Robert Capa Spanish civil war photos rediscovered

This video is called Robert Capa – Spanish Civil War.

From the New York Times in the USA:

TO the small group of photography experts aware of its existence, it was known simply as “the Mexican suitcase.” And in the pantheon of lost modern cultural treasures, it was surrounded by the same mythical aura as Hemingway’s early manuscripts, which vanished from a train station in 1922.

The suitcase — actually three flimsy cardboard valises — contained thousands of negatives of pictures that Robert Capa, one of the pioneers of modern war photography, took during the Spanish Civil War before he fled Europe for America in 1939, leaving behind the contents of his Paris darkroom.

Capa assumed that the work had been lost during the Nazi invasion, and he died in 1954 on assignment in Vietnam still thinking so. But in 1995 word began to spread that the negatives had somehow survived, after taking a journey worthy of a John le Carré novel: Paris to Marseille and then, in the hands of a Mexican general and diplomat who had served under Pancho Villa [see also here], to Mexico City.

And that is where they remained hidden for more than half a century until last month, when they made what will most likely be their final trip, to the International Center of Photography in Midtown Manhattan, founded by Robert Capa’s brother, Cornell. After years of quiet, fitful negotiations over what should be their proper home, legal title to the negatives was recently transferred to the Capa estate by descendants of the general, including a Mexican filmmaker who first saw them in the 1990s and soon realized the historical importance of what his family had.

“This really is the holy grail of Capa work,” said Brian Wallis, the center’s chief curator, who added that besides the Capa negatives, the cracked, dust-covered boxes had also been found to contain Spanish Civil War images by Gerda Taro, Robert Capa’s partner professionally and at one time personally, and by David Seymour, known as Chim, who went on to found the influential Magnum photo agency with Capa.

Valencia-born photographer Agustí Centelles (1909-1985) certainly ranks with Robert Capa, generally recognised as one of the greatest photojournalists to cover the Spanish Civil War. Some of Centelles’s most memorable images are among the 100 or so now on display at the Vila Casas Foundation in Barcelona, the first exhibition of his work since his death in 1985: here.

Milton Wolff of Abraham Lincoln Brigade dies: here.

Steve Fullarton: Scottish Spanish Civil War veteran dies: here.

Spanish elections of March 2008: here.

5 thoughts on “Robert Capa Spanish civil war photos rediscovered

  1. Mississippi to Madrid
    by James Yates

    Memoir of a Black American in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

    Foreword by John Henrick Clarke

    “One winter day in February of 1937, I found myself on a New York dock boarding a boat—my destination, Spain. There had been many twists and turns that had brought me to this crossroad. There was Chicago and New York. And there were other places…but before them all, there was Mississippi, the place where I was born. The year was 1906, that is, if what was written down in the old family bible is correct. There was no other way of knowing, since the state of Mississippi didn’t bother to register the birth or death of Black folks.”

    This compelling memoir by James Yates tells a little known and yet important chapter in Black history that belongs in “the archives of human struggle.” Yates takes the reader from the hot cotton fields of Mississippi to labor organizing in Chicago to depression-era New York City, and on to Spain as part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

    Yates was one of 100 Black people among the 3200 volunteers from the U.S. that made up the Brigade, the first non-Jim Crow military organization in U.S. history.

    Open Hand, paperback, b/w photos, 175pp, index


  2. Pingback: British nazis abuse anti fascist song | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Capa, Taro, war photographers | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: The Spanish civil war and British artists | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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