Robert Capa and The Falling Soldier

Was he asked to fall by Robert Capa?

There is no doubt that Robert Capa is our greatest documentary photographer. No one like Robert Capa has captured the horrors, documented death and destruction in a raw and unsentimental way. When you see his pictures, you know that there is no doubt that war is the worst and most blunt way to seek any kind of solution.

But should you still be in doubt, please  (please) look up his unique, historical and important book, ” Death in the Making”.

The “Falling Soldier” image on the dust jacket has become the cornerstone of a discussion about whether Robert Capa instructed the soldier to fall and pretend he got killed by a bullet.

Robert Capa’s book was published in 1938 as a poignant tribute to the men and women, civilians and soldiers alike, fighting in Spain against Franco’s fascist insurrection. The book included only one year of images from the Republican position, but covered the spectrum of emotions of a civil war, from the initial excitement to the more harrowing realities of modern warfare.

For me, it does not matter at all if Capa asked the soldier to intentionally fall or not. If the “Falling Soldier” image makes us understand how important it is not to start a war, then it is doing important work.

And if you have to go all the way to the edge – also as a photographer – to stop atrocities like a disgusting and blunt war,  it is absolutely fine with me.

Robert Capa was tragically killed when he stepped on a mine on May 25, 1954, in northern Vietnam.

You may still be lucky to get the original “Death in the Making”  if not a new book is for sale on Amazon.
If you would like to know more about Robert Capa you can go to Magnum, which he founded, but that’s another story.


.Inspired by the work of great artists like Capa, we run workshops and tours the world over to explore and document what we discover. Find out more about what Better Moments do by heading to our workshop page.


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