March 14 ~† Excellence of Results Documenting America

"Usually I object when someone makes overmuch of menís work versus womenís work, for I think it is the excellence of the results which counts." ~ Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White

A woman who defined passionate excellence, photojournalist and writer Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971) was a pioneer in the field of photojournalism. She shot the cover for the first issue of Life magazine (1936) and her photo essay inside was the first ever published in America.

Her goal was to "expand the pictorial files of history for the world to see. Just one inch in a long mile," she explained.

An eyewitness to some of the most remarkable events of the 20th century, her photo essays of the Depression, World War II, and South African apartheid brilliantly recorded truth and called attention to the suffering of unknown people.

"If anyone gets in my way when Iím making a picture,I become irrational. Iím never sure what I am going to do, or sometimes even aware of what I do--only that I want that picture," she said of her work.

Born in New York City, Bourke-White had extraordinary self-confidence and determination to excel. She risked her life to snap her images for Life and Fortune magazines. "If you banish fear, nothing terribly bad can happen to you," she said.

The tough, feisty woman photographed the famous leaders of her time: Churchill... Roosevelt...Stalin. Her famous photograph of Mahatma Gandhi seated next to his spinning wheel was taken after he required her to learn how to spin.

"Utter truth is essential...and to get that truth may take a lot of searching and long hours," said the woman who fought Parkinson's disease for 17 years.

"Work is something you can count on, a trusted, lifelong friend who never deserts you."

More PHOTOGRAPHY Quotations

celebrate life! Excellence matters.