By Cornell Capa, Richard Whelan
Publisher: Bulfinch Pr
Publication date: 1992
Print length: 216 pages
Cornell Capa, world-famous for his photojournalism as well as for his founding of New York's International Center of Photography, has had a long and productive working life. His career has spanned several key decades of the twentieth century, and his work has taken him around the globe to cover political events and chronic social problems, to photograph the famous and the unsung.
Born in Budapest in 1918, Capa moved to New York in 1937, took a job with the Pix photo agency, and soon began working in the darkroom at Life magazine. By 1946, he was a staff photographer for Life, and during the following eight years he worked on hundreds of assignments for the magazine. In 1954 - after the death of his brother Robert Capa while covering the war in French Indochina - Cornell Capa resigned from the Life staff and joined Magnum, the international cooperative photo agency that Robert had helped to found. Since 1974, Cornell Capa has been the director of ICP, one of the world's most important centers for photojournalism and the art of photography.
As Capa points out in his preface to the book, the word "photography" was coined from Greek words that mean writing with light - a good description of Cornell Capa's brand of descriptive image-making. Capa's photographs are not just for aesthetic consideration; they teach, challenge, entertain, support causes. In his tenure as a staff photographer at Life magazine, Cornell Capa managed to fuse his personal and professional goals so that, on deadline and in the service of journalism, he was able to make some of his most poignant and shattering images.
Although he enthusiastically adopted the passionate photojournalistic style of his older brother, who is best known for his coverage of the Spanish civil war and World War II, his goal was distinct from the beginning: to be primarily a photographer of peace. As a self-described concerned photographer, Cornell Capa has always been led by his instincts to photograph people - all kinds of people - with a humanitarian commitment. This book reflects that commitment in unforgettable pictures of missionaries in Central and South America; religious and tribal rituals; the presidential campaigns of Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy; political upheavals, refugees, and wars; the historic and the marginal. Here, too, are moments of whimsy and joy, from Harlem to London to Peru, and memorable images of celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Alec Guinness, Grandma Moses, Billy Graham, and Boris Pasternak.
Despite the wide recognition of Cornell Capa's achievements, and the fact that he has spent his lifetime furthering the art of photography, this book is the first retrospective collection of his work to be published in the United States. All these photographs transmit crucial aspects of the political, social, cultural, and religious history of our times.