Following in his brother Robert Capa’s footsteps, Cornell Capa became a photographer for Life Magazine in the US in 1946. This image was taken during that time, and beautifully captures the energy and pleasure of his light-footed subjects as they demonstrate their dance moves. After his brother’s death in 1954 Cornell Capa joined Magnum and became president of the agency. There, he produced well known bodies of work focusing on the first 100 days of President Kennedy’s presidency. He was later to found the International Centre of Photography in 1964.

The idea that any photography can't be personal is madness. I see something; it goes through my eye, brain, heart, guts; I choose the subject. What could be more personal than that?

Cornell Capa
© Cornell Capa | Magnum Photos

Cornell Capa was born Cornell Friedmann to a Jewish family in Budapest. In 1936, he moved to Paris, where his brother Andre (Robert Capa) was working as a photojournalist. Capa worked as his brother’s printer until 1937, then moved to New York to join the new Pix photo agency. In 1938, he began working in the Life darkroom.

Soon his first photo-story on the New York World’s Fair was published in Picture Post. Over the course of his long career, he explored subjects as varied as old age in America, Judaism, the electoral campaigns of John and Robert Kennedy, ruthless Wall Street bankers and the destruction of indigenous Amazon cultures. In 1974, Capa founded New York City’s influential International Center of Photography, to which he dedicated his considerable energy as its director. He joined Magnum in 1954, following the death of his brother.

© Cornell Capa | Magnum Photos

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