New light shed on Capa's "Falling Soldier" photo

Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:09am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Angus MacSwan

LONDON (Reuters) - It is one of the most famous yet controversial war photographs of all time.

Now an exhibition in London of photographer Robert Capa's work sheds new light on his picture of a Spanish Civil War militiaman at the moment he is shot dead.

"The Falling Soldier" picture taken on the Cordoba front in 1936 shows the white-shirted militiaman reeling backwards, his arm flung out as he drops his rifle.

It brought instant fame to the Hungarian-born Capa and came to symbolise the struggle against Fascism.

But over the years, questions have been raised over its veracity, with some suggesting it was staged. Capa himself gave few clues about the actual circumstances in which it was taken.

The exhibition at the Barbican Center, called "This is War -- Robert Capa at Work," gathers all the known images taken by Capa that day in September 1936 and by his companion Gerda Taro.

It also features more of his work in Spain, pictures from the Sino-Japanese War in 1938 and U.S. troops landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day in 1944, as well as original magazines and Capa's own notes and letters.

The collection was curated by Capa biographer Richard Whelan, who died last year. Whelan had set out to answer the skeptics about "The Falling Soldier," Kate Bush, Head of Galleries for the Barbican, told Reuters.   Continued...

<p>A visitor looks at the picture "Death of a militiaman" taken in 1936 at the Robert Capa Retrospective exhibition in Berlin in this file photo taken January 21, 2005. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/Files</p>