new-york

Margaret Bourke-White

International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)

Throughout most of her career, Margaret Bourke-White’s status as a media star overshadowed her photographs. It’s telling that even the picture used to advertise this show is not by her but of her, sitting in a demure skirt and fashionable hat on a girder of an unfinished building, clutching one of the bulky press cameras of the day. Life magazine, for which Bourke-White worked for many years, was happy to exploit her reputation as an intrepid photojournalist, continually risking danger to get her picture—“Life’s Bourke-White Goes Bombing” proclaimed the headline for a 1943 story featuring photos that Bourke-White made on a bombing raid; predictably, one of the lead pictures for the piece is of the photographer herself, casually fashionable in a leather flightsuit, blonde hair blowing.

At the same time, there’s no denying Bourke-White’s importance in the history of photojournalism. As the

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