Bubley always enjoyed people and was hungry for images of them—but she was also shy. “Put me down with people, and it’s just overwhelming,” she noted.
Her first big break came because she couldn’t drive a car. Working for the Office of War Information during World War II, she crafted memorable photo essays of fellow bus riders, both urban and cross-country, and of boarding-house life in Washington, D.C. The images are honest, intimate, and memorable; she liked to disappear behind her camera.
As the 1950s arrived, global corporations hired her for sweeping portfolios of their efforts. At the same time, ever-more-prominent glossy magazines published her essays, and famed photographer/curator Edward Steichen featured her in three important group shows at the Museum of Modern Art.
After many years, the globetrotting and the competition from television reduced her interest in constant work; she preferred to spend her time on physical exercise, including lengthy walks in Central Park with her dalmatian. Having earned her place in American photography history, MCAD awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts in 1990.