis Gonzalez Palma. Themed based shows include 19th and 20th Century Photographs of Giza, civilians in war, artists of the New Yorker, Magnum photographers, contemporary photogravure, and contemporary approaches to the wunderkammer.
Her documentary photography since 2007 has focused on sites associated with conflict, and specifically the Great War of 1914 – 1918. For this project she has traveled and photographed in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia. Robinson’s photographs along the fronts of WW1 have been exhibited in No Man’s Land at Lesley University, Cambridge and Rick Wester Fine Art, New York City. During the year 2015-2016 they will be part of an international exhibition traveling through central and eastern Europe titled Red Poppy Fields.