Alma Braathen is one of the Swedish journalist pioneers from the 1920s and 1930s. She was also an author, poet, and photographer, and her reportage photos often illustrated her articles.
Braathen’s father was a Norwegian immigrant from Drammen. A longer stay of convalescence with the radical women’s liberation activist Katti Anker Møller in Fredrikstad proved decisive for Braathen’s choice of career, as it prompted her to become a journalist and fight for women’s rights.
Braathen worked for several years as a freelancer for publications such as the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, where she increasingly signed her work as Brodjaga (“vagabond” in Russian).
In November 1939 she was assigned as Dagens Nyheter’s correspondent in northern Finland when the country was attacked by the Soviet Union. When Nazi Germany invaded Norway a few months later in April 1940, Braathen became Dagens Nyheter’s war correspondent in the Narvik area in the High Arctic, one of the principal battle zones during the Norwegian Campaign. She used skis to go back and forth across the border to report the latest from the frontline in words and pictures. The pictures were often printed a few days later than the text because of the difficulties in having the pictures sent to the newspaper. She became a regular employee of Dagens Nyheter in autumn 1940 and remained there the rest of her life.
After the war, Braathen travelled to war-torn Greece and to British-occupied Palestine. The articles from the journey were published in 1949 in the book Blå lyckofågel in Orienten (An auspicious blue bird in the Orient).