Marjory Collins

Marjory Collins was born in New York City in 1912. After attending Sweet Briar College, Virginia, she married the art historian, John Burr. When they divorced in 1935 Collins moved to Greenwich Village and attended lectures provided by the Photo League.

In the late 1930s Collins worked for Black Star and Associated Press before Roy Stryker invited her to join the the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration. This small group of photographers, including Esther Bubley, Mary Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Gordon Parks, Charlotte Brooks, John Vachon, Jack Delano, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn, were employed to publicize the conditions of the rural poor in America.

After the Second World War Collins worked as a freelance photographer for the commercial press. In the 1960s Collins became increasingly involved in the Civil Rights movement and founded Prime Time, an independent feminist publication. Marjory Collins died in San Francisco in 1985.

Primary Sources

(1) Ian Jeffrey, The Photography Book (1997)

Although waiting in New York's Greyhound Bus Terminal, the two men present themselves with impressive elegance - as you might expect of men conscious of a young woman with a camera. Despite the work of Dorothea Lange and Margaret Bourke-White, Bubley was really the first American documentarist to look at life in the USA quite deliberately from a woman's point of view - and also the first to present that life as thoroughly theatrical.