Margaret Bourke-White – Japan June 1952, Orphans of Occupation

 

Thanks to Google source:Life

 

 

By-blows of Occupation of Japan

By-blows of Occupation of Japan

 Large picture

Japan Essay
Date taken: June 1952
Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White
Size: 1280 x 983 pixels (17.8 x 13.7 inches)

(no tags – probably never used.)

The editors of Life magazine must have had a fit when they saw this photo (one of three in the Japan essay and likely not used). At first glance it looks like a group of Japanese children with a minder. On closer inspection you notice that these children are of mixed descent and there are two nuns in the background. This suggests that this was taken at an orphanage or school and these are the orphans of occupation. (Look how we are fighting the cold war, people, or proof positive somebody has been making love, not war.)

Margaret Bourke-White was no fool and this was probably her way of reminding people back home that the USA needed a policy to deal with these children. More than half a century later, it is very difficult to convey the feelings that this picture would invoked because there had been for decades, the theme of the yellow peril and since 1940 propaganda against first the Japanese, then the Communist Chinese.

NOT ONE OF THESE CHILDREN CHOSE THEIR FATE.

Note to Americans, Australia did a very poor job with their orphans of occupation, we just left them behind.

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Margaret Bourke-White and Muizenberg Beach 1950

More pictures from the Life archive.

It is truly amazing what Margaret would see.

Margaret Bourke-White - Muizenberg beach

Margaret Bourke-White - Muizenberg beach.

Union Of South Africa
Sun worshippers enjoying the cabanas at the Jewish beach at Muizenberg
Location: Cape Town, South Africa, Republic Of
Date taken: April 1950
Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White
Size: 1280 x 1099 pixels (17.8 x 15.3 inches)

Labels:
Jews, Baths, Sun, South Africa, Republic Of, People And Customs, Vintage Print, 1950s

I do have to point out that at the time there was no such thing as a formal Jewish beach but a whites only beach.

Margaret Bourke-White - Man collecting sea water for medicinal purposes.

Margaret Bourke-White - Man collecting sea water for medicinal purposes.

Union Of South Africa
Bantu bottler busy filling bottles w. sea water in a section at Muizenberg beach which is for blacks only, which he will sell because it is supposed to have medicinal properties.
Location: Cape Town, South Africa, Republic Of
Date taken: April 1950
Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White
Size: 996 x 1280 pixels (13.8 x 17.8 inches)

Labels:
Water, Race Prejudice, Bottles, South Africa, Republic Of, People And Customs, Vintage Print, 1950s

Interestingly this was also at Muizenberg beach, the same beach that is/was very popular with the Jewish community and there is a good chance that it was taken on the same day especially considering the Cape’s changeable weather. Please note the white folks in the background. (This is case of the politics being added by the caption.) Curiously Life magazine did not see fit to relate this image to the above even though it is at the same location.

Please enjoy the art of Margaret Bourke-White and remember what you see recorded is now just quaint history of the 20th century.

Margaret Bourke-White and the dedication of the Voortrekker monument 1949

Margaret Bourke-White travelled to South Africa and took photographs from 1949 to 1950.

Margaret Bourke-White - three Afrikaans men

Margaret Bourke-White - three Afrikaans men

Google has just done a deal with Time to allow access to Life archive. I am hoping that some archivist will go through and update the tags. It is obvious this is part of Margaret Bourke-White’s photo essay on the dedication of the Voortrekker monument on 16 December 1949. There are no names of the men in the photo.

Margaret Bourke-White - Afrikaans men with Paul Kruger look-a-like

Margaret Bourke-White - Afrikaans men with Paul Kruger look-a-like

It is frustrating not knowing the background story. Who was the Paul Kruger look-a-like and was he related to Oom Paul. Who was the old man who insisted on being photographed with powder horn and bullet pouch. The older men in the photograph would have lived through the Boer war and the hard times that followed.

Margaret Bourke-White - Mother and children Voortrekker monument

Margaret Bourke-White - Mother and children Voortrekker monument

WHen I started to peruse the images I realised that I was coming to appreciate the “eye” that Margaret Bourke-White had.

Margaret Bourke-White - Boere vroue en man. Farmers wives and man.

Margaret Bourke-White - Boere vroue en man. Farmers wives and man.

Classic Life photo that “tells a story.”

Margaret Bourke-White - Cooking boerewors over a fire.

Margaret Bourke-White - Cooking boerewors over a fire.

I have cooked boerwors this way.

Margaret Bourke-White - Behind the scenes staff (this is South Africa)

Margaret Bourke-White - Behind the scenes staff (this is South Africa)

Margaret missed nothing

Margaret Bourke-White - Riders for Boer republics

Margaret Bourke-White - Riders for Boer republics

This is not the Australian Light Horse but the inspiration for the uniforms of the Light Horse.

These photographs are really a testament to the skill of Margaret. They do convey some of the context in which the dedication of the Voortrekker monument was imbedded. The Afrikaans people had lost the republics to the British Empire, lost women and children in the concentration camps of the Boer war, the poverty of the aftermath of the Boer war, the First World War, the depression and finally were starting their rise as a result of the recovery and boom of the Second World War even though there had been a division in the community over whether to fight for the Germans or the British in that war. The Afrikaans had taken political power in 1948 so this was their moment to shine.