Avgust Bohanec was born on 10 August 1933 in Mala Nedelja pri Bučkovcih, near Ljutomer. He trained as a locksmith in Maribor Foundry. Aged twenty-eight, he went abroad in search of better earnings. In the USA, he gradually asserted himself as a dealer in photography equipment. He became the major repair service provider and representative of the world-famous German company Ernest Leitz of Wetzlar, which manufactures the renowned Leica cameras. He acquired the right to keep the assigned title The First Exclusive Leica Dealer in the USA on his business cards and the signboard above his shop until retirement. Avgust Bohanec is a renowned collector of photography equipment. In collecting cameras and maintaining the collection, he is assisted by his wife Maria, who is of Mexican origin.

In 1980s, Avgust Bohanec decided to donate his camera collection to Maribor, providing that the municipality ensures a decent presentation in a relevant museum department. Even before signing a donation agreement with local authority representatives, he sent the first ship load of 349 historical cameras on 18 May 1988, which was followed by further two shipments by April 1990.

The donation agreement was signed on 1 July 1988. Its final provision states that the collection should be named Avgust and Maria Bohanec Photography Collection.

The collection comprises 1645 items, including more than 1100 cameras, film cameras and projectors. The remaining items are accessories, including light meters, range finders, flashes, filters, shutters and alike. The collection spans all periods of photography from the end of the 19th century to the end of the 20th century, when digital photography emerged.