25 May 2011

R.I.P Robert Capa (1913-1954)

Andre Freidmann was born in Budapest in 1913. When he was a political science student in Berlin, he started selling pictures to pay for his tuition. His first published photograph was of Leon Trotsky, the leader of the Russian revolution, in 1932.

Capa's first published photo, 
Leon Trotsky lecturing 'the meaning of the Russian revolution', 1932 

He escaped from Nazi Germany and moved to France where he met Gerda Taro. Soon after they started to work together, and created an imaginary American photographer called 'Robert Capa', which he later adopted for himself. Capa and Taro also collaborated on a book called 'Death in the Making', however when they were in Spain, covering the Spanish Civil War, Taro was fatally wounded in a tank accident and died. She never saw the book published, and Capa's photographs of the horror of the Spanish conflict won him the title of 'The Greatest War Photographer'.

Taro & Capa in Paris, 1935

Rio Segre, Aragón, Spain 1938

Barcelona, Spain 1936

Death of a Loyalist Militiaman 1936

When the Second World War broke out, his second big break came along. Capa landed on Omaha beach, Normandy in 1944, with the first wave of American troops, attacking the Germans in France. His second prominent coverage was published largely in Life with the headline 'Beachheads of Normandy', and his reputation became more stronger and worldwide.

Capa, taken by Gerda Taro 1937

Robert Capa press card 1939

Capa, Naples 1943

Capa's photographs of D-Day landings from Life 1944

In 1947, he founded photo agency Magnum with his fellow photographers Henri-Cartier Bresson, George Rodger, and David Seymour. The same year, Capa published his war essay called 'Slightly Out of Focus', so called after a print accident in the lab ruined most of his D-Day photographs. Capa also did some collaboration books with his intellectual friends like 'A Russian Journal' with John Steinbeck, and 'Report on Israel' with Irwin Shaw.

'This is going to be a beautiful story' Capa said, and left to Thái Bình, Indochina, for an assignment in 1954. He was on a jeep, looking for the front line with two Life-Time journalists, when he left the jeep to take photos. He accidently stepped on a landmine and was killed. Later the same year of his death, Capa was awarded the Croix de Guerre, by the French Army.

Life's report of Capa's death 1954

Capa, China 1938

American Soldier killed by German sniper, Germany 1945

Capa photographing Steinbeck, Moscow 1947

Picasso with Françoise Gilot, France 1948

Capa, Segovia, Spain, taken by Gerda Taro 1937

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