10.17.2011

JUST ANOTHER MANLY MONDAY: ROBERT CAPA

need a heap of manly this monday morning? we do, and it's a good thing we have this manly man on deck.



mid-century jewish combat photographer, robert capa, was one dishy (and talented) dude. 

characterized as a charming rogue, heavy drinker, experienced poker player and renowned womanizer, robert capa remains as fascinating today as he was in his short lifetime.



born in hungary as endre friedman in 1913, capa left his homeland when he was 18 and moved to germany where he began experimenting with photography. after changing his name to the more american-sounding "robert capa" (capa is hungarian for 'shark'-- his childhood nickname), he began work as a photojournalist, eventually covering five wars in his lifetime.

 capa met his first love gerda in 1934 and the couple moved to spain where he photographed the horrors of the spanish civil war from 1936-39. 

many of his photographs from this war mysteriously disappeared for over fifty years, but were later discovered in a suitcase in mexico city.

 do yourself a favor and watch the beautiful trailer for the documentary released this year. 


capa also photographed world war II for life magazine. the most noteworthy work from his time in the european theatre occurred june 6, 1944, d-day. capa actually swam ashore with the second assault on omaha beach taking photographs with a contax ii with a 50mm lens-- also known at that time as the combat camera. 


robert capa took 106 photographs total of the invasion at normandy beach, but due to a tragic darkroom error by a life staff member, only 8 blurry frames remain. life magazine published those 8 photographs claiming capa's hands shook too much from nervousness that the pictures were "slightly out of focus."


capa never corrected or outed life magazine for the false story, instead he wrote a book chronicling his wwII experience, aptly naming it "slightly out of focus." 


he went on to travel to the soviet union with friend john steinbeck in 1947 and his photographs from their travels accompanied steinbeck's text in "a russian journal."  


before we tell you how he died, here's a few manly facts you really ought to know about this man first:

-he spoke 7 (7!) languages
-he courted and subsequently turned down hollywood movie star ingrid bergman
-he co-founded the magnum photo cooperative
-he never truly got over the death of his first love gerda 
-he was famous for photographing violence and its aftermath as close as possible and claimed, "if your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough."


it was this brash bravery that ultimately killed capa as he was covering the first indochina war. according to life magazine, his last transaction went something like this:

"this is going to be a beautiful story," capa said as he set out from the village of nam dinh, in vietnam's red river delta, on may 25, the last morning of his life. "i will be on my good behavior today. i will not insult my colleagues, and i will not once mention the excellence of my work." eight hours — and 30 km — later, capa was dead, killed by a landmine at thai binh, as he tried to get just that little bit closer."





well, you didn't think you were going to learn anything today, did ya? yeah, sorry about that.

next monday we'll feature a manly man who is still living. we promise.


we still think he's sexy.

-THE HUNTER

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