It's the iconic photo that captures the essence of the Spanish Civil War: a soldier falling to his death, arms splayed out behind him, gun still in hand, after being shot on a grassy hill. Read the fascinating detective story in the Daily Mail here and then read George Will's take on the whole issue in the WaPo here; Will writes:
But new evidence now claims to prove once and for all that the camera does lie - and Robert Capa's famous Falling Soldier was faked.
Capa was a man of the left, and "Falling Soldier" helped to alarm the world about fascism rampant. But noble purposes do not validate misrepresentations. Richard Whelan, Capa's biographer, calls it "trivializing" to insist on knowing whether this photo actually shows a soldier mortally wounded. Whelan says that "the picture's greatness actually lies in its symbolic implications, not in its literal accuracy."I'm still debating what side to take on the whole issue... it does seem to deflate the whole image a bit... any thoughts on the subject? Leave me some comments.
Rubbish. The picture's greatness evaporates if its veracity is fictitious. To argue otherwise is to endorse high-minded duplicity -- and to trivialize Capa, who saw a surfeit of 20th-century war and neither flinched from its horrors nor retreated into an "I am a camera" detachment. As a warning about well-meaning falsifications of history, "Falling Soldier" matters because Capa probably fabricated reality to serve what he called "concerned photography."
And speaking of comments, like almost everything in the nation these days, this photographic issue has become a barbarous debate between the vast right wing conspiracy and the equally vast kooky left wing nuttery. Read the WaPo's comments to Will's point of view here and have fun with the kooks from the extreme right and the nuts from the extreme left.