Whether or not you are into documentary and war photography, I believe that you’ve heard of Robert Capa. But even if not, here’s a beautiful video by Martin Kaninsky of YFM Street Photography. He’ll tell you about the man who was described as “the greatest war photographer in the world,” sharing plenty of amazing photos Capa took over the course of his career.
Robert Capa was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (today’s Hungary) on 22 October 1913. He was born to the Jewish family, and his real name was Endre Friedmann. When he was only 18 years old, Capa was forced to flee Hungary because of the alleged communist sympathies. He fled to Berlin where he enrolled in university and worked part-time as a darkroom assistant. However, when the Nazi Party came into power, he moved again, this time to Paris.
In Paris, Capa started collaborating with Gerta Pohorylle, later known as Gerda Taro. The covered the Spanish Civil War, where Gerda lost his life in 1937. Some sources claim that the two had a romantic relationship alongside the professional one. But after his research, Martin notes that this claim is debatable.
Capa shared a darkroom with Henri Cartier-Bresson, with whom he would later co-found the Magnum Photos cooperative. He covered the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II, the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and the First Indochina War. He had his images published in numerous magazines and newspapers, and some of them have become iconic. Other than photographing war, Capa also photographed many famous artists, writers, and actors with his recognizable style. These include people such as Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Ingrid Bergman, and George Orwell.
In the early 1950s, Capa was asked to cover the First Indochina War. He accompanied a French regiment with two other journalists, John Mecklin and Jim Lucas. On 25 May 1954, Capa was killed when he stepped on a land mine while. He was only 40 years old.
Capa’s life and legacy have inspired many photographers, as well as other artists. There are movies, poems, and theatrical plays inspired by his life and work. A fantastic song by Alt-J, Taro, describes his death and his relationship with Gerda Taro. All in all, Capa has made a big impact despite the fact that he didn’t live a long life. Make sure to watch Martin’s video for more details, and for some fantastic Robert Capa’s images.
[Robert Capa – “The Greatest War Photographer in the World” | YFM Street Photography; lead image: Robert Capa by Gerda Taro]