Tonight I was flipping through Netflix and noticed that a film in my streaming queue was due to expire. Decided to check it out now, rather than wait for a later time.
I was really glad that I did–I have had been intrigued by the premise The Mexican Suitcase for a long while. But I felt that my lack of real knowledge about the Spanish Civil War might keep me from “getting it.”
Little did I realize–that is largely the point.
Trust me on that one–and I won’t go into the “why” of that, but it is well worth checking out. As is the other main premise–to illuminate the body of work represented in those thought to be “lost” suitcases. And who created that work.
I’ve always found the work of Robert Capa to be exciting and get the importance of his role in photography of the 20th century. And I know that many people from the world of art and ideas went to this epicenter of upheaval. To participate. To document.
But what I did not realize (please forgive) is that Robert Capa had a colleague in his wife. And she was there. Did brilliant work. And died on the front in the name of getting that work done.
You can read more formally about Gerda Taro here and elsewhere on the Internets, of course. But what captivated me, from this film, were the first-person accounts from people who knew her and experienced her efforts at that time. She seems to be a magnificent, interesting, woman.
And, as stated, not knowing enough about all of this–am devestated, somehow, that we don’t yet know what part of this large body of work was really done by her, and attributed to her more famous husband. There are a lot of articles out there about this, and my head is still swimming as to which photos are hers and hers alone. But in the end that is not the real point. She was there. In a real and truly dangerous way.
One that was groundbreaking to the art and techniques that we now come to take for granted. A real Artist. A real Maverick. In her own damned right…
Lots and lots to think about.
Highly recommend the film. Check it while it’s still on Netflix.
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Postscipt: OF NOTE–
This whole post made me giggle/cringe at an old memory. In sixth grade our art teacher had us go around the room and tell what we would like our future career to be. He was, let me say at the outset, a real jackass. And I remember several examples of that class session where he would mock my peers. Really awful person.
Anyhow–when he got around to me, I boldly stated that I wanted to be a “Combat Photographer.” He snorted. And derisively told me that this was an impossibility. Because I was “A Girl.”
If I had only had the presence of mind to tell that dream-crusher what I really thought, and now know for a dead certainty…”LIKE HELL.”
Amen and out…XXX