Famous Robert Capa photograph was not staged

LAST UPDATED: 4 Nov, 2013 @ 20:55
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Famous Robert Capa photograph was not staged

IT is one of the most iconic war photographs of all time.

But, the image by Robert Capa taken during the Spanish Civil War has been shrouded in controversy for years, with critics claiming it was nothing more than staged propaganda.

Now the famous photographer has been heard talking publicly for the first time in decades, insisting that the picture Fallen Soldier is entirely authentic.

He revealed that the image – taken of a Republican soldier at the moment of his death – was genuinely shot on a front line near Cordoba.

In a sensational recently rediscovered radio interview from 1947, Capa actually explained the chronology of the events that led up to the death.

The interview – which is the only known recording of the photographer’s voice – was bought on eBay by his biographer Richard Whelan.

Discovered in an estate sale, it has now been released by New York’s The International Centre of Photography.

In the remarkable recording, Capa explains how he had taken it from a trench with 20 young Republicans, near the town of Cerro Muriano, above Cordoba.

“My milicianos had been shooting in the direction of the machine gun for five minutes, then stood up, said ‘vamanos’ , got out the trench and began to go after the machine gun.

“Sure enough, the gun opened up and mowed them down.

“This happened three or four times, so the fourth time I just kind of held my camera above my head, didn’t look, and clicked a picture.

“I stayed in Spain for three months and when I came back I was a very famous photographer, because the camera caught a man at the moment he was shot.

“That was probably the best photo I ever took.”

He then added: “The war was kind of romantic. It was in Andalucia and those people were very green – they were not soldiers – and they were dying every minute.

“I figured it was for liberty, and the right kind of fight.”

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  1. I’ve read the detailed reviews of photo analysts on this photo and cannot believe the comments about its “authenticity”. It’s far more then a “lucky photo” and after all these years of debate, I don’t think anyone believes it did truly “capture the moment”. So, hot air.
    A nice photo anyway!

  2. @ A. Molitor
    I beg to differ. I have viewed this picture many times and one thing that has puzzled me as to the claims that it was not authentic was the colour of the man’s face in contrast with the colour of his ear, the ear completely devoid of blood circulation. I have recently had the opportunity of viewing this picture on an iPad where you can zoom into it much more without losing quality.
    To me it looks as if the man has the top of his head blown off by the bullet and the blood has rushed to his face on impact thereby making it look almost blackened. Also the features are clearly visible and it looks to me as if the man is already brain dead when the picture was taken. Just my opinion, but you might want to take another closer look at it.

    Robert Capa’s description of the bloody Civil War, if the tapes are to be taken for real and those are his words, as “kind of romantic” has shocked me somewhat. There was nothing romantic about that war but treachery, murder, blood and tears. Spain is still reeling from its effects.

  3. @Cricket

    Perhaps you should see the entire series of shots which are all staged except for this one (how stange). Even stranger is his partner (Gerda Taro) taking a second falling man picture at the exact same spot with the same cloud formations (look up second falling man). Two lucky shots that close to each other (not to mention that the first falling man has vainished). Add that the skyline has been located in Espejo and not Cerro where claimed and its really hard to belive its not faked. I actually think that Robert never meant to claim it was real but by the time he had a chance to talk it was too late.

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