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Collection Spotlight

Margaret Bourke-White, Looking Up Inside Sending Tower, N.B.C., Bellmore, L.I.

Margaret Bourke-White
Looking Up Inside Sending Tower, N.B.C., Bellmore, L.I., 1933
gelatin silver print
museum purchase

In 1934, with the purchase of this photograph by Margaret Bourke-White, the Addison Gallery became one of only a handful of museums in the country to seriously collect photography. Since then the museum has actively acquired photographs. Today, nearly half of the collection of approximately 17,000 objects is photography. Over seventy years in the making, the Addison's photography collection has become one of the major repositories of American photography.

Margaret Bourke-White established her career photographing the American Machine Age. The iconic images she made in the late 1920s and early 1930s for corporations and magazines such as Fortune and Life are unreserved endorsements of modern industrialization. This particular photograph was the result of a mural project commissioned by NBC for their studios in Rockefeller Center in New York City. Placing her camera inside the structure and tilting her lens upward, Bourke White employed a dramatic viewpoint to monumentalize her subject and convey the power of American technology. Characteristic of all of her work and reflective of her modernist aesthetic, the photograph is both persuasive document and fine art object. 

Author: Allison Kemmerer, Curator of Photography and Contemporary Art

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Photo © Estate of Margaret Bourke-White/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY