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Picks and Pans Review: For the World to See: the Life of Margaret Bourke-White

updated 06/06/1983 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/06/1983 01:00AM

by Jonathan Silverman

Unlike Stieglitz, Bourke-White was more a journalistic photographer than a self-conscious artist, yet she saw unexpected beauty in commonplace subjects. She got her start taking pictures in a steel mill, venturing so close to the heat it blistered the varnish on her camera. Early on she joined LIFE, then a new magazine, which used her powerful study of a giant dam under construction on its first cover (Nov. 23, 1936). A pioneer in photojournalism, she traveled to the Soviet Union, Germany, South Africa and India to learn the character of each locale and its people. The text of this book, which quotes liberally from Bourke-White's writing, includes details of her private life, which was the hectic stuff of high romance. In a loving preface her old colleague, photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, writes, "Her dedication and determination to show the world as it is are the qualities by which I remember her most." (Viking, $46.95)

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