War Atrocities in Capa’s Photos

How to describe war without showing it? Through the eyes of those who live in the first person. 

In the photographs by Capa exhibited at Villa Mussolini in Riccione, we find the expression of people and all the emotions that unite the human beings of yesterday and today in conflicts, from anger to fear, from resignation to despair. They are the same in all wars. Never has this theme in an exhibition appeared so close to the present. 

Robert Capa was the greatest war reporter of the 20th century. He immortalized the most significant wars, from the Second World War through Spain, reaching France, and Germany, and extending to Russia, returning to those areas from which he had escaped. He, too, an exile because of his Jewish origins, returns to those places from which he had forced distanced himself, but this time with a camera.

In reality, his true name was not Robert Capa; but Endre Ernő Friedmann (Budapest, 1913 – Thai Binh, 1954). Capa is just an alias, a character constructed with his beloved Gerda Taro, whom he met in France and who disappeared prematurely, hit by a tank. This encounter marks him forever, and the transformation begins from this moment. He becomes the real Robert Capa, a man who seems to be afraid of nothing. Together with the Americans, he documents the landing in Normandy and Sicily. Capa does not stay in the safe area but is capable of parachuting with all the other soldiers. He lives the war firsthand as if he had never felt the fear of dying, not even for a moment.

His life was shattered in 1954 in Vietnam by stepping on a mine, but we all know that the truth is not this. Just like the game from which everything started, Robert Capa remained in this country to document the entire war and the return home of the American soldiers. Perhaps he even reached his beloved Gerda, who actually managed to escape from Spain, and they finally managed to find each other. This is the happy ending that I want to imagine.

Pros and Cons

What I didn’t like about the exhibition:
  • The tags are almost a literal translation. But where does the photos come from?
  • There are no extra contents of which I am hungry. A few more videos would have been appreciated. How many other stories are behind each of these photographs? How many tales are behind each war?
Why see the Robert Capa exhibition:
  • Timeliness of the war theme
  • Understand how atrocious man can be
  • Do not forget because it is always easy, especially in horror.
  • The exhibition space at the Villa allows for proper enjoyment. It is not too full of photos, nor too short and fast. You can have a pleasant afternoon.

To relive the story of Capa and the entire Europe, the pictures are on display until 1st April 2024.