Description

Cornell Capa, Magnum photographer, and founder of the International Centre of Photography, was the younger brother of Robert Capa, one of the agency’s co-founders, but his contribution to photojournalism was notably distinct from that of his sibling. Where Robert was foremost a war photographer, Cornell was a self-proclaimed photographer of peace; his work dealing primarily with the themes of social justice and politics. His coverage for Life Magazine of John F. Kennedy’s successful presidential run in 1960 is notable for being both a documentation of an important event in American history and an intimate portrait of the country’s youngest ever elected President’s rise to power. “Politics, the greatest of American sports, was to remain one of the dominant preoccupations of my work well into the 1960s,” Capa wrote.

One thing that Life and I agreed right from the start was that one war photographer was enough for my family; I was to be a photographer of peace

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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