Looking at Russia

THAT the Five-Year Flan furnishes material as generously for pictures as for controversy is proved by Eyes on Russia, by Margaret Bourke-While (Simon & Schuster, $5.00). The writer is an expert in photography who has strikingly recorded some of our great industrial and architectural undertakings and who was so allured by the buzzing machinery of Soviet Russia that she and her camera spent the summer of 1930 in the midst of it. The fruit of her visit was some hundreds of eloquent photographs, from which forty were selected for reproduction in Eyes on Russia. It is an astonishing and delightful series of pictures — workers in field and mill, huge machines, turbines, derricks, the Dnieper Dam project; a veritable panorama of New Russia at work. Miss Bourke-White is a great artist in the ability of transferring subtle light effects from subject to film, and not the least interesting feature of the accompanying text is the explanation of her methods in inducing the ‘comrades’ to coöperate in her experiments.
The author makes no attempt to interpret Russia from the economic, social, or political standpoint She simply allows us to become her companion on a fascinating journey. We realize what it means to have a meal of heated baked beans after eating them cold from the tin for weeks; and what an embarrassment of riches an evening’s gathering may provide in the way of happy suitors who take smiling amiability as an acceptance of ardent matrimonial proposals.