Robert Capa at 100

October 23, 2013
Capa's "Falling Soldier" Photograph

Capa’s “Falling Soldier” Photograph

Today, October 22, marks 100 years since Robert Capa’s birth in Budapest, Hungary.  One of the most famed photojournalists of the 20th century, Capa’s reputation has been challenged in recent years by claims that the “Falling Soldier,” arguably his most famous photo, was staged.  Earlier today, the International Center of Photography released one of the few known recordings of Capa from a 1947 interview in which Capa discusses the history of the “Falling Soldier,” potentially ending the controversy once and for all.

Mr. Capa says that the “Falling Soldier” photo — taken in Andalusia — came while he was in the trenches with 20 green Republican soldiers with old rifles “who were dying every minute” as they faced a Fascist machine gun. He recounted that there were several bloody but unsuccessful attempts by the Republican soldiers to rush the machine gun nest. 

“So the fourth time I just kind of put my camera above my head and even didn’t look and clicked a picture when he moved over the trench and that was all,” he said. “I never looked at my pictures there. And I sent my pictures back with lots of other pictures that I took. I stayed in Spain for three months and when I came back, I was a very famous photographer because that camera which I hold above my head just caught a man at the moment when he was shot.”

To read more and listen to two surviving interviews with Capa, click here.