Death in the Making was the first book by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, the pseudonyms for André Friedmann and Gerta Pohorylle, two young photographers with a shared passion for adventure and photojournalism.
Cementing Capa’s and Taro’s reputation as two of the world’s most daring and highly regarded photographers, the book is almost an autobiographical account of their combined experience of the Spanish Civil War. Along with Capa’s journal-like entries, the book features images of jubilant victories and everyday occurrences blended with Taro’s action-packed pictures of the conflict on the frontline. It is through the couple’s unique vision and extensive coverage that one is able to catch a glimpse of what life was like during the war, whether from the perspective of a fleeing housewife during a bomb raid, or down the barrel of a gun of an advancing soldier.
Taro, who in loyalist circles became known as “La pequeña rubia” (the small blonde), very quickly acquired a reputation as a daring and unflinching photographer who was not afraid to tail a frontline skirmish. Documenting and distributing the loyalist plight, the 26-year-old was a welcome addition to any party heading into battle.
Death in the Making was released by Capa in 1938, before the Civil War had come to a close, and is wholly dedicated to Taro, who lost her life whilst following a group of loyalists in Brunete with Canadian writer Ted Allan. She is widely believed to be the first female photojournalist to have lost her life in a conflict.