Robert Capa is one of the most influential documentary photographers of the twentieth century and Magnum co-founder. Beginning in 1936, Capa’s coverage of the Spanish Civil War cemented his international reputation as the “greatest war photographer”. Away from battle, Capa gathered around him famous people such as Ernest Hemingway and the war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, Irwin Shaw, and Gene Kelly. Capa’s photography focussed on the people and landmarks that made the twentieth century. Pictured here, actor and dancer Gene Kelly in Paris, during a rehearsal in 1953.

If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough

Robert Capa
© Robert Capa | Magnum Photos

Born Andre Friedmann to Jewish parents in Budapest in 1913, Robert Capa studied political science at the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik in Berlin. Driven out of the country by the threat of a Nazi regime, he settled in Paris in 1933. After his companion, photographer Gerda Taro, was killed during the Spanish Civil War, Capa travelled to China in 1938 and emigrated to New York a year later.

Often referred to as the ‘greatest war photographer’, Capa documentation of the Second World War – including the landing of American troops on Omaha Beach on D-Day, the liberation of Paris and the Battle of the Bulge – have become genre-defining. In 1947, Capa founded Magnum Photos with Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour, George Rodger and William Vandivert.

On 25 May 1954, he was photographing for Life in Thai-Binh, Vietnam, when he stepped on a landmine and was killed.

© Robert Capa | Magnum Photos

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