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Margaret Bourke-White Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Margaret Bourke-White (1906-1971)
Margaret Bourke-White was born in the Bronx, New York. She studied at Columbia University. She was an industrial photographer at the Otis Steel Company, an editor for Fortune magazine and a photojournalist for Life magazine. In 1930, she became the first Western photographer allowed into the Soviet Union. During the mid-1930s she photographed drought victims of the Dust Bowl. During WWII she worked in combat zones as a war correspondent.
Nuremberg Bombed
Crystler Building
George Washington Bridge


Margaret Bourke-White photos for Life magazine at Buchenwald, 1945

Impending victory was sobered by the grim facts of the atrocities which allied troops were uncovering all over Germany. Margaret Bourke-White was with General Patton's third amy when they reached Buchenwald on the outskirts of Weimar. Patton was so incensed by what he saw that he ordered his police to get a thousand civilians to make them see with their own eyes what their leaders had done. The MPs were so enraged they brought back 2,000. Bourke-White said, "I saw and photographed the piles of naked, lifeless bodies, the human skeletons in furnaces, the living skeletons who would die the next day... and tattoed skin for lampshades. Using the camera was almost a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me." LIFE published in their May 7, 1945 issue many photographs of these atrocities, saying, "Dead men will have indeed died in vain if live men refuse to look at them."
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