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New book recognizes 2 pioneers of war photography

WASHINGTON — It’s simple to access news and photographs from around the world today. But in the 1930s, the photographs by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro helped communicate impressive sights from the Spanish Civil War and lay the groundwork for future war reporting.

Considered some of the first to depict modern warfare, Capa and Taro brought a human face to war.  It’s the subject of a new book, “Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism” by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos.

“What they did in going out to be, as the title of the book says, the ‘eyes of the world’ to try to capture for everyone these moments of tragedy, of passion, of pain, of triumph and to share them and to be in this way this visual reporter is a heroic profession,” Aronson said.

The couple used 33 mm cameras — a piece of technology that had a profound impact on the war and journalism, Budhos said.

“These have fast shutter speeds. They were light. They were palm-sized,” Aronson said, adding that the young couple was quick to adapt to the new tool and make a living from it.

Budhos and Aronson said they were inspired to write about the couple that loved and died on the front line because they were true equals.

“What we learned was that Robert Capa and Gerda Taro were true collaborators — artistic equals. They were equals as lovers, as partners, as thinkers — it really appealed to me to have us together write about another couple that functioned together in the arts,” Aronson said.

WTOP’s Dimitri Sotis contributed to this report.


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