January 28, 2008

Robert Capa--Lost Negatives Photographer of the Spanish Civil War, his most famous photo has been hotly debated as real. A lost suitcase of negatives, otherwise known as The Capa Cache* has been found. *Nifty phrase courtesy of wowbobwow. That, and all links, totally stolen from the Blue. Thanks, guys

More about the controversial photo here Slideshow here D-Day photos here He died in June of 2006

  • The Falling Soldier is IMHO definitely staged, and ironically the PBS page claiming to prove that it is genuine actually provides the logical proof that it *is* staged. The claim is that Capa had two soldiers sequentially pose for him on the ground above the gully in which he photographed the troop, and they were coincidentally shot by the enemy as they did so - the first soldier's body being removed, explaining why it does not appear in the second shot, which is identified as the same piece of ground. This is utterly specious and preposterous! Why would the soldiers get up and do another posed shot after one of their own men had already been killed in doing so? Having neatly removed the body of their fallen comrade, killed by the enemy whilst acting for a foreign photog, no less. Would you do that? Add to that the author of that article admits that the soldiers were in fact posing for Capa in mock battle, but he insists their 'death poses' were real, for sure, definitely! Capa could never have faked it, he claims, even though Capa was known to have set up other shots many times before and after, and was in fact engaged in doing so in this instance. It smacks of an author desperately trying to shore up the reputation of an ardently admired figure in the face of serious odds. The reasoning is totally flawed. Occam's Razor: the shots were staged.
  • I agree, Hank. I only had time to skim the article, but he doesn't seem to account for the second photograph in almost exactly the same place, nor does he explain why only one of the unit in question was said to be killed that day, and yet two soldiers are shown being shot. It's a very strange article, to be honest.
  • His pictures seem to walk a fine line between Romantic composition (a la Delacroix) and gritty grimness.
  • Personally, I prefer the theory that the image was not staged, and that it was Gerda Taro who snapped it. It will be interesting to see what the case of negatives reveals in the coming months. Thanks for posting, GramMa!!