Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret
Bourke-White
1904
1971

American Documentary Photographer

Author Quotes

They [her subjects] believed I would be trying to get the truth of the question, and they trusted me.

Utter truth is essential and that is what stirs me when I look through the camera.

We are in a privileged and sometimes happy position. We see a great deal of the world. Our obligation is to pass it on to others.

We see a great deal of the world. Our obligation is to pass it on to others.

The camera is a remarkable instrument. Saturate yourself with your subject, and the camera will all but take you by the hand and point the way.

The element of discovery is very important. I don't repeat myself well. I want and need that stimulus of walking forward from one new world to another. There is something demoralizing about going back to a place to retake pictures. You can no longer see your subjects in a fresh eye; you keep comparing them with the pictures you hold in your memory. [The] world was full of discoveries waiting to be made... (as a photographer) I could share the things I saw and learned...you would react to something all others might walk by.

The very secret of life for me...was to maintain in the midst of rushing events an inner tranquillity. I had picked a life that dealt with excitement, tragedy, mass calamities, human triumphs and suffering. To throw my whole self into recording and attempting to understand these things, I needed an inner serenity as a kind of balance.

The world was waiting to be full of discovery made...(as a photographer) I could share the things I saw and learned....you would react to something all others might walk by.

A kind of golden hour one remembers for a life time... Everything was touched with magic.

Any photographer who tries to portray human beings in a penetrating way must put more heart and mind into his preparation than will ever show in any photograph.

As photographers, we live through things so swiftly. All our experience and training is focused toward snatching off the highlights...That all significant perfect moment, so essential to capture, is often highly perishable. There may be little opportunity to probe deeper.

By some special graciousness of fate I am deposited -- as all good photographers like to be -- in the right place at the right time. Go into it [photography] as young as possible. Bring all the asset you have and play to win. - written after she was stricken with Parkinson's disease.

I have always thought that if I could turn back the pages of history and photograph one man, my choice would be Moses.

If anyone gets in my way when I?m making a picture, I become irrational. I?m never sure what I am going to do, or sometimes even aware of what I do?only that I want that picture.

If you want to photograph a man spinning, give some thought to why he spins. Understanding for a photographer is as important as the equipment he uses.

Life wanted faces that would express what we wanted to tell. Not just the unusual or striking face, but the face that would speak out the message from the printed page. I am always looking for some typical person or face that will tie the picture essay together in a human way.

Nothing attracts me like a closed door. I cannot let my camera rest until I have pried it open.

The beauty of the past belongs to the past.

Saturate yourself with your subject and the camera will all but take you by the hand.

Only by his action can a man make (himself/his life) whole... You are responsible for what you have done and the people whom you have influenced. In the end it is only the work that counts.

Author Picture
First Name
Margaret
Last Name
Bourke-White
Birth Date
1904
Death Date
1971
Bio

American Documentary Photographer