Thursday 6 June 2024

Eleven Pictures


American troops land on Omaha Beach on D-Day. June 6, 1944.  Photograph by Robert Capa

Eighty years ago Allied forces waded ashore on the Normandy coast and started the liberation of Europe. Quite a few photographers accompanied the armada across the Channel, but the D-Day photographs that get talked about most usually belong to a certain Robert Capa.

During my years at college studying photography, the images came up quite a few times. Given that the images are iconic I was often surprised by the critical reaction from my fellow students and even the occasional lecturer. It often appears fashionable to criticise iconic or popular images to some extent, but the critics just missed the point. It usually ended in rather a good debate though.

The eleven Capa photographs from Omaha Beach certainly captured the moment. The images were taken during the second wave landing by the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.  From a personal point of view, I prefer Capa's later images during the Allies' fight through Normandy including the image of prisoners 

In recent years there has been further close examination of the images and the story behind the photographs. One thing is certain. The stories surrounding the making of the photographs just make Capa's images more intriguing.