John A. Bushemi was born in Centerville, Iowa, on April 19, 1917. Bushemi was the son of Italian immigrants Pietro Buscemi and Angelina Cariota. Bushemi was the seventh of nine children. Pietro worked in coal mining until the 1930s, when the family relocated to Gary, Indiana so he could find employment in the steel industry. Bushemi quit school during his junior year at Lew Wallace High School to work in the steel mills with his father and brothers.
Work as a photographer
Bushemi wanted to be a professional photographer. At eighteen, he was hired by the Gary Post-Tribune as an apprentice photographer. He earned the nickname "One Shot" because of his ability to take capture significant moments on film with one click of his lens.
In July 1941, Bushemi enlisted in the U.S. Army and took basic training at Fort Bragg. While there, he was appointed the official photographer of the base public relations department. In June, 1942, he was assigned to the staff of Yank, the Army weekly, and eventually was transferred to Hawaii to open Yank’s Pacific bureau. There he learned the techniques of film making from Frank Capra, the former Hollywood director, and made several movies, cutting and editing them himself. Bushemi photographed covers for Yank.
During World War II years, Bushemi’s photographs were part of the exhibition “Yank Illustrates the War” held at the Museum of Modern Art in the spring of 1943. Bushemi also was a combat photographer in the Pacific.
Death and legacy
Bushemi died on the island of Eniwetok on February 19, 1944. While at the front filming the American landing, he was fatally wounded when an enemy mortar shell exploded near him. His last words were: "Be sure to get those pictures back to the office." Bushemi is buried in Mt. Mercy Cemetery in Gary, Indiana.
In 2001, Bushemi was placed in the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
- Boomhower, Ray E. "One Shot": The World War II Photography of John A. Bushemi. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society (2004). ISBN 0871951746
- "John A. Bushemi". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "Operations Against the Japanese on Arundel and Sagekarsa Islands". World Digital Library. 1943. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
- "One Shot: The WWII Photography of John A. Bushemi". Traveling Exhibits. Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- "John A. Buschemi". Member list. Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
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