Robert Capa –  “The Greatest War Photographer in the World”

Robert Capa – “The Greatest War Photographer in the World”


Hello photography fans! And today I would like to talk about Robert Capa who is said to be the greatest war photographer in the world. Someone who took pictures of the greatest moments in modern history. Founder of one of the most well known photography cooperative Magnum photos. Let’s talk about Robert Capa Before we talk about Robert Capa, let me introduce you to someone very important for this story. Andre Friedman was born in Budapest 1913 and didn’t particularly have a dream childhood. His early life was influenced by World War one, his gambling father and his adventurous stories. He was actually part of a kids gang roomign Budapest, especially the Jewish quarter in the Pest part. He actually had a nickname shark which translated into Hungarian is Capa. He was never afraid of new things. especially adventurous involving danger. In his early life he became involved with leftist revolutionaries, but never actually joined the Communist Party. During his high school years. He became interested in politics and literature and decided to become a journalist. However with rising anti-semitism in Hungary, it wasn’t a great place to stay for Andrew and when his friend Ewa Besnyo went to Berlin to study photography, he decided he would follow her. Through the Jewish community he was able to apply to study abroad and finally moved to Berlin via Prague, Vienna and Dresden. When he was in Berlin he needed to somehow make money and since his german was still kind of limited at that time he decided to become a photographer as it was the nearest thing to journalism, but he didn’t actually need the language for that. He got a job in photography company called Dephot ran by Hungarian and he worked there in a darkroom. When Leon Trotsky arrived in Berlin to have his speech he volunteered to photographer him. This event kind of kick-started his photography career. As Germany in the 1930s wasn’t a particularly good for leftist Jewish photographer he left for Paris. While in Paris He met Gerta de who was German photographer and fled Germany for the same reasons the two became a team and started photography together. Also according to book Blood and Champagne: The life and times of Robert Capa by Alex Kershaw they felt in love in South France. What I felt from books and informations I have found was – I think they cared for each other if not loved each other but there were also opinions that they were just friends and photography partners and Capa had many lovers and Gerda actually loved someone else As Andre was still struggling with money. They actually got an idea to create an association to sell photos. They formed an association of three people Gerda, Andrea and Robert Capa an American famous and rich photographer travelling in Europe who just happened to be the same person as Andre Friedman. There is a radio interview from 1947. I will leave a link in description where he explains how this actually happened. I had a name which was a little bit different from Bob Capa that was a long time ago in Paris around 1934, 1935 and that real name of mine was not too good. On myy own name. I couldn’t get assignment anymore and I kind of decided that that moment it’s time for me to be a working man a great photographer etc., and I needed a new name very badly and I figured that something like Robert would sound very American because that was all somebody had to sound and figures Capa again sounding as american or something and figured it’s easy to pronounce. Because of that they are able to sell his prints for double or even triple prizes at that time. As for the Gerta she also changed her name and she changed to Gerda Taro. Capa photographed 5 wars in 10 different countries and was called the greatest war photographer in the world by Picture Post. He actually made his name during a Spanish Civil War where he took this picture. The Falling Soldier which became not only the most famous photo of Spanish Civil War but also the most controversial. As Alex Kershaw wrote in his book the picture became the most debated picture in history of photojournalism. There are basically two camps the first one says The photo is the greatest war photograph and the other one that a photo was either staged or the soldiers simply tripped. I would say the photo looks perfectly real to me and I will leave it up to you to decide whenever you think it is real or staged. Let me know down in the comments. However, it still was and actually is an iconic photograph after Spanish war. He photographed Chinese resistance to Imperial Japan and after that the D-day. He was actually the only photographer to land on Omaha Beach with the first wave. He shot four rolls of 35 millimeter film and Sent them to lives magazine office in London. However, there was a very unfortunate accident and Life’s darkroom destroyed almost all negatives except eleven. It’s just incredible when you think about how dangerous it was to take those photos. All of them were printed in the last magazine on June 19. In 1947 with William Vandivert, David Seymour, George Rodger, and Henri Cartier-Bresson They founded the cooperative venture Magnum Photos The goal was to help and manage work for freelance photographers. It has been more than 72 years since the organization started and it developed a reputation for the excellence of its photojournalism. Between 1948 and 1950 he visited Israel and photographed the declaration of Independence and fighting that followed. My most favorite photo is probably this one. I have seen this image long before I actually found it was taken in Haifa and it documents. Arriving immigrants as it feels kind of timeless and just like a lot of his photos It has this strong vertical composition. During his career he met befriended and photographed many famous celebrities painters actors writers including Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, George Orwell or Ingrid Bergman. There is actually a great movie about Ingrid. So I will put the link in the description if you want to check it out. I saw it just recently and I liked it a lot. His last assignment took place in Vietnam during the first Indochina war. As there were land mines everywhere. It was stressed out to follow the convoy and cleared the roads. He said we would be totally careful except when there was only one place he could take the picture he wanted. This is the last photo he took. On 25th of May in 1954 he stepped on a landmine and died. He was only 40 years old, I think he was not only incredible war photographer, but also brilliant for the photojournalist. Just looking at his pictures we can learn a lot not only about street photography and composition. I hope you liked this video if you did make sure to leave the like below subscribe if you want to see more content like this and I will see you next time!

22 comments

  1. A great mini biopic on Capa. Could've done without the greenscreened blurry bookshelf backdrop, but otherwise well done.

  2. Very well done. I am a big Capa fan. I have read several books on him, and I liked this short very much. Great job on the "Greatest War Photographer in the World"!

  3. Excellent video. Capa was a great photo journalist and a very brave man. His work is impressive and has stood the test of time because it is timeless. Thank you for making this!

  4. i heard the song ‘Taro’ by alt-j and became super interested in Capa’s life, this was perfect to watch :))

  5. Good video again. Can try to suggest something? Try to move out of the centre of the video, either to the left or right. So be rather on the edge of two thirds. I think it will look better for composition and also when you are presenting the videos or pictures behind yourself they will be more visible.

  6. Thank you for this and all the videos you put together. I would only ask that you use dissolves instead of so many jump cuts. Thanks!

  7. I have seen every success YouTuber, they add their email address, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc account add there Channel. Because anyone who likes or knows them, or someone they can not communicate with can contact them from their channel. Many clients and many visitors get a lot of views and discussions with them on a variety of topics. So, I think it's very necessary for them to build themselves as a succesite YouTube. I have made this message as one of your best wishes. I hope you understand. Thank you

  8. I recently found this channel and it has got to be one of the most informative photography channels on youtube. My only negative comment has to do with the production quality. Setting that aside, though, the content and research you put in to all of your videos is truly extraordinary. Congratulations!!

  9. Excellent report, sir. At 77 years old, and as a former photographer/journalist Capa has been a light with which to see a dangerous path. Also, I do not believe the photo was not staged. The face tells a story of death. Thank you.

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