Bourke-White is a legendary photojournalist: aside from the Chrysler building stunt, she was the U.S.’s first female war correspondent, covering World War II and the Korean War, and was the first female photographer to work on Life (her photograph of the Fort Peck Dam appears on the cover of the magazines first issue).
This photo of Life Magazine’s photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White atop a steel gargoyle protruding from the 61st story of the Chrysler Building was taken by her dark room assistant Oscar Graubner in 1934
“I can’t help but feel that we’ll have Margaret Bourke-White’s shadow over us. But that’s nice; that’s really, really nice.” (Annie Leibovitz)
Annie Leibovitz and Assistant Robert Bean in Chrysler Building
Photo by John Loengard (1991)
“There was an air of unreality about that April day in Weimar, a feeling to which I found myself stubbornly clinging. I kept telling myself that I would believe the indescribably horrible sight in the courtyard before me only when I had a chance to look at my own photographs. Using the camera was almost a relief; it interposed a slight barrier between myself and the white horror in front of me.
This whiteness had the fragile translucence of snow, and I wished that under the bright April sun which shone from a clean blue sky it would all simply melt away. I longed for it to disappear, because while it was there I was reminded that men actually had done this thing — men with arms and legs and eyes and hearts not so very unlike our own. And it made me ashamed to be a member of the human race.” (Margaret Bourke-White)
Photo by Margaret Bourke-White – Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images (April 1945)