New London exhibition to show rare vintage Robert Capa prints of Second World War
Some prints have only recently been recognised as his work
Sunday 06 April 2014
'If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough," declared the great photojournalist Robert Capa. Capa, it is fair to say, was close enough. Not least when he swam ashore with the second assault wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day, for perhaps his most famous shots of the Second World War – but also earlier in the campaign, when he was with American forces as they crossed Sicily.
A new exhibition is set to show a series of rare vintage Capa prints in the UK for the first time, some only recently recognised as his work.
Among these photographs are two from July 1943 – one from the small seaside town of Cefalu in northern Sicily, where, notes on the back of the archive print reveal, "friendly and cheerful" civilians came out to greet the soldiers.
The other is from two days and 80km south later, from Nicosia, where the photographer captured the personal nature of the war. "Heads bowed," the caption on the rear tells us, "an Italian soldier and his girl spend their last moments together walking to a temporary prisoner of war camp… Italians needed no guards as they voluntarily entered the camps after the fall of Agrigento."
The other two shots here are from post-D-Day. The first, taken 10 days after the landings, is of a company officer of a US paratroop regiment in northern France, calmly perching on a wrecked car to make a report, despite fires raging in the smoke-filled street behind him.
The second was taken a week-and-a-half later, as Capa joined the Americans in their march on an isolated German unit in Cherbourg, the "doughboy" dodging sniper bullets – as, no doubt, was "Close-up" Capa, too.
'Capa – Europe 1943-1945' is at Daniel Blau Gallery, London N1 (danielblau.com), to 10 May
Robert Capa © ICP/Magnum photos, courtesy Daniel Blau gallery
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