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8 Lessons Robert Capa Has Taught Me About Street Photography

Robert Capa / FRANCE. Normandy. June 6th, 1944. Landing of the American troops on Omaha Beach
© Robert Capa / Magnum Photos. FRANCE. Normandy. June 6th, 1944. Landing of the American troops on Omaha Beach

Robert Capa is one of the greatest photographers to have ever lived. When he was still alive, he was proclaimed as “The Greatest War-Photographer in the World”. He captured some of the most intense wars during his time, including the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), Chinese resistance to the Japanese invasion (covered in 1938), the European theater of World War II from (1941-45), the first Arab-Israeli War (1948), and the French Indochina War (1954) and tragically passed away by stepping on a mine.

During his lifetime, he co-founded Magnum alongside photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, David “Chim” Seymour, and William Vandivert in 1947. He also mentored many young photographers in Magnum such as Eve Arnold, Elliot Erwitt, Burt Glinn, Inge Morath, and Marc Riboud.

Capa also famously coined the phrase: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough and his bravery on the front-lines helped him capture some of the most intense, intimate, and emotional photos of war.

So who exactly was Robert Capa, the man and the photographer? How did he start off as a photographer, start Magnum, and create a legacy that has lasted for decades? I wanted to learn more about Robert Capa and did some research on him through the biography “Blood And Champagne: The Life And Times Of Robert Capa” as well as the autobiography Capa himself wrote: “Slightly Out of Focus” where he shares his personal stories from World War II.

Interested in learning more about the legend Robert Capa? If so, read on.

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