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Gerda Taro – with Robert Capa as Photojournalist in the Spanish Civil War
Paris in the summer of 1937. A giant funeral procession wends its way from the city center eastward toward the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, accompanied by the sounds of Chopin’s funeral march. The photojournalist Gerda Taro had been killed in the Spanish Civil War a few days earlier. Thousands come to pay their last respects to the émigrée from Hitler’s Germany. The poet Louis Aragon speaks at the graveside, young girls hold up a large portrait of the deceased. Why did the French Communist Party honor a foreigner – one who was not even a member of the Party – with a “first-class” burial? Ernest Hemingway is said to have found Gerda Taro while searching for “better Germans”, the term he used to describe Germans fighting on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. Taro is today considered one of the path-breaking pioneers of photography. She captured some of the most dramatic and widely published images of the Spanish Civil War and was the first female photographer to shoot images in the midst of battle. Her willingness to work close to the fighting set new standards for war photography and ultimately cost her her life. Taro stands alongside early twentieth century war photographers like Robert Capa and David “Chim” Seymour. Her death, the first fatality during war coverage, garnered worldwide attention. She had broken new ground, as a woman and as a photographer. Despite this, Gerda Taro has largely fallen into oblivion, especially in comparison to her colleague and partner Robert Capa. Whether gender and religion played a role in this would require a separate investigation. In any case, in her study of women resisting fascism, Ingrid Strobl reaches the conclusion that a combination such as woman-Communist-Jew represented a threefold stigma, and would almost guarantee Taro’s exclusion from official history, both in the East and the West. It has been almost twenty years since the first biography of Gerda Taro, written by Irme Schaber, led to Taro’s rediscovery as a photographer. Since that time, the discovery of the “Mexican Suitcase”, containing more than 800 of her photos, has made new research on Taro possible. In this new, fully revised biography, Irme Schaber presents groundbreaking insights regarding cameras, copyrights and the circumstances surrounding Taro’s death.
Author: Schaber, Irme Year: 2019 ISBN: 9783869050133 Pages: 156 Language: English Publisher: Edition Axel Menges Publisher's city: Publication date: