Discussion Topic: The Greatest War Photograph and Robert Capa

Robert Capa, Death of a Loyalist Soldier, 1936, published in Life Magazine 1937

At the age of 23, Robert Capa took a photograph that many have labeled the greatest war photograph of all time.  Taken during the Spanish Civil War, the renown of Capa’s photograph, Falling Soldier or Death of a Loyalist Soldier, reverberated around the world as it was published and republished in contemporary news magazines.  However, Capa’s photo has been shadowed by controversy, including accusations of fakery.  Read an analysis on the image by Capa’s biographer, Robert Whelan, on the authenticity of the photograph.  Do you find his arguments convincing?  Do you think Capa’s photograph is staged or not? And do you think its authenticity matters?

Whelan’s discussion of Capa’s photograph

Please submit your posts by Saturday, April 27th. 

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2 Responses to Discussion Topic: The Greatest War Photograph and Robert Capa

  1. abdoul_wade says:

    It was kind of surprising to me about Robert Capa’s famous photo Death of a loyalist soldier to be claimed as a hoax. Back during that time it is kind of hard to believe that people actually looked into photography deeply to see the reality of the photo. I honestly didn’t think photos can be marked as “fake photos”. The truth was that Capa was able to get the spanish soldiers to pose for him so he was able to obtain the right war photo. Its kind of surprising how far photographers would do to get their perfect photos. It is also surprising to me that the photo wasn’t really Capa’s, but a man named Federico Borrell. Capa claimed the photo was his for over 25 years. This photo was probably the greatest war photo ever taken, so it was obvious capa would claim it as his work. Now that tey have both passed, it probably will be a mystery as to whose photo it was.

  2. The Death of a loyalist soldier is a great photograph that I personally thing could have been staged but ultimately do not care if it was. I think the photograph has a message and the steps taken to make this medium do not matter. I do think it is interesting how in Whelans discussion there is a lot of stuff that hints towards the photograph being posed and or staged. For example the ability to check the documented travels of Capa is a great piece of evidence that I think can be used to prove a point of the photograph being fake or not. I think the photograph probably was staged but as I initially stated I think the message is more important than the authenticity of the photograph.

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