Time - 100 Photographs - The Most Influential Images of All Time - USA (2019)

(Antfer) #1


It was to quickly become the most influential news and
photography magazine of its time, and life’s November
1936 debut issue proudly announced that it would cover
stories of enormous scope and complexity in a uniquely
visual way. What better person, thought publisher Henry
Luce, than his fortune magazine photographer Mar-
garet Bourke-White to shoot life’s premier story, on the
construction of Montana’s Fort Peck Dam? There, on the
cover with the castle-like structure and a photo essay in-
side, Bourke-White used pictures to give a human feel to
an article on the world’s largest earth-filled dam. She did

this by focusing not only on the technical challenges of
the massive New Deal project in the Missouri River Basin
but also on the Wild West vibe in “the whole ramshack-
le town,” a place “stuffed to the seams with construction
men, engineers, welders, quack doctors, barmaids, fancy
ladies.” Bourke-White’s cover became the defining image
of the magazine that helped define a style of photojournal-
ism and set the tone for the other great life photographers
who followed her. As her colleague Carl Mydans, the great
war photojournalist, put it, Bourke-White’s influence “was

FORT PECK DAM Margaret Bourke-White, 1936

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