Marie Hansen (1918 – 1969)
Marie Hansen was LIFE Magazine’s third woman staff photographer, joining in 1941. She covered events in the White House, politics, and Hollywood.
Her famous photograph of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) from the 7th September 1942 issue, ‘First Women join the army’, is a good example of her sense of humour, composition and story telling; the style is reminiscent of Lee Miller’s photographs of the home front.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking on pre-invasion Fireside Chat radio program by Marie Hansen via Google Arts & Culture
Marie was equally at home photographing teenage zoot suiters as New York high society ladies. She was also one of the first women to join the White House News Photographers Association, breaking into a very male-dominated environment. She photographed Presidents Franklin D Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, and General Dwight D Eisenhower.
Marie said of her experience:
“Perhaps I’ve mastered the formula over the years. I certainly felt I might have when one of the tougher Capitol newsmen patted me on the back and told me he had finally been convinced after watching me work; I was a gentleman, he said, and as such, had his backing. I consider it a compliment, and a clue as to the proper psychological approach we women must employ.”
She left LIFE in 1946 and stopped contributing in the early 50s.
An exhibition dedicated to the early women LIFE magazine photographers, including Marie, was held at the New York Historical Society in October 2019.
By Paula Vellet