Name:Prissila Chandra
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Margareth Bourke- white Life Background:
Margareth Bourke-white was born on 14 June 1904 in Bronx, New York and grew up at New Jersey. She is non-practicing Jew. Her parent, Joseph White and Minnie Bourke is Irish-Catholic. Her father, Joseph White is an inventor and engineer. While her mother, Minnie Bourke is resourceful homemaker. She also has a brother name Roger. Roger said that photography is Margareth hobbie since she was a teenager. It was supported by her father that also has enthusiasm on cameras.
Even she has enthusiasm on photography, she choose to study herpetology at Columbia University. Then, she transferred few times to University of Michigan, Purdue University, and Case Western Reserve University. Finally she got her Bachelor Degree from Cornell University in 1927. In 1928, she moved from Ithaca, New York to Cleveland, Ohio where she started her business in industrial photography.
Margareth Bourke-white Accomplishments:
- The first Western photographer that are allowed to enter Soviet Union and document the death camps. She become the war correspondent for Life magazine and also U.S air force.
- Published a documentary book about her photography in the Depression Time of World War II with a title “You Have Seen Their Face”
- The first female photojournalist for Life magazine hired by Henry Luce and one her photos become the cover of the magazine.
- First photographer that was hired in Fortune magazine.
- Not only in Soviet Union, she also been assigned to Korea and also India and Pakistan.
- Member of American Artists Congress, which fought discrimination against African American artists, and supported artists fighting against fascism in Europe.
- After returning from Russia in the fall, United States had been attacked by Japan by bom dropping and created another big war. She is the first female that was being appreciated as an official and the first female war photojournalist and the first female to fly a combat mission.
Margareth Bourke-white Artworks:
-Her photography artworks to be the cover of the Life Magazine in 1936.
- Published a documentary book “You Have Seen Their Faces” in 1937 with her husband, Erskine Caldwell about the haunting photos in the Depression time.
- Published another book “They Called It Purple Heart Valley” about the war in Europe in 1944 with an addition of her photographic study and good narrative of it. Most of her photos in this book are about the destructive situation, the victims of the war, and foot soldiers and general.
- In 1945, she visited Buchenwald, a notorious concentration camp and saved documentary photos of dead bodies, starving prisoners, and some worst horror experiences of Nazi Regime.
- After the war, she published another book”Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly” about the experience that she had, the brutality that she witnessed, and also the desire of facing another challenge in her life.
-In about 1946, she produced two artworks, an article in Life Magazine, and a book “Halfway to Freedom”. This book is about the situation of India at that time and also the violence and riots that happened. When she was in India, she also took photos of Gandhi with a title “Gandhi at The Spinning Wheel” and become famous.
-In 1949 to 1953, she photographed life of South Africa and also Korea( the meeting of a mother and a son, military soldier).
- In 1963 she published her own autobiography “Potrait of Myself” when she actually withdrew her journalist job because of Parkinson diseases.
As a photojournalist, Margareth Bourke-white had challenges and also adversity that she face when she tried to cover the issues that she had been dealing. Not like any other journalist, Margareth had the experience to report a story from dangerous places at that time. And it’s happen when she was a beginner on Life magazine. Not, only being assigned a dangerous mission at the first time but when she needed to experience being torpedoed on a helicopter while she’s on the way to Buchenwald.
Being a journalist is hard especially for woman. When woman try to cover a tragic situation, whether they want it or not, some sentimental feeling must be appeared. Just like Margareth when she visited the death camps on Russia. In her phography book “Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly”, she wrote how she felt about what she had witnessed and saw there.
Margareth had been gone to several different countries that are very dangerous even until today. Russia, Korea, India, and Africa were the major countries she ever visited and documentated it. Most of the countries she visited are communist and very reluctant to press media.
With her experience in Russia, even Russia is a communist country; she was allowed to visit the death camp and even saved a documentary there. While actually Russia is communist country that doesn’t allow any media to report any news about them because their political party is so strong and therefore they are controlling everything such as the press. Based on 2011-2012 press freedom index, Russia is at the position 142th. It’s quite low ranking that shown that there are not many spaces of journalists/media to do there. Even Russia is not considered as dangerous, they still need to be careful. In fact, Russia code of ethics is interesting. Even Russia is a communist country; they still respect the humanity value. These are the examples of code of ethics in Russia that I consider interesting:
a) The journalists should act fairly towards the resources without having any inappropriate actions such as discrimination, bullying, and sexual abuse.
b) Journalists should respect the privacy of the resources, which they need to promise the resources that they won’t tell anyone about them.
c) Journalists should obey the laws of their country but in emergency situation, improvisation is allowed.
d) Journalists are forbidden to falsify the information they get and written the wrong information on the paper.
Second country that she visited was India. She covered every violence and a nut wrecking war situation. Khushwant Singh, an Indian novelist had used 66 photos of her artworks for a book “Train to Pakistan” on 2006. According to the press freedom index, India is also a country that the freedom is mediocre. The situation might be dangerous and not dangerous. Her experience was amazing, which she had the chance to interview Mohandas K. Gandhi before he’s assasination.
She also had been to Korea to photograph the situation during Korea War. Korea is a very dangerous place since Korea has a communist system all these years. According to press media index, Korea is at the 3 lowest positions to have freedom for journalist to report a story. It’s located on the 178th above one position from Erithea. Korea had been the most isolated country in perspective of news reporting, and allowing journalists to write a story about them. I imagine how amazing she was, how she was allowed to take a documentary report about Korea during a war. She surely had an amazing experience and also challenges to face the Korean government and the media ethics code there.
Before 20th century, Korean press system had been controlled by Japanese and outside forces such as military powers. According to the information, Korea had just gain independence of press media in the late 20 century. Then after that 20th century, Korea try to applied a Western perpectives of media freedom into their own. Even after they apply the Western mode of ethics code, some parts of Korea are still very strict and forbid any media to report them. If journalists are against them, they might arrest the journalist for a serious criminal.
In the early years before, technology didn’t play as much as role as a pen in the journalist hand. Before, journalists report their story by writing information in the paper. Comparing to today, using our advance technology we can record the resources information just by using recorder. It’s much easier and effective that writing factual facts in the paper. Not only on the sides of how journalist taken the data, but also of how they write their story published in a newspaper. Before journalist used typewriter to write a story, while now we can use computer, laptop, notebook, even cellphone to write a story. It has a big gap of how easy journalist nowadays to write a story. Not only in newspaper but they can also write their story in the Internet, blog, forum, and social media (twitter, facebook).
Technology gives us a chance for everyone to be journalists, writing all they want and comment what they think they right. In the end too much technology can ruin the principle of traditional journalism means. Not every person that writes news is professional and writes their story according to what journalism should be. There’s a chance that the news aren’t true or accurate. It might lead readers to the wrong perpectives.
I think Margareth didn’t really use technology that much at that time. The only technology that she might use was camera, and typewriter. Well, in her industrial photography, she used some common trick to manipulate the photo to be appeared visible by bringing a new style of magnesium flare and let her assistant to hold them to light her scenes.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Bourke-White
- http://lkwdpl.org/wihohio/bour-mar.htm
- http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAPbourke.htm
- http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0301/pcox.html
- http://www.masters-of-photography.com/B/bourke-white/b-w_articles3.html
- http://www2.hawaii.edu/~tbrislin/asiaeth.html
- http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html
- http://ethicnet.uta.fi/russia/code_of_professional_ethics_of_russian_journalist
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDogw7GFbB8
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