Robert Capa, one of the founding members of Magnum Photos, regularly used color film from the 1940s until his death in 1954. Some of these photographs were published in magazines of the day, but the majority have never been printed, seen, or even studied. Over the years, this aspect of Capa’s career had virtually been forgotten. With over 100 contemporary color prints by the famous photojournalist, Capa in Color presents this work an integral part of his post-war career and fundamental in remaining relevant.
While he did use color for some early World War II stories, Capa’s use of color film exploded in his postwar stories. These photographs brought the lives of ordinary and exotic people from around the world to American and European readers alike, and were markedly different from the war reportage that had dominated Capa’s early career. In the late 1940’s, Capa traveled to the USSR, Budapest, and Israel to cover postwar life. Capa’s technical ability coupled with his engagement with human emotion in his prewar black-and-white stories enabled him to move easily between black and white and color film.
Capa’s photographs also provided readers a glimpse into more glamorous lifestyles that depended on the allure and seduction of color photography. In 1950, he covered fashionable ski resorts in the Swiss, Austrian, and French Alps, and the stylish French resorts of Biarritz and Deauville for the burgeoning travel market capitalized on by Holiday magazine. He even tried fashion photography by the banks of the Seine and on the Place Vendôme. Through his friendships with many actors, Capa photographed Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles, and John Huston, among others, in intimate moments on European film sets.
Capa in Color will explore how he started to see anew with color film and how his work adapted to a new postwar sensibility. The new medium required him to readjust to color compositions, but also to a postwar audience, interested in being entertained and transported to new places.
Capa in Color is drawn entirely from the Robert Capa Archive in the permanent collection at ICP / International Center of Photography. The Archive contains roughly 4,200 color transparencies – 35mm Kodachrome, 21⁄4 Ektachrome, and some larger Kodachrome sheet film. It also includes thousands of vintage black-and-white prints, negatives, tearsheets, and papers.
Capa in Color contains over 150 contemporary framed color photographs, magazine tearsheets, and other related ephemera, and is on view by appointment at the ICP and available for tour.
Past Tour Venues include:
Circulo de Bellas Artes | Madrid, Spain
Oct 20, 2016–Jan 15, 2017
Le Tripostal | Lille, France
June 4–July 31, 2016
Jeu de Paume–Chateau Tours | Tours, France
November 20, 2015–May 30, 2016
Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center | Budapest, Hungry
June 8—October 31, 2015
ICP / International Center of Photography
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