M. Bourke-White; “Camera Queen”

“I want to do all the things that women never do!” Margaret Bourke-White

 

“The very secret of life for me, I believed, was to maintain in the midst of rushing events an inner tranquility.” Margaret Bourke-White


Margaret Bourke-White (June 14, 1904 – August 27, 1971) was an American photographer and documentary photographer.

“The beauty of the past belongs to the past”. Margaret Bourke-White

“I was to discover that the quest for human understanding is a lifetime one that has no end in sight.” Margaret Bourke-White

She was hired by Henry Luce as the first female photojournalist for Life magazine in 1936.Her photograph of the Fort Peck Dam construction appeared on its first cover on November 23, 1936.

“Nothing attracts me like a closed door. I cannot let my camera rest until I have pried it open.”  Margaret Bourke-White

In the spring of 1945, she traveled throughout a collapsing Germany with Gen. George S. Patton. She arrived at Buchenwald, the notorious concentration camp, and later said, “Using a camera was almost a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me.” After the war, she produced a book entitled, Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly, a project that helped her come to grips with the brutality she had witnessed during and after the war.

To many who got in the way of a Bourke-White photograph — and that included not just bureaucrats and functionaries but professional colleagues like assistants, reporters, and other photographers — she was regarded as imperious, calculating, and insensitive.

Bourke-White was portrayed by Farrah Fawcett in the television movie, Double Exposure: The Story of Margaret Bourke-White (1989) and by Candice Bergen in the 1982 film Gandhi.

 

Bourke-White is known equally well in both India and Pakistan for her photographs of Gandhi at his spinning wheel and Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, upright in a chair.

“She became perhaps the best-known American photographer in the twentieth century. Through her photos, thousands were able to witness world events. The fact that she was a woman doing these things, at a time when women were expected to focus on home and family, is perhaps the most impressive thing of all.” Iglitzin

One thought on “M. Bourke-White; “Camera Queen”

  1. Pingback: Right Place, At The Right Time | Say It With A Camera

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