Monday’s Inspiration – Robert Capa

Born Endre Erno Friedmann in Budapest in 1923, he began making photographs in 1930. The following year, he settlled in Berlin, where he began a career with the Dephot picture agency. He fled to Paris in 1933, to escape the Nazi regime. There, he adopted a subtle name change to André Friedmann.

In Paris, he met and teamed up with Gerfa Taro, a German student, photographer and anti – facist; they became lovers. Friedmann’s work was represented by the Alliance Photo Agency, and he and Taro between them invented the famous ‘Robert Capa” as a vehicle for his photos.

Capa became a news photograper and his pictures of the Spanish Civil War were published regularly in French, British and American magazines from 1936.

In 1937, his partner Taro was killed in Spain during and attack. The following year, Capa became famous when his photograph, “Death of a Republican Soldier was published in Vu magazine in France. It’s a picture that remains controversial to this day, with arguments over whether or not it really shows a soldier at the point of death, unresolved. The debate continues to the extent that it is now more often referred to as “The Falling Soldier”. That same year, Capa travelled to China to cover the Sino – Japanese war and, in 1939, he emigrated to America settling in New York.

Capa’s most famous picture series was taken while on assignment for Life magazine during the Second World War. He photographed American troops landing at Omaha beach in the Allied D-Day invasions of Normandy in June 1944. Taking 2 cameras, he photographed for an hour under German fire, lying in the sea and the sand!

His films reached the magazine’s London office the following evening, just before the issue was due to go to press. Aware of the urgency, the darkroom technician processed the images and cranked up the heat on the drying cabinet to get them ready for the editor. He overdid it. The excessive heat melted the film’s emulsion and only 8 barely printable frames survived. However, the exaggerated graininess of the images caused by the reticulation of the emulsion actually enhanced the drama and realism of the photographs and the became icons and passed into legend.

Capa went on to form Magnum Photos with Seymour, Cartier – Bresson and William Vandivert in 1947. Following his untimely death in 1954, he was awarded Croix de Guerre by the French army.

Here are a few images from his collection. Lot more of his work can be found here.

SPAIN. Barcelona. January 1939. Little girl resting during the evacuation of the city.
SPAIN. Barcelona. January 1939. Little girl resting during the evacuation of the city.
SPAIN.Spanish Civil War ( 1936-9). Montblanch. Near Barcelona.Octobre 25th,1938.Bidding farewell to the International Brigades, which were dismissed by the Republican government, as a consequence of Stalin's friendship with Germany.
SPAIN.Spanish Civil War ( 1936-9).
Montblanch. Near Barcelona.Octobre 25th,1938.Bidding farewell to the International Brigades, which were dismissed by the Republican government, as a consequence of Stalin’s friendship with Germany.
CHINA. Hubei. Hankou. March, 1938. Young women being trained as Nationalist Chinese soldiers. After having lost Shanghai and Nankijng to the Japanese troops, CHANG KAI SHEK retreated to Hankou, where he resisted until late 1938.
CHINA. Hubei. Hankou. March, 1938. Young women being trained as Nationalist Chinese soldiers. After having lost Shanghai and Nankijng to the Japanese troops, CHANG KAI SHEK retreated to Hankou, where he resisted until late 1938.
EUROPE. DENMARK. Copenhagen. November 27th, 1932. The Ukranian politician Leon TROTSKY lecturing Danish students on the history of the Russian Revolution. Capa's coverage of Trotsky's lecture was his first published story.
EUROPE.
DENMARK. Copenhagen. November 27th, 1932.
The Ukranian politician Leon TROTSKY lecturing Danish students on the history of the Russian Revolution.
Capa’s coverage of Trotsky’s lecture was his first published story.
SPAIN. Cordoba front. Cerro Muriano. September, 1936. Death of a loyalist militiaman.
SPAIN. Cordoba front. Cerro Muriano. September, 1936. Death of a loyalist militiaman.
SPAIN. Spanish Civil War (1936-9). Barcelona. January, 1939. The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, when part of the Spanish army rebelled against the Second Republic, a democratic government elected in 1931. It gained international dimensions when Fascist Germany and Italy began supporting the military uprising, led by General Franco, with weapons and soldiers. The USSR helped the Republic, and a significant contingent of volunteers joined the International Brigades and fought for the Republic. The conflict became the symbol of a larger conflict between Fascists and Communists. The war ended in 1939 with Franco's victory over the Republicans. Running for shelter during the air raid alarm. The city was being heavily bombed by Fascist planes, as General Franco's troops rapidly approached the city.
SPAIN. Spanish Civil War (1936-9).
Barcelona. January, 1939.
The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, when part of the Spanish army rebelled against the Second Republic, a democratic government elected in 1931. It gained international dimensions when Fascist Germany and Italy began supporting the military uprising, led by General Franco, with weapons and soldiers. The USSR helped the Republic, and a significant contingent of volunteers joined the International Brigades and fought for the Republic. The conflict became the symbol of a larger conflict between Fascists and Communists. The war ended in 1939 with Franco’s victory over the Republicans.
Running for shelter during the air raid alarm. The city was being heavily bombed by Fascist planes, as General Franco’s troops rapidly approached the city.
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