Last month, we brought you some lessons and words of wisdom from Ansel Adams, celebrated landscape photographer and conservationist. This time, we're bringing you some words of inspiration from Hungarian combat photographer and photojournalist Robert Capa.
As Lomographers, one of the Ten Golden Rules that we follow is “Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible.” Apparently, a master of photography was thinking along the same lines when he said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”
Yes, you guessed it right; this master is none other than the renowned Hungarian combat photographer and photojournalist, Robert Capa (born Endre Friedmann). Covering five different wars—the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II (Europe), the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War—Capa was able to capture the violence of war on film and give it a human element.
Capa was remarkable not only for his action-packed war photos, but also for taking them as close as he could (hence, his first lesson above). He went to war along with soldiers, but instead of guns and bullets for weapons, he had his cameras and several rolls of films. However, according to Magnum (which he co-founded), “‘the world’s greatest war photographer’ hated war.”
Although war photography is something that only selected individuals can take on, Capa left the world some important lessons that can be applied to other forms of photography. Let’s take time to read some of them now!
“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”
“The pictures are there, and you just take them.”
“In a war, you must hate somebody or love somebody; you must have a position or you cannot stand what goes on.”
“It’s not always easy to stand aside and be unable to do anything except record the sufferings around one.”
“The truth is the best picture, the best propaganda.”
Looking for more reads on Robert Capa? Check out Influential Photographs: Falling Soldier, 1936 by Robert Capa and Best of the Best: Robert Capa.