Photos - Fotos: Robert Capa - Part 1 - Spain . Espana . Civil war . Guerra civil - 1936 - 23 photos - Bio in English y Espanol - Links

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 Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Andalucia. Cerro Muriano. Cordoba front. Republican soldiers. September 5th, 1936

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Andalucia. September 5th, 1936. Cerro Muriano, Cordoba front.

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Andalucia. September 5th, 1936. Cerro Muriano, Cordoba front.

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Andalucia. September 5th, 1936. Cerro Muriano, Cordoba front.

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Aragon front. August-September 1936. Republican soldier outside the local General Headquarters

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Aragon front. August-September 1936. Republican soldier,

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Aragon front. August-September 1936. Republican soldier

 Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Aragon Front. August-September 1936. Republican soldiers in trenches

Robert Capa (born Friedmann Endre Ernő;[1] October 22, 1913 – May 25, 1954) was a Hungarian combat photographer and photojournalist who covered five different wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War. He documented the course of World War II in London, North Africa, Italy, the Battle of Normandy on Omaha Beach and the liberation of Paris.

In 1947, Capa co-founded Magnum Photos in Paris with David "Chim" Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and William Vandivert. The organization was the first cooperative agency for worldwide freelance photographers.


He was born Endre Friedmann to Dezső and Júlia Friedmann on October 22, 1913 in Budapest, Hungary. Deciding that there was little future under the regime in Hungary, he left home at 18.

Capa originally wanted to be a writer; however, he found work in photography in Berlin and grew to love the art. In 1933, he moved from Germany to France because of the rise of Nazism, but found it difficult to find work as a freelance journalist. He adopted the name "Robert Capa" around this time— cápa ("shark") was his nickname in school and he felt that it would be recognizable and American-sounding, since it was similar to that of film director Frank Capra. He found it easier to sell his photos under the newly adopted "American"-sounding name. Over a period of time, he gradually assumed the persona of Robert Capa (with the help of his girlfriend Gerda Taro, who acted as an intermediary with those who purchased the photos taken by the "great American photographer, Robert Capa"). Capa's first published photograph was of Leon Trotsky making a speech in Copenhagen on "The Meaning of the Russian Revolution" in 1932.[2]

Spanish Civil War and Chinese resistance to Japan

From 1936 to 1939, Capa worked in Spain, photographing the Spanish Civil War, along with Gerda Taro, his companion and professional photography partner, and David Seymour.[3] In 1938, he traveled to the Chinese city of Hankow, now called Wuhan, to document the resistance to the Japanese invasion.[4]

In 1936, Capa became known across the globe for the "Falling Soldier" photo long thought to have been taken in Cerro Muriano on the Cordoba Front. It was thought to be of a Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) militiaman[2] who had just been shot and was falling to his death, and was long considered an iconic image of the war. Scholars have debated the authenticity of this photograph. A Spanish historian later identified the dead soldier as Federico Borrell García, from Alcoi (Alicante), but this identification has been disputed.[5] However, on 3 February 2013 an investigative documentary broadcast by Japan's NHK[6] detailing painstaking research carried out by Kotaro Sawaki[7] presented a compelling case for Gerda Taro to be acknowledged as the real photographer. Capa remained conspicuously unwilling to discuss The Falling Soldier, which was published shortly after Taro's death. Making use of computer analysis of this and other photographs taken at the time, Sawaki has identified the precise location and demonstrated that the soldier merely lost his footing on the rough slope during a practice charge made (with Mauser rifles clearly not ready to fire) before any fighting took place in the area.

World War II

At the start of World War II, Capa was in New York City, having moved there from Paris to look for work, and to escape Nazi persecution. During the war, Capa was sent to various parts of the European Theatre on photography assignments. He first photographed for Collier's Weekly, before switching to Life after he was fired by Collier's. He was the only "enemy alien" photographer for the Allies. During July and August 1943 Capa was in Sicily with American troops, near Sperlinga, Nicosia and Troina. The Americans were advancing toward Troina, a strategically located town which controlled the road to Messina (Sicily's main port to the mainland). The town was being fiercely defended by the Germans, in an attempt to evacuate all German troops. Robert Capa's pictures show the Sicilian population's sufferings under German bombing and their happiness when American soldiers arrive. One notable photograph from this period shows a Sicilian peasant indicating the direction in which German troops had gone, near Sperlinga. On 7 October 1943 Robert Capa was in Naples with Life reporter Will Lang Jr., and there he photographed the Naples post office bombing.[8]

Omaha beach

Main article: The Magnificent Eleven

Probably his most famous images, The Magnificent Eleven, are a group of photos of D-Day. Taking part in the Allied invasion, Capa was with the second wave of American troops on Omaha Beach. The men storming Omaha Beach faced some of the heaviest resistance from German troops within the bunkers of the Atlantikwall. While under constant fire, Capa took 106 pictures, but all but eleven were destroyed in a photo lab accident back in London.[9]

Russia and Israel

In 1947 Capa traveled to the Soviet Union with his friend, the American writer John Steinbeck. He took photos in Moscow, Kiev, Tbilisi, Batumi and among the ruins of Stalingrad. Steinbeck's account of their journey, A Russian Journal, (1948) was illustrated with Capa's photos.

In 1947, Capa founded the cooperative venture Magnum Photos in Paris with Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Vandivert, David Seymour, and George Rodger. It was a cooperative agency to manage work for and by freelance photographers, and developed a reputation for the excellence of its photo-journalists. In 1951, he became the president.

Capa toured Israel after its founding. He took the numerous photographs that accompanied Irwin Shaw's book, Report on Israel.

First Indochina War and death

In the early 1950s, Capa traveled to Japan for an exhibition associated with Magnum Photos. While there, Life magazine asked him to go on assignment to Southeast Asia, where the French had been fighting for eight years in the First Indochina War.

Although a few years earlier he had said he was finished with war, Capa accepted and accompanied a French regiment with two Time-Life journalists, John Mecklin and Jim Lucas. On May 25, 1954 at 2:55 p.m., the regiment was passing through a dangerous area under fire when Capa decided to leave his Jeep and go up the road to photograph the advance. About five minutes later, Mecklin and Lucas heard an explosion; Capa had stepped on a landmine. When they arrived on the scene, he was alive but his left leg had been blown to pieces, and he had a serious wound in his chest. Mecklin called for a medic and Capa was taken to a small field hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.[citation needed]

He is buried in Amawalk Hill Cemetery (also called Friends Cemetery), Amawalk, Westchester County, New York. Along with his mother, Julia, and his brother, Cornell Capa.

Personal life

He was born into a Jewish family in Budapest,[10] where his parents were tailors. At the age of 18, Capa moved to Vienna, later relocated to Prague, and finally settled in Berlin: all cities that were centers of artistic and cultural ferment in this period. He started studies in journalism at the German Political College, but the Nazi Party instituted restrictions on Jews and prohibited them from colleges. Capa relocated to Paris, where he adopted the name ’Robert Capa’ in 1934. At that time, he had already been a hobby-photographer.

In 1934 "André Friedman", as he still called himself then, met Gerda Pohorylle, a German Jewish refugee. The couple lived in Paris where André taught Gerda photography. Together they created the name and image of "Robert Capa" as a famous American photographer. Gerda took the name Gerda Taro and became successful in her own right. She travelled with Capa to Spain in 1936 intending to document the Spanish Civil War. In July 1937, Capa traveled briefly to Paris while Gerda remained in Madrid. She was killed near Brunete during a battle. Capa, who was reportedly engaged to her, was deeply shocked and never married.

In February 1943 Capa met Elaine Justin, then married to the actor John Justin. They fell in love and the relationship lasted until the end of the war. Capa spent most of his time in the frontline. Capa called the redheaded Elaine "Pinky," and wrote about her in his war memoir, Slightly Out of Focus. In 1945, Elaine Justin broke up with Capa; she later married Chuck Romine.

Some months later Capa became the lover of the actress Ingrid Bergman, who was touring in Europe to entertain American soldiers.[11]p. 176 In December 1945, Capa followed her to Hollywood, where he worked for American International Pictures for a short time. The relationship ended in the summer of 1946 when Capa traveled to Turkey.


    His younger brother, Cornell Capa, also a photographer, worked to preserve and promote Robert's legacy as well as develop his own identity and style. He founded the International Fund for Concerned Photography in 1966. To give this collection a permanent home, he founded the International Center of Photography in New York City in 1974.

    The Overseas Press Club created the Robert Capa Gold Medal in the photographer's honor.[12]

Capa is known for redefining wartime photojournalism. His work came from the trenches as opposed to the more arms-length perspective that was the precedent. He was famed for saying, "If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough."[13]

    He is credited with coining the term Generation X. He used it as a title for a photo-essay about the young people reaching adulthood immediately after the Second World War. It was published in 1953 in Picture Post (UK) and Holiday (USA). Capa said, "We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm we realised that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with."[14]


Scholars began to re-examine Capa's image of The Falling Soldier and disagreed about its authenticity.[5][15] In 2003, a reporter for the Spanish newspaper El Periodico claimed the photo was taken near the town of Espejo, 10 km from Cerro Muriano, and that the image was staged.[16][17] In 2009, a Spanish professor published a book titled Shadows of Photography, in which he showed that the photograph could not have been taken where, when, or how Capa and his backers have said.[18]

For decades, many of Capa's photographs of the Spanish Civil War were presumed lost, but they surfaced in Mexico City in the late 1990s.[19] While fleeing Europe in 1939, Capa had lost the collection, which over time came to be dubbed the "Mexican suitcase".[19]

On December 19, 2007, the owner of the negatives, Benjamin Tarver, decided to return the negatives to the families of the photographers. The collection contained 4,500 negatives of photographs by Capa, Gerda Taro and Chim.[20] Ownership of the collection was transferred to the Capa Estate, and in December 2007 the collection was moved to the International Center of Photography, a museum founded in Manhattan by Capa's younger brother Cornell.[19][21]

The International Center of Photography organized a travelling exhibition titled This Is War: Robert Capa at Work, which displayed Capa's innovations as a photojournalist in the 1930s and 1940s. It includes vintage prints, contact sheets, caption sheets, handwritten observations, personal letters and original magazine layouts from the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. The exhibition appeared at the Barbican Art Gallery, the International Center of Photography of Milan, and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in the fall of 2009, before moving to the Nederlands Fotomuseum from October 10, 2009 until January 10, 2010.[22]


As a teenager, Capa was drawn to the Munkakör (Work Circle), a group of socialist and avant-garde artists, photographers, and intellectuals centered around Budapest. He participated in the demonstrations against the repressive regime of Miklós Horthy. In 1931, just before his first photo was published, Capa was arrested by the Hungarian secret police, beaten, and jailed for his radical political activity. A police official’s wife—who happened to know his family—won Capa’s release on the condition that he would leave Hungary immediately.[2]

The Boston Review has described Capa as "a leftist, and a democrat—he was passionately pro-Loyalist and passionately anti-fascist ..." During the Spanish Civil War, Capa travelled with and photographed the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM), under which George Orwell served, which resulted in his best-known photograph.[2]

The British magazine Picture Post ran his photos from Spain in the 1930s accompanied by a portrait of Capa, in profile, with the simple description: "He is a passionate democrat, and he lives to take photographs.

In popular culture

    The song Taro by the British band ∆ (Alt-J), appearing on their 2012 album An Awesome Wave, is about the death of Capa, and his reunion with Gerda Taro.
    In Danny Boyle's 2007 science fiction film Sunshine, the lead character is an astronaut named Robert Capa, played by Cillian Murphy.
 Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. August 1936. Aragon Front. Collective farmers who supported the Republican cause

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. August-September 1936. A checkpoint near Barcelona

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. August-September 1936. Aragon Front. Republican soldiers

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. August-September, 1936. A militiaman on a donkey near Madrid

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Barcelona or its vicinity. August, 1936. Republican militiaman aiming a rifle

Robert Capa (Budapest, Hungría, 22 de octubre de 1913 -Thai Binh Vietnam, 25 de mayo de 1954), seudónimo de Endre Ernö Friedmann, fue el más famoso corresponsal gráfico de guerra del siglo XX.


Robert Capa (Endre Ernö Friedmann) nació en la ciudad de Budapest en el seno de una familia judía que gozaba de una buena posición económica. Su madre era diseñadora de moda y su padre un pensador intelectual con influencias aristocráticas. En Hungría era costumbre en aquella época pertenecer a un círculo de índole artístico o político y Endré entró en uno de ellos, en el que recibió el sobrenombre de "Bandi".
Primeros años

Condenado en su adolescencia a vivir vagando por la ciudad por la instauración del taller de sus padres en la casa, después de que éstos perdieran el local a raíz de la depresión económica de 1929. En estas andanzas conocería a una de las mujeres que más influyó en su vida, y se puede decir que, si no hubiera sido por ella no habría llegado a ser un gran fotógrafo. El nombre de esa mujer era Eva Besnyo, quien desde muy joven tuvo un gran interés por la fotografía. Eva era una de esas personas a las que le parecía más productivo tomar fotografías que hacer sus deberes escolares. En su juventud ya tomaba fotografías con su cámara Kodak Brownie. Ella y su especial gusto por este arte motivaron el primer contacto de Endré con la fotografía. Era muy solicitado por sus amigos, ya que se caracterizaba por ser un joven generoso y leal.

Ya hacia sus florecientes diecisiete años y esperando terminar su vida escolar, Endré conoce a una de esas personas que moldearían su vida, uno de esos buenos amigos que emprendían sus senderos, con excelentes consejos, apoyo económico oportuno, conexiones apropiadas, sugerencias artísticas y concepciones acerca de la vida. Este ilustre personaje se llamaba Lajos Kassák, quien, con tendencias socialistas, se decidió a ayudar a cualquier artista con corrientes constructivistas. Dio a conocer la fotografía como un objeto social mostrando las injusticias del sistema capitalista y presentando trabajos en sus seminarios como los de Jacob Riis y Lewis Hine. En 1929 la situación política iba de mal en peor con la imposición de un gobierno fascista en Hungría, lo que obligó al joven Endré a salir del país junto a la gran masa de jóvenes que se sentían presionados por la falta de un gobierno democrático y garantías económicas.

Etapa parisina

A los 18 años abandona Hungría, entonces ya bajo un gobierno fascista. Tras su paso por Alemania, viaja a París, donde conoce al fotógrafo David Seymour quien le consigue un trabajo como reportero gráfico en la revista Regards para cubrir las movilizaciones del Frente Popular.

Entre 1932 y 1936, tratando de escapar del nazismo, Endre Friedmann, establecido en Francia, conoce a la fotógrafa alemana Gerda Taro (nacida Gerta Pohorylle) que acabaría siendo su compañera. Para tratar de aumentar la cotización de los trabajos de la pareja a menudo rechazados, se inventan el nombre de un supuesto fotógrafo norteamericano Robert Capa, utilizado ambos indistintamente dicho seudónimo. Este hecho constituye la base de la polémica sobre quién de los dos tomó en realidad algunas de sus fotografías más relevantes.
Guerra Civil Española

Al estallar la Guerra Civil Española en julio de 1936, Capa se traslada a España con su novia para cubrir los principales acontecimientos de la contienda española. Implicado en la lucha antifascista y con la causa de la República, estuvo presente, desde ese lado, en los principales frentes de combate, desde los inicios en el frente de Madrid hasta la retirada final en Cataluña.

Siempre en primera línea, es mundialmente famosa su fotografía Muerte de un Miliciano,1 tomada en Cerro Muriano, en el frente de Córdoba, el 5 de septiembre de 1936. Reproducida en la mayoría de los libros sobre la Guerra Civil, su autenticidad ha sido puesta en cuestión por diversos expertos. A pesar de que un historiador local de Alcoy puso nombre al miliciano, Federico Borrell García, miliciano anarquista, el documental La sombra del iceberg (2007) niega tal atribución con testigos, médicos forenses y documentos del archivo local de Alcoy. Asimismo, muestra lo inconsistente de dicha tesis y aporta nuevas fotos de la secuencia del miliciano que avalan la tesis de la puesta en escena, así como la posibilidad de que la instantánea no la tomara Capa, sino su mujer. En enero de 2008 se encontró, según la CNN, una valija perdida por Capa donde están innumerables negativos de tomas que efectuó en la Guerra Civil Española; un tesoro de incalculable valor histórico. Según un artículo publicado en la web de El Periódico,2 queda de manifiesto que dicho grupo de fotografías fueron tomadas a 10 kilómetros del frente, en la localidad de Espejo, donde tenían en esas fechas las tropas republicanas su cuartel general de acuerdo al periódico.

Segunda Guerra Mundial

Durante la II Guerra Mundial, está presente en los principales escenarios bélicos de Europa, así desde 1941 a 1945 viaja por Italia, Londres y Norte de África. Del desembarco aliado en Normandía, el 6 de junio de 1944, el famoso día D, son clásicas sus fotografías tomadas, junto a los soldados que desembarcaban en la propia playa denominada Omaha en la terminología de la operación. Plasmó asimismo en imágenes la liberación de París. Huston Hu Riley fue el fotógrafo que retrató ese momento.3 Con motivo de su trabajo durante este conflicto, fue galardonado por el general Eisenhower con la Medalla de la Libertad.


En 1947 creó, junto con los fotógrafos Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rodger, Vandiver y David Seymour, la agencia Magnum Photos, donde Capa realizó un gran trabajo fotográfico, no solo en escenarios de guerra sino también en el mundo artístico, en el que tenía grandes amistades, entre las que se incluían Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway y John Steinbeck.

En 1954, encontrándose en Japón visitando a unos amigos de antes de la guerra, fue llamado por la revista Life para reemplazar a otro fotógrafo en Vietnam, durante la Primera Guerra de Indochina. En la madrugada del 25 de mayo, mientras acompañaba a una expedición del ejército francés por una espesa zona boscosa, pisó inadvertidamente una mina y murió, siendo el primer corresponsal americano muerto en esta guerra y terminando así una azarosa vida profesional, guiada por una frase que popularizó:

    "Si tus fotos no son lo suficientemente buenas, es que no te has acercado lo suficiente."  

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Barcelona. August 1936. A Loyalist militia woman

 Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Barcelona. August 1936. Bidding farewell before the departure of a military train directed to the Aragon front

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Barcelona. August 1936. Republican militiamembers

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Barcelona. August 1936. Republican soldiers leaving for the Aragon front

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Barcelona. August 1936. Training for battle

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Barcelona. August 1936.Republican militiaman saying farewell before the departure of a troop train for the front

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Barcelona. Republican soldiers training. August 1936

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Catalonia. August 1936. Near Barcelona. Republican soldiers

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Catalonia. August-September 1936. Near Barcelona. Republican soldiers

Robert Capa © International Center of Photography SPAIN. Catalonia. Barcelona. August 1936. Militiawomen defending a street barricade

Photos - Fotos: Robert Capa - Part 1 - Spain . Espana . Civil war . Guerra civil - 1936 - 23 photos - Bio in English y Espanol - Links

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