“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” – Robert Capa
Robert Capa’s “Slightly Out of Focus” has the ragged feel of friendly stranger sharing a story over a bottle of scotch. In this case, the friendly stranger is one of the finest war photographers in history, co-founded the legendary Magnum Photo Agency, and covered most of the American WWII operation in Europe from the frontlines.
Accompanied by over 100 of Capa’s photos, “Slightly Out of Focus” captures the chaotic experience of the war, moving quickly through scenes of good humor and jubilation to terror, tragedy, and heroism.
Capa was the only photographer to reach Omaha Beach with the first wave of troops on D-Day (with an elegant Burberry raincoat draped over his arm, which he soon jettisoned) and he gives a haunting description of his transport ship crossing the channel the night prior to the invasion. The photos he took of soldiers crouching in the surf and charging the beach are among the most iconic images of the war (Steven Spielberg said they inspired the opening scenes of “Saving Private Ryan”).
“Slightly Out of Focus” weaves together Capa’s own narrative as a war correspondent with those of the soldiers whose lives and deaths he records. Names and faces flit in and out as Capa crosses the continent and runs into the likes of Ernie Pyle, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway. Few people have captured the experiences of fighting men with as much compassion and courage.
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Top Photo Credit: haahr