Monday, February 2, 2015

Historic photographs of two wars

Two articles caught my eye recently.  As a military history buff, and an enthusiastic amateur photographer in my younger days, these blended those interests nicely.

First, the BBC reports that a Spanish museum has put on display a number of rediscovered photographs from that country's Civil War by Robert Capa and Agustí Centelles.  Here are a few of the images.

Robert Capa: Aragon front, 1936
(Here he uses a very similar technique to his
famous photograph of D-Day, 1944, shown below)

Robert Capa: D-Day, 1944

Agustí Centelles: Spanish militiaman

Agustí Centelles: Republican assault guards on La Calle Diputacion, Barcelona, 1939

There are more images at the link, plus a link to the museum.

Next comes the news that 31 undeveloped rolls of film from the Second World War have been discovered and processed.  PetaPixel reports:

Photographer Levi Bettweiser is the man behind the Rescued Film Project, an effort to find and rescue old and undeveloped rolls of film from the far corners of the world.

He recently came across one of his biggest finds so far: 31 undeveloped rolls of film shot by a single soldier during World War II.

Bettweiser tells us he found the film rolls in late 2014 at an auction in Ohio. About half the rolls were labeled with various location names (i.e. Boston Harbor, Lucky Strike Beach, LaHavre Harbor). “I know nothing about who shot the film or who it belonged to,” he says.

Bettweiser says he gets nervous when developing the first roll in any batch of film, since the results with that one often indicate how fruitful the rest of the batch will be.

Luckily, in the case of these 31 WWII rolls from over 70 years ago, wonderful images emerged from the developing tank.

There's more at the link.  Rather than reproduce individual images, here's a short video about the processing and recovery of the photographs.

Until the 19th century history was mostly about words and buildings, with a few works of art thrown in for good measure.  The advent of photography has made our grasp of history much more real, much more immediate.  From that perspective, these rediscovered images are very important cultural artifacts.



gunfreezone said...

If you are Spanish or descendant of those who lived thru the Civil War, this is the Robert Capa phto that was embedded in our brains.

Robert Capa's iconic photograph of the Republican militiaman, Federico Borrell Garcia, at the moment of death. (The Falling Soldier) Cerro Muriano, Cordoba front, Spain. September 5th, 1936

A little under three years of war and one million deaths.

Old NFO said...

OUtstanding, and these show a much more 'human' element...

Borepatch said...

Peter, that video is astonishing

Peter said...

@gunfreezone: Yes, that's one of his most famous pictures - and most controversial, given suggestions that it was faked. I think the definitive proof of its authenticity was given in this article:

Recommended reading.