Robert Capa was very much the Hemingway of photography. A playboy, an adventurer, a genius, he took his photography where it mattered. Not for him the safety of the catwalk or lurking around the homes of celebrities. Capa's photography was the photography of relevance, of important issues and real people - he would eventually die, blown up by a mine in Vietnam while trying to get close to the action.
These images of Spain, of struggle, of determination, of common people contesting with history, stand in striking contrast to the images we are routinely pedalled today. In the Gulf War, journalists and photographers were 'embedded' with coalition forces, their images and access to action constrained by the whims of the military. A number of journalists and photographers would die, trying to escape this censorship, trying to get to the real story. Their deaths, like Capa's, are a reminder that photojournalism is a dangerous business, but a vital one in any democracy.
Capa stands as a reminder that it is possible to capture vital images, to electrify the world with a story of history unfolding. He was not beyond elaborating a bit on the truth - his famous shot entitled 'Death of a Republican', was certainly staged - but there is an honesty and immediacy in Capa's pictures which should be inspiration to anyone who has ever picked up a camera. He memorably said, "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough".
In "The Heart of Spain" we have Capa getting close to the action, capturing the emotion and the horror and the humanity of the Spanish Civil War. A stunning collection and an absolute must-have tome for anyone who considers themselves a photographer or a journalist! Images to treasure, images to inspire.