We’re All Robert Capa Now
Or are we?
In case you don’t remember Robert Capa, he was the first great war photographer of the twentieth century, who made a name for himself by getting in the middle of the action. He was born Endre Friedmann, but changed his name to Capa in homage to Frank Capra, because he liked Frank Capra’s movies. Capa first made his mark covering the Spanish Civil War, and from then on there was not a danger zone he neglected. He died in Vietnam in 1954 when he stepped on a landmine.
I am reminded of Robert Capa as I look at the stunning videos being posted from Japan, especially those taken during the tsunami.
What don’t you see in these videos? The person shooting them, somehow balancing on a rooftop while the water sweeps away the rest of the house. And still the videographer keeps shooting.
We feel the power of the tsunami because of the hundreds of brave or reckless civilian Robert Capas of Japan. Without these videos, would we really understand what took place? Because today, if there is no video, the event did not happen.
But recklessness does not stop at the water’s edge. In the past few days I’ve started to see a whole sub-genre of mash-up tsunami videos, set to distressingly pop music. or edited in the visual language of a movie trailer.
I guess if you can’t do a mash-up, the event didn’t happen either.
The Capa image above, of a fallen soldier in the Spanish Civil War, has attracted controversy because some historians contend it was staged. I’m not an expert, and Cape’s a hero of mine, so I’ll believe he actually caught the instant the bullet struck. But one thing’s certain – Capa never trivialized his subjects. That can’t be said of the tsunami mash-up editors flooding YouTube now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Leipzig is the founder and CEO of MediaU, online career acceleration. MediaU opens the doors of access for content creation, filmmaking and television. Adam, Cultural Daily’s founder and publisher, has worked with more than 10,000 creatives in film, theatre, television, music, dance, poetry, literature, performance, photography, and design. He has been a producer, distributor or supervising executive on more than 30 films that have disrupted expectations, including A Plastic Ocean, March of the Penguins, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Dead Poets Society, Titus and A Plastic Ocean. His movies have won or been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, 11 BAFTA Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 2 Directors Guild Awards, 4 Sundance Awards and 4 Independent Spirit Awards. Adam teaches at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. Adam began his career in theatre; he was the first professional dramaturg in the United States outside of New York City, and he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Theatre Center, where he produced more than 300 plays, music, dance, and other events. Adam is CEO of Entertainment Media Partners, a company that navigates creative entrepreneurs through the Hollywood system and beyond, and a keynote speaker. Adam is the former president of National Geographic Films and senior Walt Disney Studios executive. He has also served in senior capacities at CreativeFuture, a non-profit organization that advocates for the creative community. Adam is is the author of ‘Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers ’ and co-author of the all-in-one resource for college students and emerging filmmakers 'Filmmaking in Action: Your Guide to the Skills and Craft' (Macmillan). (Photo by Jordan Ancel)