D-Day Anniversary Approaches

A D Coleman has broken his unusual 3 month on-line silence to return to the long campaign by him and his colleagues to correct the myths about Robert Capa‘s D-Day pictures (and the related issue of the Falling Soldier), realising that:

“with the 75th anniversary of D-Day coming up on June 6, 2019, I’ve just realized that I’m likely to feel compelled to correct an endless stream of repetitions of the Capa D-Day myth, which has so permeated our culture that this investigation has barely begun to dislodge it.”

This particular post, Alternate History: Robert Capa on D-Day (39), examines a recent article in a Le Monde supplement by Cynthia Young, the curator of the Robert Capa and Cornell Capa Archive at the International Center of Photography in New York, and as such a leading figure in studies of Capa.  Her ‘Les deux icônes de Capa’, published in October 2018 completely ignores all recent evidence which has established beyond any reasonable doubt the true circumstances under which Capa’s  1937 Spanish Civil War ‘Falling Soldier’ and  his 1944 D-Day ‘The Face in the Surf’ were made.

Coleman berates Young for “not just ignoring contrary evidence and doubling down on the myth but actually adding spurious details to it“, pointing out that her activity is “fatal to credible scholarship“, and is extremely damaging to the reputation of one of photography’s major institutions, the ICP.

The post also looks again at John Loengard‘s contibution to the myth in his 1994 book Celebrating the Negative which includes Loengard’s photograph of the hands of Cornell Capa and the 8 surviving negatives above a light-box, along with his commentary which, as Coleman comments, included the myth of the melting negatives that any professional photographer should have dismissed out of hand.  Certainly many of us had.

The post ends with a rather more amusing D-Day story with a picture of the Royal Mail £1.25 stamp from a series “showcasing the ‘Best of British’ “. The picture of allied troops knee-deep in water as they waded ashore from a landing craft  with its caption, ‘D-Day: Allied soldiers and medics wade ashore’ was outed within minutes of its posting on Twitter as showing a US landing on a beach in Dutch New Guinea (now in Indonesia), and the design had to be abandoned.

Alternate History: Robert Capa on D-Day (39)


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