In her earlier career, the photo journalist Margaret Bourke-White (1904 – 1971) was an industrial and architectural photographer. Her images were dramatic and full of impact.
Much of the strength of the pictures derives from the use of shape, repetition and a build up of rhythm through the image. She was not afraid to divide up the frame boldly with a series of strong shapes and resisted any temptation to include ‘the whole thing’. All very instructive for us.
She was a legendary daredevil with a head for heights and was not afraid to balance on girders high above street level. She started working for Time Life magazine and eventually became their first female war correspondent. During World War II she covered many harrowing and dangerous assignments including the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp. She later reported on the partition of India/Pakistan and Stalin’s Five Year Plan.
We may not have access to dramatic industrial machinery or high buildings but we can use shape and pattern as effective compositional devices.