Capa Treasure Trove

The discovery of Robert Capa‘s negatives from the 1930s, long thought to have been lost after he left them in Paris when he fled from the Nazis in 1939 is a remarkable piece of news, although rumours about their survival first began to spread around 1995.

Three flimsy cardboard cases containing around 50 tightly rolled nitrate base 35mm films of various lengths, in total around 3500 negatives, are now being investigated and catalogued by experts from the George Eastman House working for the ICP. Most of the strips are indexed in the lid of the box – and you can read many of these in the interactive graphic from the New York Times feature. Much of the story is told in the slide show there, and you can read more details in the article, The Capa Cache.

The negatives first came to light after a Mexico City film-maker inherited them from his aunt, whose father had been a general and Mexican diplomat stationed in Marseilles in the late 1930s, where he had helped Republican refugees to go to Mexico.

Capa had left his negatives with his darkroom manager, Cziki (Imre Weisz), another Hungarian, who took them to Marseilles, possibly hoping to flee to Mexico. But he was arrested and interned in Algiers (though he did later get to Mexico City, where he died in recent years.)

It took over ten years – and the efforts of curator Trisha Ziff – to persuade the film-maker and his family to make the collection public, and that the most suitable home for the negatives was the ICP, founded by Capa’s brother, Cornell Capa.

Some of his most famous images have already been located among the films, and more are likely to be found. Capa worked with his partner, Gerda Taro, until her death in the war, and the collection is likely to raise more issues about which of the images were her work, as well as possibly settling any remaining doubts about one of the most famous and controversial images in the history of the medium, Capa’s (or Taro’s?) “The Falling Soldier.

2 Responses to “Capa Treasure Trove”

  1. rashbre says:

    Simply saying ‘Hi’ from the blogger meetup. We met early evening whilst buying beers. Interesting blog (and other london diary!) I shall take a look around!

    Best rashbre

  2. Hi, good to hear from you.

    I hadn’t noticed the Skype movie before I read your page, but it is so dark. Like we met during a power cut!

    Hope to see you again next time,


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