Robert Capa Introduction

May 7, 2009

Robert Capa is perhaps best known in the United States as the photographer who was on Normandy Beach on D-Day, however he had a long and expansive career which led him to cover almost every major conflict in the world for 30 years. One of those conflicts was the Spanish Civil war.

Capa was actually born in Budapest in 1913, but soon emigrated to the United States, where he ostensively lived in New York (he spent many of his years away covering different conflicts). He arrived in Spain in 1936 to cover the Republic’s struggle against the rebellion, and he would stay there until 1939. [Magnum Photos, Biography of Robert Capa] Out of this time spent in Spain came arguably Capa’s most famous photograph, Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936, or as it was commonly known as, Falling Soldier. The photo was taken on the Cordoba front in 1936 and was first published in the French magazine Vu, however it would eventually become both a symbol of the Civil War, as well as one of if not the greatest combat photo ever taken. (Whelan, 2002) This photo was one of several larger collections which Capa sent back the U.S. and other countries as exhibits, and which now hang in the Reina Sophia Museum.
Although Capa was a legendary dare-devil of the battlefield, this characteristic would eventually be his undoing. While covering the First Indochina War, Capa was killed when he stepped on a landmine. It is said that Capa died with his camera in his hand.[Magnum Photos, Biography of Robert Capa]