Capa’s Missing Negatives Found

It’s a headline that offers rather more than it delivers. We can now be completely sure that there were no more pictures made by Capa during the D-Day landing. There never were any “missing” negatives, no ruined films. The negatives (or at least a large selection of them) are in the archive.

If like me you have followed with interest A D Coleman‘s investigations into the “missing” Capa negatives from D-Day, supposedly ruined in processing in the LIFE London office, you will want to read the latest episode, Alternate History: Robert Capa on D-Day (13) in which Coleman discloses where they “sit today, intact and available for study” (though currently unavailable until sometime next Spring due to relocation.)

It’s a disclosure that confirms Coleman’s previous conclusion that Capa only took 10 or 11 frames on Omaha beach and very much calls for an explanation of the legend that was clearly manufactured around Capa’s D-Day images. All 35mm four rolls survived processing and that the contents of them – apart from those frames from Omaha Beach – were deliberately suppressed. The existing images in the archive apparently match the notes Capa made about the films containing images of the briefing and embarkation from Weymouth already published.

But you should go to Photocritic International to read Coleman’s account, which gives great detail on his findings. If you haven’t already read them, there is a page linking to all the posts in the series, including those by guests, around 18 in all, with another promised with more about the negatives “and their implications, and related matters.”

Coleman’s correspondenceĀ  by email exchange with former LIFE picture editor John G. Morris which he published earlier ended with Morris accusing Coleman of “false accusations” and calling for a public apology. It seems clear now that it’s time for Morris, now 97, to tell the truth about what happened, despite any promises he may have made at the time.

For my own previous comments on Coleman’s Capa series see Capa Under Fire and More on Capa ā€“ Fraud.

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