Robert Capa was one of the great war photographers. He was also one of the founders of the Magnum photo agency, along with Henri Cartier-Bresson. Capa covered five major conflicts from the Spanish Civil War in 1936 to the First Indochina War in ’54. His images of the D-day landings are perhaps Capa’s most haunting. The shots taken as he scrambled from the landing craft towards the beach are iconic. It feels almost absurd for me to sit in eerie silence and stare at an image that was taken during the chaos, violence and noise at Omaha Beach.
Capa was masterful at photographing people, whether they were his famous friends like Hemmingway and Picasso, or prisoners of war, the poor and the destitute. One of his portraits is of a French woman holding the baby she had fathered with a German soldier. The sequence of images shows her with her head shaved, and then being jeered as she is paraded through the town. The smiles of the crowd would have been pleasant in almost any other situation, but here they just show another facet to the brutality of war.
Robert Capa: The Definitive Collection is a weighty tome covering images from that start of his career in 1932 to his death during the First Indochina War. Take a look through the pages for a masterclass in photography, and a powerful glimpse into some of the most important events in history.