new-york

“Spain: 1936–1939”

International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)

The legend of the photographer hero, of the photojournalist’s own life as the true subject of his exhibition, is presented more explicitly and more engagingly in another ICP show, “Spain: 1936–1939.” This includes the work of three photographers—Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David Seymour (“Chim”)—but it is clearly Capa who dominates both the show and our imaginations. Capa was born André Friedmann in Hungary in 1913. A student in Paris struggling to establish a reputation as a free-lance photographer, he invented a glamorous persona for himself as an already successful American photographer named Robert Capa. (One reason this pretense was necessary, I suspect, was that Paris was already so jammed with successful Hungarian photographers—André Kertész, Brassaï, Lucien Aigner, et al.—that Capa had to differentiate himself from the crowd.)

The pose succeeded, helped by the quality of the pictures.

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