- Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-8050-9835-8 $22.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-250-08818-5 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-12
Two young adults at the fragile beginning of their careers take refuge in Paris from the growing political repression, economic depression, and anti-Semitism that sweep Europe in the early 1930s. They adopt new names; they fall in love; they set their sights on changing the world through photographs championing the Leftists defending their elected government in the Spanish Civil War. It sounds like a black and white film, with Ingrid Bergman perhaps in the starring role, but it’s the true story of the self-named Capa and Taro. The two freelancers chased rumored battles around Spain, got closer to the action than other photographers (or staged it if they arrived too late), mastered seat-of-the-pants techniques as they went along, and fed imagery to a new form of photo magazine hungry for human-interest stories. In this dual biography of these pioneers, Aronson and Budhos offer a title that can be enjoyed by audiences of varied interests. Romantics will follow the lovers through their mutual support, their professional jealousies, and their ultimate tragic ends; history enthusiasts will find a cogent exploration of the foes and allies fighting their proxy war on Spanish soil; photographers will appreciate the attention to cameras and the role of photography as a tool for public education and/or propaganda. Nearly every spread features one or more of the subjects’ photographs, several of which contrast Capa and Taro’s photographs of the same scene. Besides the customary citations, sources, and index, end matter comprises focus pieces on controversies mentioned in the text, a cast list of historical notables, a timeline, and an excellent [End Page 257] overview of factions in the Civil War. This is a must-have purchase for high school libraries, and it may also be a surprise hit among readers of wartime adventure.