Robert Capa

Robert Capa

Robert Capa was born in Hungary in 1913. He worked in Germany as a photographer until moving to France in 1933. He covered the Spanish Civil War (1935-37) and the Japanese invasion of China in 1938.

In 1939 Capa emigrated to the United States and in 1942 he was recruited by Collier's Weekly as a photojournalist. He went to Britain and covered the Home Front before moving to North Africa. The following year Capa joined Life Magazine and accompanied Allied troops to Sicily in July 1943.

Capa also recorded dramatic photographs of the D-Day landing. In all, Capa took 108 pictures in the first couple of hours of the invasion of France. Unfortunately, a member of the staff of Life Magazine made a mistake in the darkroom and only eleven were publishable.

Subsequently he reported on the early days of the state of Israel and then the attempt by France to hold onto Vietnam. Robert Capa was killed by a land mine in Vietnam in 1954.

Primary Sources

(1) Robert Capa, Slightly Out of Focus (1947)

After the pre-invasion breakfast at 3 am with hot cakes, sausages, eggs and coffee, served on the invasion ship by white-coated waiters, at 4 am the invasion barges were lowered down into the rough sea.

The men from my barge waded in the water. I paused for a moment on the gangplank to take my first real picture of the invasion. The boatswain who was in a hurry to get the hell out of there, mistook my picture-taking attitude for explicable hesitation, and helped me make up my mind with a well-aimed kick in the rear.

The water was cold and the beach still more than a hundred yards away. The bullets tore holes in the water around me and I made for the nearest steel obstacle