Monday, February 19, 2018

Eyes of the World by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos- ADVISABLE

Aronson, Marc and Marina Budhos Eyes of the World : Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and the invention of Modern Photojournalism, 294 pgs. NON-FICTION. Henry Holt (Macmillan), 2017. $23. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.

Hungarian Andre Friedmann and German Gerta Pohorylle met in Paris in the mid-1930’s. They changed their names to Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, to help hide their cultural background, and to get a contract with a magazine. They headed to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War as photojournalists.  On their way to the front, they photographed the people of Spain, many of them peasants still living in what looks like the middle ages, using ancient tools to farm the way their ancestors did.  Interspersed among the chapters about Capa and Taro are “interludes” which give the reader background on the wars, or the style of the photo magazines (like Life). Their photo styles are different, yet complementary.  Covering the war with literary giants like George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway, in Spain and in France, Always courageous, Capa said “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”  An interesting look into the beginnings of photojournalism and the Spanish Civil War - and how it relates to WWII (fascinating).

I was impressed with the courage and determination of Capa and Taro in getting these historic pictures, of both the fighting, the aftermath and the people affected.  There are large captioned pictures on almost every page - by Capa and Taro - there are not a lot of Capa and Taro.  Lots of additional resources: 3 appendices, (about some of the controversies, so as not to muddle the text?); a “Cast of Characters” explaining who all of these famous people are, including political groups, factions and who was on what side.  There is a time line, an author statement, acknowledgements, sources, notes, a bibliography, web resources and an index.  A bit of a heavy read for middle school, I would recommend it for High School.

HS - ADVISABLE  Lisa Librarian

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