Like their male counterparts, Margaret Bourke-White's photographs of women depart from the noble, determined images made by most Depression photographers. Perhaps the most famous, most iconic Depression image of all is Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother." Other government photographers looked more like Lange, as well:
Bourke-White's images of women and children are perhaps even more haunting, because they are more hopeless:
David W. Peeler writes, "Lange believed the camera should not prey upon people who had lost their pride, but Bourke-White had no such compunctions and willingly rendered her subjects as grotesques riddled with poverty and disease" (69).
Herself a pioneer in a mostly male profession, Bourke-White seems to feel little sympathy for the women she photographed -- pity, yes but not sympathy. Standing against other photographic documenters of the Depression, Margaret Bourke-White is, in all of her works, throughout You Have Seen Their Faces, the exception which proves the rule.
And their women.
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