Robert Capa / The Gambler – the many sides of a genius
There are multiple interpretations for Robert Capa”s famous phrase: “If your pictures aren”t good enough, you weren’t close enough”. It would be quite trivial to declare that the proverbial closeness refers to physical distance, but Robert Capa – born as Endre Friedmann – was never a trivial guy. This quote could refer to the mental and physical distance between the photographer and his subjects, too. Capa was very good at cutting this distance as short as possible, because he has always been a gambler willing to take risks throughout his adventurous life. The exhibition at Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum (Hungarian National Museum) puts the spotlight on four aspects of his personality.
The second room proves that Capa was not joking when he was talking about getting as close as possible. The fearless photographer has images about both London and Leipzig after the Blitzkrieg, and he was also present on the shores of Normandy on D-day. Most of the pictures taken during the invasion were developed too quickly and thus were destroyed by an overexcited assistant, Larry Burrows, who later became a war photographer himself. The few remaining ones became blurred; despite the bad quality LIFE Magazine published ten of these photos with the title slightly out of focus. Capa was so upset with the editors’ commentary that he gave the same title to his memoir.
As for the next room indicated with diamonds, it gives home to moments from World War II, pictures of famous politicians, pre-ordered assignments (like the images of Tour de France 1939), and the best photos from the trip around the Soviet Union he took with John Steinbeck in the 1950s.
The last room discusses the importance, significance and effects of Capa’s work, while his contemporaries also appear on the scene. His most famous lover, Ingrid Bergman, his drinking buddy and admirer, Ernest Hemingway, the last photo from his final and fatal assignment in Indochina, his iconic and controversial masterpiece, The Falling Soldier, his intimate and hopeless series entitled Closer, and the symbolic Talking Ruins. The plethora of documentaries, the interactive gadgets, and the guestbook-typewriter further boost the unmatchable Capa-experience, and guarantee that the picture in your mind about Capa won’t be slightly out of focus.
Robert Capa / The Gambler
18 September 2013 – 12 January 2014
Address: 1088 Budapest, Múzeum körút 14-16.
Tickets: 2600 HUF, discount (e.g. student): 1300 HUF