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The Capa Brothers: Conscious Photographers with a Rightful Legacy

Posted on 11 March 2016

He was on the beaches of Normandy, he breathed inside the moments and lives of French people, and he captured intimate photographs of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. And his life was cut short by a land mine in 1954 in Indochina.

Robert Capa’s legacy is immense. While I think the distant quotations of our lost artists often fall short of any gravitas, the still circulating quotations of Robert Capa sting with an unapologetic brashness, making modern photographers wonder if we’ve lost something in our approach to images: “If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough.”

He was always close, always troubled by the troubles he captured, and was always supporting his fellow photographers. In 1947, he founded Magnum Photos, a collective and resource that is a constant place of inspiration for me personally. He died seven years later, and his brother Cornell Capa took the helm at Magnum.

Cornell Capa, a name less often on our lips, is legendary in his own right. He has a brilliant, emotional, and stunning collection of photos to his credit, and he, just like his brother, did fantastic work on behalf of photography professionals. He founded the International Fund for Concerned Photography in 1966 and the International Center of Photography in 1974.

The Capa Brothers were conscious storytellers, and their images make us think, feel, and imagine. Below is a selection of their images. The first five are by Robert, and the second five by Cornell. You can see more of their important photos on Magnum.

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