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Portrait of Myself

Tekijä: Margaret Bourke-White

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
952290,386 (4.25)3
This is the story of the internationally acclaimed American woman Margaret Bourke-White, who for over thirty years made photographic history: as the first photographer to see the artistic and storytelling possibilities in American industry, as the first to write social criticism with a lens, and as the most distinguished and venturesome foreign correspondent-with-a-camera to report wars, politics and social and political revolution on three continents.In this poignant autobiography, Bourke-White details her fight against Parkinson's disease, and recounts tales of her struggles to master her art and craft, of photographing Stalin, Gandhi and many other notables, of being torpedoed off North Africa while reporting World War II, of flying combat missions, of photographing the dread murder camps of Nazi Germany, of touring Tobacco Road to produce the book You Have Seen Their Faces with Erskine Caldwell (whom she later married), of adventures-and wonderful picture-taking-in the mines of South Africa, in the frozen North, in war-torn Korea.Illustrated throughout with over 70 of Margaret Bourke-White's fine photographs, this is the great life story of a great American, greatly yet modestly told.… (lisätietoja)
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I chose this book (for a book report on biographical material I had to write for a college journalism/photography class in 1975) for two reasons. First, it is about a female photographer, and I was interested in learning what it was like to be a major photographer from one of my own gender. Second, the book is an autobiography, which I feel is more reliable than a biography. In the latter, the subject's thoughts and feelings are often lost or twisted in the biographer's own mind-maze of opinions and ideas.

I found Margaret Bourke-White to be as good a writer as she is a photographer. Her wording was clear, her organization logical, her style not pompous (which one often doesn't expect coming from famous people).

What I found most impressive about Miss Bourke-White was her great courage. She was never afraid (or never showed it) in dangerous situations. And she was in plenty of those....bombing raids, a sinking ship, the Italian front in World War II, deep in gold mines, and in the midst of Korean guerrilla warfare. And yet, throughout these episodes, she did not call attention to her lack of fear. Only an explanation for it was given in the first chapter.

Another aspect that amazed me was that she was able to do all the things she did. That's surprising, considering she's a she, and this was long before the women's liberation movement!

Also interesting were the three stages Margaret Bourke-White seemed to go through in her photographic career, stages I imagine most serious photographers go through. She began by taking pictures of what she liked best....dramatic industrial scenes in her case. Later, after beginning to work for the industrial magazine Fortune, she found beautiful pictures weren't enough. In her words, "Working for the integrated whole require[s] a much wider conception....pictures could be beautiful, but must tell facts, too....the idea of searching to record the 'unseen half' [is] an invaluable habit for a photographer to form" (page 70).

Then, after an assignment to photograph the situation in the Dust Bowl, she learned something else:

"I think this was the beginning of my awareness of people in a human, sympathetic sense as subjects for the camera and photographed against a wider canvas than I had perceived before. During the rapturous period when I was discovering the beauty of industrial shapes, people were only incidental to me, and in retrospect I believe I had not much feeling for them in my earlier work. But suddenly it was the people who counted.(page 110)....a man is more than a figure to put into the background of a photograph for scale...I was learning that to understand another human being you must gain some insight into the conditions which made him what he is. The people and the forces which shape them: each holds the key to the other. These are relationships that can be studied and photographed" (pages 134 and 136).

I feel that was the most valuable point in the book, a lesson which I will remember. ( )
1 ääni riofriotex | Jul 20, 2021 |
very positive story. my favourite read is women's autobiography ( )
  mahallett | Mar 28, 2008 |
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This is the story of the internationally acclaimed American woman Margaret Bourke-White, who for over thirty years made photographic history: as the first photographer to see the artistic and storytelling possibilities in American industry, as the first to write social criticism with a lens, and as the most distinguished and venturesome foreign correspondent-with-a-camera to report wars, politics and social and political revolution on three continents.In this poignant autobiography, Bourke-White details her fight against Parkinson's disease, and recounts tales of her struggles to master her art and craft, of photographing Stalin, Gandhi and many other notables, of being torpedoed off North Africa while reporting World War II, of flying combat missions, of photographing the dread murder camps of Nazi Germany, of touring Tobacco Road to produce the book You Have Seen Their Faces with Erskine Caldwell (whom she later married), of adventures-and wonderful picture-taking-in the mines of South Africa, in the frozen North, in war-torn Korea.Illustrated throughout with over 70 of Margaret Bourke-White's fine photographs, this is the great life story of a great American, greatly yet modestly told.

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