I often open up my laptop and up pops my Google homepage. I like the surprise of when they have an animation of some sort to celebrate an event or a birthday of someone famous. I click on them out of interest and end up learning something new. I sometimes click on external links and end up absorbing information on someone I had no clue about prior to this. This is what happened when I ended up on Robert Capa’s Wikipedia page.
Robert Capa taken by Gerda Taro
I had forgotten about him until yesterday when I was looking for a quote to end my previous blog with. There were numerous quotes from different photographers. Only one stood out to me. ”The pictures are there, and you just take them.” This is something I would think or even say. I saw the name Robert Capa and realised it looked familiar. That is twice now that I have accidentally been transported to his world. He was a Hungarian photographer that covered many wars. One such war was the Spanish Civil War. His most famous photograph during this time period was the Falling Soldier.
It depicts the death of a Republican soldier in mid-shot. It’s authenticity has been questioned due to evidence coming to light that the photo was not taken in Cerro Muriano but in Espejo, 30 miles away. Photographs were often staged at that time. His work included ”The Magnificent Eleven”, which were photos of D-Day. Here is the Wikipedia link: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magnificent_Eleven).
He was with the first wave of American troops invading Omaha beach. He took 106 photographs, but only 11 survived an accident in a photo lab in London.
It is said that Steven Spielberg was inspired by these photos when filming Saving Private Ryan. He tragically died in 1954 after stepping on a landmine whilst accompanying a French regiment in Southeast Asia. I never knew anything about the Falling Soldier photograph until I came across it that day. I find controversies like these fascinating. Regardless, he was an amazing photographer and literally put his life on the line for the perfect shot. Included are my own pictures of D-Day beaches which I visited.