Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Robert Capa Exhibition in Daniel Blau Gallery, Shoreditch, London

Robert Capa with a cigarette in his mouth. Quote: It's not enough to have talent, you also have to be Hungarian
Robert Capa from here.
The above quote is not a quote from someone shy...it might even seem patronising and not only confident, but aggressive. However Robert Capa, who is among the most famous war photographers of the 20th century, was just saying what he really thought as a Hungarian.

He was born in Budapest into a Hungarian Jewish family as Friedmann Endre. There are 2 theories regarding his alias name: Robert Capa, what he had become famous with. One theory is something that I have known for ages; since he was a tall man, his nickname was Cápa, meaning Shark, which he thought might sound better in the western world and would be more recognisable. From the Daniel Blau Gallery's source I now learnt a new fact, that actually he wanted his name resembling of movie director Frank Capra.

As I mentioned before he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest war photographer from that era. He was out there capturing the horror of 5 wars, travelling through the world and producing these photographs about desperation, love in war, death and reality of war. 
Besides the terrifying images he had taken shots of some of his friends. These friends were amongst the biggest names of the 20th century's art scene; like Picasso, Steinbeck and Matisse to name a few.
These 2 pictures are among the most famous ones from his images.
The Falling soldier/Death of the Militiaman (Spanish Civil War)
Robert Capa's image in Life magazine
Robert Capa - The Falling Soldier from here.
Picasso and his muse Francoise Gilot
Picasso hold a parasol over his muse Francoise Gilot on the sandy beach
Robert Capa - Picasso and his muse Françoise Gilot from here.

I knew some of Capa's photos since I was in a very young age. Probably because they were featured in many TV documentaries in the country where I was born, since he was Hungarian.

Then soon after I came to London I bought a book about photography. Photo Icons: The story behind the photo (Taschen). This book also features Capa.

Photo Icons - Taschen Book cover with 4 naked ladies

And last year when I took part in a Coursera course; The Camera Never Lies which was about photography. There was one session covering Capa and his work as well.

I was exposed to Capa's images since an early age from different aspects, however never seen any of them in real other than from a book or TV. So the aforementioned triggers all forced me to conclude this was the chance for me to see some of his photographs!

When I read about the exhibition in Time Out...I knew already I had to visit Daniel Blau Gallery at Hoxton square.

On Saturday I travelled from the other end of town to Hoxton square, where I easily found Daniel Blau Gallery to see the Capa exhibition!

Both gallery consultants were very kind and easy to talk to and very knowledgeable! Thus I not only learnt about the alias name, but for example, each photos have 2 dates underneath; Common sense, one of them is the date when the photo was actually taken and the 2nd date refers to when it was printed.
Each photo also has a timestamp on their back to help dating them accordingly and other interesting fact were also revealed.

Altogether around 40-50 photographs were nicely framed and hung on the walls, plus there were some material about Capa's life and reading suggestions on the table.
Robert Capa's exhibition board
Robert Capa Exhibition in Gallery Daniel Blau
Daniel Blau's entrance to Robert Capa exhibition
Robert Capa Exhibition in Gallery Daniel Blau
Robert Capa exhibition Flyer - Soldier is sitting on a car
Robert Capa Exhibition in Gallery Daniel Blau

Robert Capa exhibition in Daniel Blau Gallery London Inside the gallery people watching the images on the wall
Robert Capa Exhibition in Gallery Daniel Blau
Robert Capa exhibition in Daniel Blau Gallery London - People watching the images on the wall
Robert Capa Exhibition in Gallery Daniel Blau
Italy, Sicily, 1943

Robert Capa - Tired soldiers try to rest, heads down
Robert Capa - Time for a Nap, Italy
Robert Capa - streetview with many people sitting on the side. One car is approaching
Robert Capa - Conquered Town, Cefalu, Sicily

Robert Capa - Woman and Man walking in the field
Robert Capa - Lovers Parting near Nicosia, Sicily
Robert Capa - queue of vehicles on a bridge going to Sicily
Robert Capa - Supply Line into Sicily
Robert Capa - Soldiers checking map before attack
Robert Capa - Conference Before Attack Somewhere  in Sicily
Robert Capa - Ruined street in Sicily
Robert Capa - Conquered City Agrigento, Sicily
Robert Capa - Army Medics in a deserted part of Sicily treating other soldiers
Robert Capa - Medicos in Action, Sicily
Italy, Messina, Naples, 1943

Robert Capa - People marching on the road
Robert Capa - Joyous Marchers, Italian POWs on the Route to Messina
Robert Capa - Nurse puts bandage on soldiers head inside a church
Robert Capa - Surgery Replaces Religion, Maiori, Italy
Robert Capa - US Soldiers in the bushes, mt Vesuvius ion the background
Robert Capa - American Storm Castle at Food of Mt Vesuvius
Robert Capa - US soldiers in the bush, mt Vesuvius in the background
Robert Capa - American Storm Castle at Food of Mt Vesuvius
Robert Capa - Soldier prays in church in front of altar
Robert Capa - Prayer for Life, Near Chiunzi Pass, Italy
Robert Capa - Allied Welcoming Committe Naples
Robert Capa - Photos on Second Naples Blast
Robert Capa - Emptied in One Day of Fighting on the Italian Front
Robert Capa - Fighting Frenchmen on the Italian Front
Robert Capa - Back From The Front, Anzio, Italy
France, 1944

Robert Capa - Picasso Strikes a Pose, Paris
Robert Capa - Advancing on the French Coast on D-Day, Omaha Beach
Robert Capa - American Troops Approaching Cherbourg France
Robert Capa - Does not mind the heat, France
Robert Capa - Giving Thanks in her Way, Chartres, France
 Belgium, 1944

Robert Capa - Men in the snow, Bastogne, Belgium
Robert Capa - 'Abe' Gives the SIgnal, Bastogne, Belgium
 Germany, 1945

Robert Capa - Paratrooper Wounded in Rhine Jump, Germany

The photographs above were only a portion of the exhibited prints. I found these ones very interesting and overwhelming to share with you my Dear Sentimental Reader!

Daniel Blau Gallery has also prepared a suggested reading list if we were more interested in Capa's life, interactions and memoirs.

1. Capa in Color which is a very recent book, published only at the beginning of this year, 2014. It collects many colour photos, which existence had been faded away through the past 60-70 years.

Capa in Color

The title tells you everything...

Robert Capa: The Definitive Collection
3. A Russian Journal - John Steinbeck, which covers the time when they travelled together through Russia.

A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck with the photographs of Robert Capa

Stay Tuned! I will be detailing a Photography Competition tomorrow!!!!!!

Thanks for reading!

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