By Helen Morgan
Regarded as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, Margaret Bourke-White led an adventurous life travelling the world and recording images of conflict in many parts of the globe’s troubled-spots.
Known by her colleagues as ‘Maggie the Indestructible’, she was a pioneer in the art of photojournalism, the first female war correspondent and the first woman photographer ever to enter and document a concentration camp.
Margaret White was born on the 14th June, 1904, in the Bronx, New York, to Joseph White, an engineer and inventor, and his wife Minnie Bourke, a housewife of Irish Catholic descent. Shortly after her birth the family moved to New Jersey where her father worked.
From a young age, Margaret was taught at home by her mother; a strict disciplinarian, who encouraged her children towards self-improvement. She inherited her love of photography from her father, who was a keen amateur photographer. Initially Margaret took up photography as a hobby but then became interested in taking it up professionally.
Following her graduation from Cornell University in 1927, Margaret moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she set up her own photographic studio specialising in homes and gardens by day and industrial photography by night. Her portfolio soon attracted the attention of the directors of Otis Steel; one of the first major steel companies in Ohio, who offered her full time employment.