War photographer Robert Capa
“I took no more pictures, I was busy lifting stretchers.”
Robert Capa lived through several wars, taking photos of death, courage and sorrow. In the end he too became a victim of war.
On May 25, 1954, in the First IndoChina War, Capa was accompanying a French regiment in Thái Bình Province, riding in a Jeep with two Time-Life journalists, John Mecklin and Jim Lucas.
As the regiment passed through an area under fire, Capa jumped out of the jeep and went up the road to photograph their advance. He stepped on a landmine and was killed instantly. He was 40.
SPANISH CIVIL WAR
In 1936, Capa went to Spain with Ernest Hemingway to photograph the war, which Hemingway later wrote about in his 1940 novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway’s coverage of the war was published in Life magazine along with Capa’s photos.
WORLD WAR II
The D-Day landing at Omaha Beach in Capa’s own words—
The water was cold and the beach still a hundred yards away. The bullets tore holes in the water around me, and I made for the nearest steel obstacle. A soldier got there at the same time and for a few minutes we shared its cover.
The rip tide hit my body and every wave slapped my face under my helmet. I held my cameras high over my head and told myself, “I am just going to dry my hands on that boat and put fresh film in both cameras. I got up on deck again in time to take one last picture of the smoke covered beach… An invasion barge came alongside… the transfer of the badly wounded in the heavy seas was a difficult business. I took no more pictures, I was busy lifting stretchers.
In World War II, during the battle for Leipzig, Capa took a picture of a 21-year-old American soldier, Raymond Bowman, after he was killed by a German sniper. It was April 18, 1945, just two weeks before Germany surrendered following the Battle of Berlin.
In 1943, Capa became the lover of actress Ingrid Bergman when she was touring in Europe to entertain American soldiers. When she left to go back to L.A., he went with her, but the relationship soon ended when he went left for Turkey on another job. He never married.
Capa is buried in Amawalk Hill Cemetery in Westchester County, New York, with his mother, Julia, and his younger brother, fellow photographer Cornell Capa.