Art Review: Robert Capa’s “This is War!”


Published: October 11, 2007

Honoring a man who died with his camera in his hands, the International Center of Photography (ICP) presents “This Is War!” a collection of Robert Capa’s war photography highlighting the photojournalist’s work in the Spanish Civil War, the Sino-Japanese War and World War II.  Capa’s photos capture the brutality of 20th century warfare in its entirety, achieving a cinematic narrative of a turbulent era of history.  Through Capa’s lens, we see glimpses of battle-weary soldiers running for cover in the midst of a firefight, as well as the displaced civilians making their way through devastated landscapes with all their possessions in tow.

Alongside the large collection of prints, the exhibit also features an array of personal documents, such as Capa’s field notebooks, letters and press identification cards.  Also included are some original copies of periodicals through which Capa’s photos reached the world at large.

“This Is War!” demonstrates the power of Capa’s work in illustrating history’s most violent conflicts.  One feels the excitement and terror of his subjects, seeing the images not only as reportage but as sympathetic depictions of humanity in trying times.  Armed only with his Leica and rolls of high-speed film, Capa fearlessly put himself in the line of fire to bring the ferocious reality of death to the home front.

“This Is War!” is on display now through Jan. 6, 2008 at the Internaional Center of Photography, 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd St.  Admission: $12, $8 for Students with ID.