Join me at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society Museum for a discussion of the life and work of World War II photographer John A. Bushemi. My book on Bushemi, "One Shot": The World War II Photography of John A. Bushemi, was published by the Indiana Historical Society Press in 2004.
Before losing his life on the island of Eniwetok in the Pacific while on assignment for Yank: The Army Weekly, Bushemi, who had earned the nickname “One Shot” during his work with the Gary Post-Tribune newspaper for his uncanny ability to capture even the liveliest action with just one click of his shutter, had participated in fourteen landings in the Pacific theater. Even a hand injury suffered during the invasion of Kwajalein that left his arm in a sling had not stopped Bushemi from documenting for Yank’s readers the achievements and agonies endured by their fellow soldiers.
Merle Miller, a noted novelist and historian after the war, said his partner specialized in “photography from a rifle’s length vantage point.” Although Bushemi’s duties, which included taking still photographs and shooting movies, did not require him to go into actual combat, Miller said, the photographer did so anyway, becoming the second of four Yank staff members killed in the war. His work with his ubiquitous Speed-Graphic camera earned for Bushemi the distinction of being “Yank’s most outstanding combat photographer,” noted Joe McCarthy, the magazine’s managing editor. In addition to admiring Bushemi’s photographs, McCarthy said that other staff members at the magazine also appreciated “his good-natured sincerity and devotion to his work, which made friends for him and increased the prestige of Yank in every camp and theater of operation that he visited.”