CapaThe work of photojournalist Robert Capa will doubtless crop up in several modules during the course of the undergraduate degree, so here's a little taster courtesy of the BBC News web site. It's an audio slideshow featuring an exhibition of Capa's work that is opening at the Barbican. Worth a visit just for his extraordinary pictures of the D-Day Landings.

 (Note: you think you felt bad if the sound was a bit dodgy on your recent vox pop videos? Image how Capa felt when a developing cock-up ruined most of the pictures he'd risked his life for on the Normandy beaches...)

Incidentally, if you listen to the slideshow commentary, take the curator's description of the Spanish War soldier "at the moment of death" with a large pinch of salt.


Lovely stuff Ian. We will be looking at coverage of the Spanish Civil War in the History of Journalism module in November. So folks, feast your eyes on Capa's pictures of Republican and International Brigade soldiers. Spain produced a deluge of passionate, committed journalism - written and visual. Capa's photography ranks alongside the writings of George Owell, Franz Borkenau and Martha Gelhorn as some of the finest work generated by that cruellest and most compelling of twentieth century wars. More in my lecture.

If I remember correctly, Capa was often accused of producing most of his legendary shots. Need to read up about that again...

You are right Jaak, There has been controversy, particularly about his iconic image of a Republican soldier captured in the instant of death. The most recent discussion about that produced the suggestion that the picture probably is authentic, but that Capa may have been responsible for the circumstances in which it came about. The argument has endured for decades. I fear we may never have a definitive answer. 

Even the most recent reports about the "Mexican suitcase", discovered earlier this year containing a store of negatives from the same time the famous picture was taken, are confusingly inconsistent.

Last month The Times, in a piece headlined "Shot through with the truth", claimed: "The evidence says that the photograph is genuine." On the same day, The Telegraph's report carried the headline: "Robert Capa 'faked' war photo - new evidence produced."

And it quotes the curator of the exhibition as saying: "It is likely the soldiers were carrying out an exercise either for Capa or themselves." 

If Rebecca and co do go up to the exhibition, maybe they can report back on what they think having seen the newly discovered photos taken on the same day.

There's nothing suspicious about those D-Day pics, though. They are extraordinary.

Ian Reeves is head of the Centre for Journalism

I found Capa’s work for the first time last week in Pictures on a Page. The book’s awesome - especially if your brain can’t cope with mountains of text anymore!

If anyone wants to go to the exhibition let me know, because I’m fed up of dragging uninterested friends to these things... An evening in London might be a nice change to the dullness of dockside life too.

Correct me if I'm wrong, just a thing I remember:

If I remember correctly, the biggest argument of it being fake was that there was two other pictures, with different locations and with different soldiers, but the same 'situation' (nearly the same position, same 'tragic moment when the bullet hits').

However, agreed, that the D-Day pictures of the film are amazing. They were one of the first ones to hit the paper, right (if they ever did?)? Need to check up on that.

Capa the great