Charlotte Brooks was born in New York City in 1918. After graduating from the University of Minnesota (1941) she worked in a settlement house in New York.
In 1942 Brooks worked for the photographer, Barbara Morgan before Roy Stryker invited her to join the the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration. This small group of photographers, including Esther Bubley, Marjory Collins, Mary Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Gordon Parks, John Vachon, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn, were employed to publicize the conditions of the rural poor in America.
After the Second World War Brooks worked for a variety of journals before becoming the first woman staff photographer at Look Magazine in 1951.
(1) Tom Hopkinson, Of This Our Time (1982)
Besides my work on Picture Post, I had also since 1941 been responsible for Lilliput, the pocket magazine started by Stefan Lorant to which some six years earlier I had vainly tried to contribute in the hope of earning three guineas. Lilliput was a delightful little publication, well printed, with an attractive coloured cover always drawn by the same artist, Walter Trier. One of its best-known features was the 'doubles' - two look-alike photographs on facing pages, a pouter pigeon
opposite a cadet on parade with his chest thrown out; Hitler giving the Nazi salute to a small dog with its paw raised; a bear opposite a publican with a pear-shaped face.
Bill Brandt, today a venerated father-figure in photography, took many picture series for Lilliput, photographing young
poets, taking pictures on film sets, in pubs, in Soho, in the London parks. One day in the summer of 1942 we suggested to him that these wartime nights offered a unique opportunity to photograph London entirely by moonlight. Because of the blackout there was no street lighting, no car headlamps, no light of any kind; never in history had there been such a chance, and once the war ended it would never come again. He returned to us weeks later with a beautiful set of mysterious photographs out of which we made ten pages. He had been obliged to give exposures of up to half an hour, and had once found himself suddenly surrounded by police. An old lady had seen him standing beside his camera mounted on its tripod, and dialled 999 to say there was a man in the road with a dangerous machine.