“Do not spray into eyes, I have sprayed you into my eyes
3:10 pm, Capa pends death, quivers, last rattles, last chokes
All colors and cares glaze to gray, shriveled and stricken to dots
Left hand grasps what the body grasps not, le photographe est mort
Three, point, one, four, one, five, alive no longer my amour, faded for home May of ’54
Doors open like arms my love, painless with a great closeness
To Capa, to Capa, Capa dark after nothing, re-united with his leg
And with you, Taro” ~ Alt-J ,Taro.
So begins the magnum opus by British alt-rock giants,Alt-j celebrating the love affair between Capa and Taro,and their re-union after death.
It all began with a photograph in 1934,Andre Friedman ,a struggling photographer was on the lookout for potential models for a brochure.He met Gerta Pohorylle in a cafe in Paris and the rest is history.
Together ,Andre Friedman and Gerta Pohorylle would change their names and their destiny,becoming Robert Capa and Gerda Taro ,the most celebrated visual chroniclers of the Spanish civil war.They would change the nature of war photography ,reinventing the form that resonates to this day.
“If your pictures aren’t good enough,you are not close enough”
This quote by Capa would become a dictum by which ensuing generations of war photographers worked.During the Spanish civil war ,in one famous series of pictures ,Capa captured Taro crouched ,camera in hand,behind the wall beside republican soldier.In another,perhaps the most well-known war photograph ever,Capa captured a militiaman at the very moment of his death from a sniper’s bullet.
Capa is also credited with coining the term Generation X, using it as a title for a photo-essay about the young people reaching adulthood immediately after the Second World War. Capa said,
“We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm we realized that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with.”
This brave but cavalier approach would cost both Gerda Taro and Robert Capo their lives.On Sunday 25th July,Taro was killed in Brunete, while covering the Spanish civil war when her car was rammed by an out of control republican tank.Transported to a nearby field hospital ,Taro died from her injuries.According to Irene Golden,the nurse on duty,her last words were :
“Did they take care of my camera?”~Gerda Taro’s last words.
Robert Capo lost his life when he stepped on a landmine on May 25th,1954 during the first Indochina War at the age of 40.They both believed that their photograph could change the world and change the way people think.And their photographs did.
Their legacy lives on to this day.The 2015 edition of exchange4media news broadcasting awards wants to carry on the legacy of Capo and Taro.Recognizing the pioneers of the Indian news industry who have constantly pushed the boundaries in search of truth.
Join us on 13th of February,when we celebrate the spirit of freedom and the legacy of pioneers like Capo and Taro who have shaped journalism as we know it now.
For more info on enba2015 click here.
To know more about Robert Capa click here .
To know more about Gerda Taro click here.
Listen to Alt-j’s tribute to Capa & Taro here.
Visit Magnum photos for a collection of Capa & Taro war photographs.