Getting tired of seeing those stings on Sky for the ten part series The Pacific and I’m not mad on downloading it so I can catch the best bits before everyone else does especially those who do only terrestial. I was transfixed by Private Ryan and it’s opening 20 minutes on the beaches of Wexford and Band of Brothers was one of my favourite series with memories of reading about Capas ‘Few’ Leicas full and ready on assignment so he could interchange when the roll ran out, I hope this is true and I hope that was the way it was on the D-Day landings / I can only begin to imagine (although I think I might have been infantry in a previous life) what it felt like stepping out of landing craft waist high in bullet ridden French sea water, thinking of only photographs, exposure and composition nevermind the saftey of his life and the attempt to dodge German onslaught.
The well known story of the burnt negatives at the Time Life offices is worn out but what’s missing in the history is probably the blind fear in his eyes and the lack of documentation of what he might have said to himself when they screamed at him to get out of the boat.
The blurred watery sound, vision limited with death sounding all over the beaches, running through heavy water and shooting left, right facing away from the bullets, away from the source of his possible end, did he whisper to himself ‘hell’ or maybe shed a tear in the splashes, no he didn’t he actually sai – “Es una cosa muy seria” (“This is a very serious business”). did that trick in the movies happen where the sound tones out and all that’s audible is the click of those multiple Leicas [ but is he using a Rolliflex in that shot linked? ], the frame after frame and whilst he dropped 3-4 rolls (so he must have changed rolls on the beach) he may have just caught the sound of his own breath, looking up at the grey clouds, the blood and water everywhere.
We other photographers especially those who do this hard dangerous work are suitably in awe of just one shot of 11 that made it off the beach with Capa himself intact, remarkably it sums up the rush and seconds passed to capture everything that means so much in photography, the still unmoved moment, the beauty and the frightening. He must have had nerves of steel the kind holding up the Brooklyn bridge and unfearlessly when done just called it a day and got back on the boat for the next job, theatre of battle in Italy.
Of Course Photos are by Capa now owned by the legendary Magnum he set up.