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Robert Capa speaks for himself: 'The camera was far above my head'
'If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough', said famed photographer Robert Capa. He was certainly close enough to take his iconic 'Falling Solider' photograph during the Spanish Civil War. In a recently discovered radio interview from the 1940s, Capa is heard explaining how he took the photo that many have since alleged was staged.
'That was probably the best picture I ever took. I never saw the picture in the frame because the camera was far above my head', Capa said on the NBC radio show 'Hi! Jinx' in 1947.
|Death of a Loyalist Militiaman, Córdoba front, Spain, September 1936. (Robert Capa/International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos)|
In the interview, Capa recounts that he was in a trench in Andalusia, Spain with soldiers trying to attack a machine gun post. He said there were several unsuccessful attempts to rush the gunner, but each time the soldiers moved out they were mowed down.
Capa goes on to say:
'This thing repeated itself about three or four times, so the fourth time I just kind of put my camera above my head and even didn't look and clicked a picture when they moved over the trench. And that was all. I didn't ever look at my pictures there and I sent my pictures back with a lot of other pictures that I took.
I stayed in Spain for three months, and when I came back I was a very famous photographer because that camera which I hold above my head just caught a man at the moment when he was shot.'
Lucky for Capa he got out alive, but was eventually killed in 1954, covering the war in Southeast Asia. The 1947 recording was found by the chief curator of the International Center of Photography Brian Wallis. It was released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Capa.
What do you think of Capa's account? What's your favorite Capa photo?