Happy Birthday Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971)

Margaret Bourke-White

Born on June 14 was a trailblazer in twentieth century photojournalism.  She was one of the best known foreign photographers — the first female war correspondent and first woman working in combat zones. She was also the first female to be published in Life magazine making the cover.

Bourke-White attended Columbia University to study photography.  In 1927 she moved to Cleveland opening her own studio where she documented the effects of modern industry on people and land.  In 1929, everything changed.  She was hired as a staff photographer by Fortune magazine.  The following year, she went to the Soviet Union to document industrialization under the Communist regime, and a year later published Eyes of Russia.

In 1934, she documented the effects of the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and areas of the Plains.  By this time, she used a more candid and sequential style using her images to create visual narratives.  In 1936, she published these images entitled You Have Seen Their Faces.

Bourke-White examined social issues from a humanitarian perspective documenting some of twentieth-century’s most notable moments. Her life and career was cut short from Parkinson’s disease.  She died in 1971.

Leave a Reply