Artists Who Inspire: Margaret Bourke-White

It was may fifth grade book report and it was a big deal. My first presentation in front of the whole class, and my mom bought me a new dress for the occasion. I had my poster board covered in rubber cement, because only amateurs used glue sticks. And I was a professional. I’d racked up quite a few hours with my re-loadable Barbie film camera (yes an image of Barbie appeared in the corner of every image) and photographed many Barbie weddings complete with homemade marshmallow cakes. (My microwave skills were exceptional for a ten year old). I was so going to rock this book report!

The topic was someone we admire. At first I thought about my mom, but since no books have been published on her (not yet at least) I had to choose someone else. Enter this image I found while flipping through old magazines at my grandma’s house.

Who stood in line for food I wondered? It was then that I learned about Margaret Bourke-White. I may have been a Barbie camera toting little girl, but her images made me think. She soon became my go to power house of feminine strength. Yes, that’s a little lame but I’m not afraid to admit it. I still geek out over chick art, music and books. (I’m a liberal feminist, hear me roar!) I read her biography Portrait of Myself and her voice spoke to me.

She led an amazing life. Traveling the world, documenting World War II, the Great Depression and Gandhi.  She was a trail blazer, photographing in a steel mill, and becoming the first female photographer at Life Magazine. I can only dream of a life as amazing.

Margaret Bourke White the first female photographer at Life Magazine

“If anybody gets in my way when I’m making a picture, I become irrational. I’m never sure what I‘m going to do–only that I want that picture.”

You Go Girl!

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