Margaret Bourke-White Electric Furnace, Ludlum Steel Co., Dunkirk, New York c. 1930

  • Not on view

As the first staff photographer for Fortune magazine, Bourke-White awed readers with images of American industry. In 1930 her passion for “the drama of the machine” brought her to the USSR, where efforts were underway to rapidly modernize the nation’s agrarian economy. Although the Soviets relied on assistance from US engineers and
praised assembly line technology, they critiqued capitalism as exploitative. Bourke-White’s photographs were reproduced in Soviet propaganda to suggest that the USSR’s working conditions were more humane. Yet as one worker wondered, “is there a difference between high pressure production in Socialist Russia and in Henry Ford’s Detroit?”

Gallery label from 2022
Gelatin silver print
12 3/4 × 10" (32.4 × 25.4 cm)
Gift of the artist
Object number
© 2024 Estate of Margaret Bourke-White / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

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