The photographer, Robert Capa, started out as a man named Endre Friedmann, born in Budapest in 1913. In 1934 he met a woman named Gerda Pohorylle, with whom he set up a freelance photography business. This is where Robert Capa comes in, as Friedmann struggled to get work, he and his partner came up with the idea of Robert Capa, the famous American Photographer who would only sell his prints for three times the asking price of magazines, and so they made a living working “under” Robert Capa.
However their secret was soon discovered, but unexpectedly Capa was given another job in Spain, photographing the Spanish Civil War. unfortunately during that conflict, Gerda was killed while photographing a battle, and so Capa eventually left, heartbroken.
During the Spanish Civil War, Capa captured one of his most famous images, the falling soldier.
Capa next went to China, to photograph the battle of Taierchwang, gaining notoriety from these images.
When World War 2 broke out, Capa landed on Ohama beach in an assault barge, where he took 4 of the most famous films worth of photos in history…which where then mostly lost due to processing error. One of the surviving images is here.
It was after World War 2 that Capa helped set up the first international cooperative agency of free-lance photographers, Magnum Photos. Other famous Photographers involved in the set-up of this agency where William Vandivert, George Rodger, David Seymour and most perhaps most notably, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
After a brief spell writing scripts for film, Capa returned to Photography by journeying to Japan with Magnum on an exhibition, however he when asked to by Life magazine, went to photograph the battle on the Indochina front, however this was to be the end of his career, and life, as during this trip he stepped on a landmine. he was quickly rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.
He died still holding his camera.
A true war photographer, he was given the title “the greatest war photographer in the world” and in his memory, the Overseas Press Club created the Robert Capa Award. This award was given for “superlative photography requiring courage and enterprise abroad”. He was quoted to have said “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”, which was one of the reasons he was such a good war photographer, and unfortunately for him, probably one of the reasons he didn’t live longer.
Robert Capa, we salute you!
You can find more information about Robert Capa here.