Wartime Photography: Robert Capa

robert capa d-day

Capa was born in Hungary in 1922; he was a photo journalist and war time photographer who was involved in photographing five separate wars. These wars where the the , the , , the , and the .

Capa co-founded the first source for freelance photographers and Magnum Photographers in Paris alongside , ,  and William Vandivert. Magnum Photographers was a worldwide agency designed for freelance photographers and the people looking to hire them.

Capa was known to be one of the greatest risk takers, and would face near any danger in order to get the shot that he desired. He’s been responsible for photographing some of the most iconic war time scenes. His films of the D-Day during the invasion of Normandy have been regarded to be some of the most intense and vivid images and pieces of film of any war in history. Robert Capa also photographed some of the great artist and writers of the world. Greats such as Pablo Picasso, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemmingway where all photographed by Capa. He was given the Medal of Freedom by Eisenhower for his work during World War 2.

For many years much of this war time photographers’ work was thought to have been lost when Capa was escaping Europe in 1939. The photos dubbed “the Mexican Suitcase” where later found in Mexico City over fifty years later in the nineteen nineties. In some instances, like that of “the Falling Soldier” scholars questioned the authenticity of the photograph, and some even claimed that it was staged and shot ten kilometers from where it was supposedly taken. Capa and his backers disputed the accusations, and said that there was no way that they could have been taken at any time or place except in Cerro Muriano where Capa was at the time.

Capa's: The Falling Soldier. Taken moments after a FIJL is shot dead in the Spanish Civil War

Robert Capa lived and died for his work. In 1954, in a unfortunate chance of circumstances while working in Vietnam, filling in for another LIFE photographer, Capa was killed after stepping on an active landmine. He was the first correspondent of any kind to die during the conflict, and he truly died doing what he loved.

His younger brother, Cornell Capa carried on his older brothers’ legacy and developed his own style at the same time. He founded the International Center for Photography in New York. The center has become one of the most extensive conservation efforts for photography in the world as both of the Capa brothers believed in the importance of photography on every level.


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