Monday, January 23, 2006

Buchenwald death camp, near Weimar, Germany, photo Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White was the first great female photojournalist; her work spanned the 1930's to the 1960's.

Life Magazine was one of the greatest photo journals of that era and she distinguished herself as a Life staffer. In the 1930's she shot photos of American poverty. In the 1940's she covered WWII in Europe, going so far as to ride in bombers during raids. One of her contributions was to document the American discoveries in the Nazi death camps about 1945.

From a Univ of Iowa site:

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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