The Reporting of Gordon Ackerman

About the Journalist

Gordon Ackerman is an American journalist, writer and photographer. He was born in Albany, N.Y.

He was educated at the Albany Academy, the Fessenden School, Boston University and the University of Paris.

Ackerman began his career with the Albany, N.Y. Times-Union, but has lived and worked for most of his life in Europe, where he has reported and written for major American print and broadcast media, notably Time, Life, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek magazines, CBS News, ABC News and UPI. He was Chief Paris Correspondent for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corporation before joining the Paris Bureau of Time-Life as a correspondent and writer, in 1959. He reported throughout Europe and Africa for all of the Time Inc. publications, as well as for Paris-Match, a leading weekly French magazine. He was, briefly, an editor at People magazine in New York.

Ackerman reported major news events in Europe and North Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. He was the first American newsman to arrive in Agadir, Morocco, on 29 Feb., 1960, following the earthquake in which 30,000 people were killed and injured, and he witnessed the street battles between French infantrymen and civilians in Algiers in 1961 that heralded the end of the Franco-Algerian War.

In the late 1980s, Ackerman carried out reporting assignments in Eastern Europe for the late Pierre Salinger, European News Director of ABC News and former press secretary to President John F. Kennedy. In 1989, on assignment for Salinger, Ackerman entered the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) posing as a "university professor." Arrested by the East German secret police, the Stasi, Ackerman was released after convincing the police that he was a close friend of East German chief of state Erich Honecker. He continued reporting, and clandestinely filmed massive public demonstrations in Leipzig and Berlin that preceded the collapse of the Communist government and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The films, as well as the motorcyclist Ackerman hired to smuggle them out of the country, were intercepted and seized, probably by the STASI, before reaching West Berlin.

On the night of 9 November, 1989, with East Germany falling rapidly into anarchy, Ackerman and another correspondent became the first newsmen to reach the Brandenburg Gate as jubilant crowds of West and East Germans ripped down the first sections of the Wall and tearfully embraced.

His war reporting is included in a book collection edited by the late Life magazine photographer, Carl Mydans, entitled The Violent Peace, published by Atheneum. It is in public libraries in most major American cities. A collection of his short fiction, Eleven Stories, was published in 1964.

Ackerman's writing and reporting are in permanent collection at the University of Wyoming and the American Heritage Foundation. His art photography has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Europe and the United States, and acquired by, among others, the Albany Institute of History and Art.

Ackerman has two children, and resides in upstate New York and divides his time between the United States and Europe.

Biography from Wikipedia.

Articles

The Temptation of the Virgin Pass
Often attempted, never conquered, the Freney route up Mont Blanc lured Walter Bonatti and six others on a sunny July morning. Only three returned from one of the most tragic Alpine climbs in 20 years

Agadir Earthquake
In February 1960, Agadir, Morocco was hit with one of the most devastating earthquakes ever recorded

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Fine-Art Photography

Artist's Statement

Mr. Ackerman's photography has been exhibited in Finland and the UK, and acquired and exhibited by the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Stockmann Gallery in Finland. His work has been published in various German art-photography magazines.

He photographs with 35mm positive color film, and prints his work on chromogenic paper.

In an interview with Leica International Photography magazine in 1996, Mr. Ackerman said, "I never carry a camera and I don't look for things to photograph. If you hunt subjects, they'll run. They have to come at you randomly. You have to see them 'out of the corner of your eye' as you go through your day. Often I don't realize for days or weeks that I have noticed something worth photographing. If something strikes me, I go back with my equipment. I use a tripod most of the time, and the longest exposures possible - up to a full minute. My favorite subjects are interiors. I tend not to do portraits because I don't believe they reveal anything significant about the subject. I believe that a person's surroundings and environment - his dwelling place, his furnishings and interior decorations (however modest) and his dress - tell us more about the person than a portrait."

Biography from Blind Artist's Society.

Note: The site "Art by Gordon Ackerman" contains work by another Gordon Ackerman, not this one.