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Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971) var fotojournalist og krigskorrespondent og arbeidet særlig for Life
. Hun arbeidet i kampsoner under andre verdenskrig, var en av de første fotografene som kom inn og dokumenterte konsentrasjonsleirene, hun dokumenterte Mahatma Gandhis arbeide i India,
Utstillingen på Preus viser særlig fotografier fra Sovjet, Tsjekkoslovakia, Tyskland, England og Italia på 1930- og 40-tallet.
Ti fotografier av Margaret Bourke-White
Her mother was educated at Pratt Institute in stenography and was a dedicated homemaker who encouraged her children to become educated. When Minnie would discover that one of her children had a new found interest, she would leave books around the house pertaining to that subject.
Her mother gave her the belief that life was sacred and her father, although “abnormally silent”, gave her a lust and fearlessness of life. As a young girl Margaret was interested in insects, turtles, frogs, books and maps. In her book Portrait of Myself
, she writes, “I pictured myself as the scientist, going to the jungle, bringing back specimens for natural history museums and doing all the things that women never do”.
Although her father was very fond of photography and was always experimenting with lenses and other gadgetry, Margaret did not pick up a camera until after her father’s death.
In 1921, Margaret had enrolled in classes at Columbia University in New York to study art. Her mother bought Margaret her first camera that year. The camera had cost her mother $20 and it had a cracked lens. She took a one-week course under Clarence H. White. She chose the course because it dealt with design and composition; she didn’t take it because she wanted to make photographs.
Throughout her college career, Bourke-White attended 7 Universities and studied art, swimming and aesthetic dancing, herpetology, paleontology and zoology.
Her first magazine job came with Fortune, who sought her vigorously. She did not want to relocate to New York because the studio in Cleveland was very successful. The magazine settled for a part-time contract of $12,000 per year. It quickly became one of the leading photographic magazines and gained Bourke-White even more recognition. She was commissioned to document the building of the Chrysler building, which in 1930 became the new home of her second studio. The 61st floor gave Bourke-White access to the jutting gargoyles and perfectly dangerous imagery. Also in 1930, Bourke-White became the first foreign photographer to have unlimited access to the Soviet Union.
In a 1935 poll she was named one of the 20 most notable American women, and in 1936, was named one of ten.
Margaret Bourke-White i 1943.
Although Margaret had vowed to never fall in love again after her horrible marriage with Chappie, Erskine Caldwell somehow caught her off guard and the two fell in love while on their trip to the South (jobbtur, han skrev, hun fotograferte). They moved to a New York apartment. They produced another book together, North of the Danube. It covered Czechoslovakia and how it was coming under the reign of the Nazis. By this time Caldwell wanted Margaret to marry him, but she would not agree. She wrote in her autobiography, “It is often said that a woman is most strongly drawn to the man who needs her the most. I had always considered myself too selfish to be governed by such a motive. But there must be something to it.” And with that, they were finally married in February 1939.
She continued to travel with Life, but soon after her marriage the magazine was printing very few of her photographs and her husband wanted her home. PM was a new New York newspaper that wanted Bourke-White’s imagery and she agreed to go to work for them. It was short-lived. Although she was able to photograph different subject matter for the newspaper, flowers, insects and animals, a daily newspaper could not handle her insistence on quality images and she was soon back with Life.
Couple pulling a handcart with children, Germany, 1945. Fra utstillinge i Horten.
In 1941, Caldwell and Bourke-White went to the Soviet Union. With 5 cameras, 22 lenses, 4 developing tanks and 3,000 flashbulbs, her luggage total was 600 pounds. But it paid off; she was the only photographer in Moscow during the German raid on the Kremlin and she photographed Josef Stalin. Upon their return to New York, Caldwell was pressuring Margaret to have a child. Although Margaret secretly wanted a child, her independence and her career were more important. Soon after their return Life was calling Margaret back to England to photograph the American B-17 bombers headed for war. Caldwell asked for a divorce.
(...) as the next assignment was to fly a bombing raid in a B-17. The photographs she took from this assignment we run in the March 1 issue of Life. It included a photograph of her just before she flew, dressed in all of the appropriate flying gear.
Selvportrett i 1943.
Amazingly, this photograph became one of the Army’s favorite pin-up posters. “It was the most over-dressed pin-up in the history of the war” (Vicki Goldberg
). She covered almost the entire war and after the German’s surrendered she wrote Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly. It was a book “saturated with her anger, her hatred of Germany, her commitment to democratic ideas, and her despair over American indifference to the moral implications of the war” (Vicky Goldberg).
During the Korean War, Margaret started noticing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. By 1957 she was unable to continue her photography and her work for Life. While living with her disease she wrote her autobiography, Portrait of Myself, lectured, and several essays about her life. She also endured two brain surgeries in the hopes that the symptoms of Parkinson’s would be alleviated, but they were unsuccessful. She died in Connecticut at the Stamford Hospital on August 27, 1971.
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