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The Capa Cache
January 27, 2008 7:14 PM   Subscribe

The Mexican Suitcase

The rediscovery of "The Mexican Suitcase," and what untold mysteries it may reveal! Once considered lost forever, a huge cache of pristine negatives taken by Robert Capa has been rediscovered in Mexico City. The film could reveal the truth behind his most famous image, Fallen Soldier, which may have been staged. Previously 1
Similarly...
posted by wowbobwow (26 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Forgot to include the obligatory background link. meine kleine first post, please to be being kindt!
posted by wowbobwow at 7:18 PM on January 27, 2008


WTF - neither of you guys post your source?
posted by caddis at 7:25 PM on January 27, 2008


Oh, right. Via New York Times.
posted by wowbobwow at 7:29 PM on January 27, 2008


Well, it says "New York Times" in the upper left hand corner of the page...it doesn't take a genius to figure out the source.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:33 PM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just find it funny that most of us probably read that story early this morning with our morning paper and then late this evening two folks post it within minutes of each other. There is nothing more to my comment than that, really. It's a good story and I think it is cool these negatives were found.
posted by caddis at 7:41 PM on January 27, 2008


Not to be too metatalk here, but I would petition Matt to just "merge" our posts, or something... but if one must be cut, it can be this one. I was surprised no one had posted about it, so there you have it. For my next post, has anyone heard about this whole "lolcats" meme? Crazy!
posted by wowbobwow at 7:48 PM on January 27, 2008


WTF - neither of you guys post your source?

Lemme see. I hover over the primary link in the FPP and see that it is the New York Times. I then click on the link and it takes me to a New York Times article. Befuddled, I wonder: what the fuck is the source of this story?
posted by ericb at 8:16 PM on January 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


I just find it funny that most of us probably read that story early this morning with our morning paper...

I'm not one of your "most." This -- and the double -- was my first exposure (hehe) to the story.
posted by ericb at 8:18 PM on January 27, 2008


ericb, didn't you realise that most of the world lives in New York?
posted by twirlypen at 8:40 PM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah -- they'd like to think that.

As a Bostonian, all I can say is: Yankees Suck!

Oh, and by-the-by, the New York Giants also suck! Go, New England Patriots!
posted by ericb at 8:54 PM on January 27, 2008


Capa is a hero of mine. I wish someone could explain to me why I can't get this excellent American Masters documentary of him on dvd. Pretty much the entire series is available except that one.
posted by vronsky at 8:59 PM on January 27, 2008


The Falling Soldier picture was staged.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:46 PM on January 27, 2008


(Henry C. Mabuse, RTFA.)
posted by dhartung at 10:17 PM on January 27, 2008


btw, the Chim photograph mentioned at the end is here.
posted by dhartung at 10:23 PM on January 27, 2008


(Henry C. Mabuse, RTFA.)

God I hope RTFA stands for "read the fucking article." For serious, before you start flapping your yaps, click on all the links. Also, to make such a definitive statement as "The Falling Soldier picture was staged" is asinine because you weren't there.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:46 PM on January 27, 2008


It can be shown by logic. I give my reasons here.

Thanks for your hostility.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 11:10 PM on January 27, 2008


Still, speculation is not proof.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:22 PM on January 27, 2008


If you changed your statement to "The Falling Soldier picture was probably staged," then I could accept that.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:23 PM on January 27, 2008


Movie tip for Capa admirers: Overlord, a feature film set during WWII that is partly comprised of archival footage from the Imperial War Museum in London. A few of Capa's photos were direct inspiration for shots in the film.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:48 AM on January 28, 2008



ericb, didn't you realise that most of the world lives in New York?


they don't?

posted by caddis at 5:13 AM on January 28, 2008


Thanks for your hostility.

If you didn't consistently comment like a classic troll, you might not encounter such hostility. But then I suspect you enjoy it.
posted by languagehat at 6:29 AM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I click the link and get an ad for Orbitz. Featuring a stylized SUITCASE as the illustration.

Nice coincidence.
posted by grubi at 7:23 AM on January 28, 2008


The Fallen Soldier controversy is really interesting, or at least I think so. Personally I'm inclined to believe that it was staged.

In the linked article, the "key" piece of evidence showing that the photo is real, has to do with the soldier's hand being relaxed rather than splayed. Everything else in the whole argument seems to flow from that.

At the very least I'd say some more research is in order. It looks like the guy was falling onto soft ground, on an uphill slope (less distance to fall). It seems entirely plausible that the camera got him before his hand had opened, and that the normal 'surprise' reflex was diminished because he knew where he was going to hit the ground. Throwing your hand back when falling, while frequent, isn't unstoppable -- if you practice falls on a mat, you can train yourself not to do it, and to break your fall differently.

That the soldier either was a particularly good actor, and knew how to play dead very convincingly, or that the camera captured him before his hand went back, or that he was planning to break his fall without landing on his wrist -- any one of these options seems more likely than him actually being shot, instantly and fatally, on the exact same location where another guy was shot just minutes after (and also photographed).

I don't think that really diminishes the image; even if it's staged, it's still a powerful piece of art.

Anyway, while in general I agree with MaryDellamorte, that we shouldn't act too certain of anything that occured out of our direct and immediate perception, I don't think Mabuse was being any more certain than the writer of the PBS article, who concludes:
There can be no further doubt that The Falling Soldier is a photograph of Federico Borrell García at the moment of his death during the battle at Cerro Muriano on September 5, 1936. May the slanderous controversy that has plagued Robert Capa’s reputation for more than twenty-five years now, at last, come to an end with a verdict decisively in favor of Capa’s integrity. It is time to let both Capa and Borrell rest in peace, and to acclaim The Falling Soldier once again as an unquestioned masterpiece of photojournalism and as perhaps the greatest war photograph ever made.
Which seems a bit rich, IMO. (The assertions in the article are neither beyond doubt nor decisive, the key evidence is weak, and it's disingenuous at best to imply that further disagreement is "slanderous.")

Here's hoping that the negatives provide some real 'evidence.' (Like a dozen or so versions of the guy taking the fall, perhaps...)
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:48 AM on January 28, 2008


"If you didn't consistently comment like a classic troll..."

Oh, languagehat, you are such a grumpy old fart. Even I'm not as grouchy as you are at my worst! I may wind people up a bit, but 'classic troll' I aint. Maybe you're not experienced with trolls, or somethin'. I just like to tilt at shibboleths.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:33 AM on January 28, 2008


I didn't say you were a classic troll, I said you commented like one, which you do. See, in your mind you're "tilting at shibboleths," but to everyone else you sound like a belligerent jerk. And since you keep doing it, I have to assume you enjoy the results. I may be grumpy, but when I see I've inadvertently offended people, I explain myself and/or apologize. That's how one keeps from being a jerk.
posted by languagehat at 11:16 AM on January 28, 2008


Frank Hurley did something similar [previously on metafilter].
posted by tellurian at 8:40 PM on January 28, 2008


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