21 Jul Shots artist: Robert Capa
“I’m not interested in making beautiful photos, but are eager to see a story and to tell it through an image.” Endre Ernő Friedmann, aka Robert Capa (1913-1954)
Endre Ernő Friedmann, born 22 October 1913 on the Pest side of Budapest, refined and sophisticated, seat of cultural life, artistic and commercial middle class, Jewish and liberal, all aimed towards the appearance, prosperous and intellectual, which speaks, preferably, German rather than Hungarian.
The mother Julia, holder of a couture fashion, strong-willed woman and working; father Dezso, first Clipper tailoring, independent spirit, player and fraudulent, but fascinating as storyteller that enchant the young Endre.
As a storyteller, his son will surpass, but, the father: a curious anecdote and is appealing, indeed, one linked to the genesis of the name Robert Capa, a story that says a lot about the personality independent and restless photographer, always ready to resort to subtle and cunning tricks.
In 1933 Endre is located in Paris: alone and penniless, in a city where half of migrants trying to survive by the photographer. Discouraged and depressed in 1934, to the Café La Coupole, meets a young German refugee, Gerda Pohorylles, what was then the greatest love of his life.
Gerda soon became the lover of André (has now taken the French equivalent of his name) and his mentor; she urges him to abandon gypsy attitudes too seriously and devote himself to his work as a photographer. Despite repeated attempts, but, Andrè fails to sell his photos and his ideas of reportage to French magazines. The editors of the time, indeed, tended to look unprofessional, as photographer, a young Hungarian refugee who was not expressed properly in French.
Gerda, smart and ambitious, and Andrè, wandering and restless, devised a strategy that was an immediate success: invented the figure of the famous and prestigious American photographer Robert Capa. Under this new “label” Andre could well sell his photos through his agent, Gerda same, publishers flattered to pay them even three times their market price. “Nothing success as the illusion of success” – as Andre had always supported.
About the origin of the name Capa, Andre himself claimed to have derived from that ofFrank Capra, Hollywood director, as well as Robert derived from cinema: was the same as the American actor Robert Taylor and, like Capa, was just as easy to pronounce, to remember and to write.
Soon the mysterious Capa became really famous and, when the subterfuge was discovered, Andre took on the new name to sign his pictures, proving more than up to the imaginary identity that helped him gain a reputation.