The Capa Files Reopened

Robert Capa is widely credited for establishing the tone of modern war photography, simply by getting close to the action. A newly discovered treasure trove of his negatives brings that point home. As reported in an excellent piece in yesterday's New York Times, a found cache has been confirmed to be negatives made by Capa, as well as some by his collaborator Gerda Taro and fellow Magnum founder David Seymour.

Robert Capa is widely credited for establishing the tone of modern war photography, simply by getting close to the action. A newly discovered treasure trove of his negatives brings that point home. As reported in an excellent piece in yesterday's New York Times, a found cache has been confirmed to be negatives made by Capa, as well as some by his collaborator Gerda Taro and fellow Magnum founder David Seymour. "This really is the holy grail of Capa work," says Brian Wallis, chief curator at the International Center of Photography, which has fittingly become the new home for the negatives.

The Times piece not only chronicles the tangled international journey that this batch of negatives took during the decades it was missing, but also emphasizes Capa's philosophy of getting in the thick of the battle — “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough," he famously said — which ultimately helped cause Capa's death at age 40 (he stepped on a land mine while covering in the Indochina war in 1954).

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