domingo, 21 de junio de 2009

ROBERT CAPA IN CERRO MURIANO: THE DAY IN WHICH REALITY SURPASSED IMAGINATION (9th Part):

THIS IS WAR ! Robert Capa at War Exhibition arrives in Barcelona

By José Manuel Serrano Esparza. LHSA


This superb itinerary exhibition, one of the most important in history, began its march in New York and subsequently at the Barbican Gallery of London and at the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia in Milano.

Now, between July 7th and September 24th 2009, the National Museum of Art of Cataluña in Barcelona will hold this great photographic exhibition THIS IS WAR! Robert Capa at Work, comprising nearly 300 pictures made by Robert Capa (some of them made in Córdoba province unknown until very recently, also including eight made by Gerda Taro with her medium format Rolleiflex) throughout his photographic career.

The exhibition has got three chapters:
1) Robert Capa and the Rise of the Picture Press.
2) The Falling Soldier, 1936.
3) China, 1938.
4) This is War! The End of the Spanish Civil War in Catalonia, 1938-39.
5) D-Day, June 6, 1944.
6) Leipzig, 1945.

Regarding the 45 pages of The Falling Soldier, 1936 Chapter, dealing on the most famous picture ever made by Robert Capa, depicting a Republican militiaman being instantly killed because of a 7 x 57 mm bullet, among the most interesting pictures of it, appearing in the book THIS IS WAR! Robert Capa at Work, we must highlight:

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 816 First image of the first strip of negatives on top right of the page.
Picture made by Robert Capa. Two Republican militiamen simulating opening fire with his 7 x 57 mm Spanish 1893 Mauser.

In this picture, there isn´t any combat against rebel enemy forces.

The Spanish Mauser of the republican militiaman nearest to the camera (wearing a CNT dark cap) is not ready to shoot, because the head of the firing pin is hidden inside its resting location of the bolt, id est, it is not visible, so the rifle can´t strike any cartridge. This militiaman is pretending to be aiming his gun to open fire, but there isn´t any battle. No rebel troops are attacking, because on experiencing the effect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in actual battle is not to be quiet and aim his not ready to fire rifle, but to cock again the bolt as soon as possible to load the rifle with a new bullet and them to aim.

Only if the head of the firing pin is visible behind the bolt, a 7 x 57 mm Mauser model 1893 is able to open fire.

The other Republican militiaman in the background (whose head is immediately on the right of the CNT dark cap of the nearest militiaman) is also simulating to open fire. Though the head of the firing pin of his Spanish Mauser 1893 caliber 7 x 57 mm is visible outside its resting location, this militiaman has his face excessively far from his rifle, in a very cumbersome position to be able to aim, because he is more worried about the picture. Probably there isn´t any bullet inside his Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifle chamber.

There´s a third militiaman in the background, on top left of the panchromatic nitrate film black and white negative, but only part of his arms and hands are visible

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of the photograph into anything. The Republican militiamen are infused with revolutionary spirit and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers -Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him-, they are making all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground, etc), runnings in different directions, jumpings over trenches, etc, as we´ll see in different pictures.

Capa is there and makes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact just on the right of the one previously quoted, on top right of the page.
There are two Republican militiamen simulating to be observing attacking enemy forces to open fire with their Mausers. The man nearest to Capa´s camera wears a big straw hat with the inscription U.A Asalto, and his Mauser rifle lies loosely on the ground border of the trench, something impossible in a real combat situation in which any soldier grabs firmly his rifle and is in a much more stressful position.

The man in the background, on top left of the contact, is the Falling Soldier, who also simulates to be observing enemy forces before firing. But he´s excessively raising his Spanish Mauser 1893 Model caliber 7 x 57 mm rifle spotting his location and with his head being dangerously high and unprotected.

No rebel troops are attacking.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this photograph into anything. The Republican militiamen are infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him - , they are making all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), runnings in different directions, jumpings over trenches, etc, as we´ll see in different pictures.

Capa is there and makes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67 : 35 mm contact number 818 First image of the second strip of negatives in the page.There are two militiaman. The nearest to the camera, with his visible right sleeve turned up and occupying the vertical right area of the contact, is standing in front of the trench and grabbing with his both hands the tip of the long barrel of his Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber vertically leaned on the ground with its butt resting on it.He´s clearly posing, looking to the right of the frame, trying to appear as good as possible in the picture Capa is taking him.

The second militiaman appearing behind him on the left, being inside the trench with full uniform and cap, his visible right arm sleeve not turned up and holding vertically his Mauser with both hands and the rifle buttock at the height of his stomach is also posing, doing his best to appear good in the picture and looking not at the camera but at a lateral point, portrait style.

As always, Robert Capa detractors and those doubting about the authenticity of his pictures, will say that Capa was a liar and there isn´t any combat in this picture. This is a non ending story.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into anything. The Republican militiamen are infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an atractive woman who is with him - , from the moment the two photographers approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches, etc, as we´ll see in different pictures.

And of course, Capa was not so idiot to try to convince any future observer into believing that there´s battle in this picture.

Capa simply is there and makes the picture to capture the special atmosphere of those moments at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 19 Second image of the second strip of negatives in the page.
There are two Republican militiamen. The nearest to the camera (with his both sleeves rolled up and wearing dark Isabelline cap with its tassle) is simulating aiming to open fire with his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 Model (bent bolt) caliber 7 x 57 mm rifle against enemy forces, but there isn´t any real combat. His Mauser rifle is not ready to shoot, because the head of the firing pin is hidden inside its resting location, id est, it is not visible, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

No rebel troops are attacking, because on experiencing the effect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in actual battle is not to be quiet and aiming his not ready to fire gun, but cocking again, as soon as possible, the bolt to load the rifle with a new bullet, and them to aim.

The second militiaman appearing in the background (on far left of the image, with his visible right sleeve turned up) wears a metal helmet. He´s excessively standstill for a real combat situation in which the stress and the fear to be killed would bring about high fidgety. He´s grabbing his Mauser rifle (concealed by the nearest militiaman body, and from which we can only see part of the butt under this second militiaman rolled up sleeve), his head is very high offering an easy target and the cord of his helmet is too perfectly adjusted.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this pictures into anything. The Republican militiamen are infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him-, from the moment the two photographers approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches, etc, as we´ll see in different pictures.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 20 Third image of the second trip of negatives in the page.
There are eight Republican militiamen inside the trench, simulating that they are aiming their Mauser rifles against an attacking enemy.

On top left of the negative, we can see the barrel of a mauser rifle protruding, whose hypothetical fired bullet trajectory would be towards top right of the negative, advancing in a progressively ascending path, something completely strange if they would be really firing from an elevated position trench -as they are- against rebel troops attacking them.

The man whose half of the face we can see on far left of the black and white negative is the Falling Soldier, whose Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber is very excessively raised for a real batlle situation, and evidently, this big hoisting is not because of recoil, because besides, this militiaman pretends to be looking at enemy forces to open fire.

The second militiaman seen is simulating to fire with his Mauser rifle horizontally grabbed slightly upwards, so it will be lethal up to around 2,000 meters and will be able to reach perhaps four km, but the trajectory of the bullet will be some meters above the hypothetical rebel soldiers attacking them from bottom to top.

The same applies to the next militiaman, from whom we only hint his dark cap and his Mauser rifle overlapped by the gun of the second soldier from left (whose dark cap is utterly visible).

A bit on the right, we can see the Mauser rifle of another militiaman aiming upwards; the immediately on the right Mauser rifle grabbed by another militiaman is the only one aiming downward; the next Mauser rifle -always towards the right of the frame- ( from which we can only see the forward part of the barrel paying a lot of attention is aiming slightly upwards, and the last Mauser (faintly discernable in the farthest background on the right) is being grabbed almost horizontally by another militiaman we can´t see.

This picture is taken by Robert Capa from a very near spot to the one from which he makes the famous picture in which there are 11 militiamen (ten of them raising their Mauser rifles) and one anarchist boss with his cap (behind the fourth militiaman from left) standing on the trench. The same four big wood poles (three of them together) are visible in the background, along with what is possibly a dark colour tent also appearing in the quoted picture (page 61 of the book).

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Pág 67: 35 mm contact number 830 Fourth image of the second trip of negatives in the page.
Vertical picture. We see the same Republican militiaman with big straw hat appearing in the top right 35 mm contact of the page with the Falling Soldier by him.

Now, Capa photographs him from behind, being on his right. The militiaman has its Mosquetón Mauser 1916 model rifle leaned on one ground border of the trench, pretending to be cocking the bolt again, holding the rifle with his left hand ( two fingers are visible just on the right of his sleeve, while his right hand simulates to be reloading the gun.

Bearing in mind the stress brought about by any combat against Tabor of Regulares Moroccan or legionnaries (the best infantry in the world in 1936) it would be very difficult even for an experienced Gurkha to be able to reload a Mauser with such big tranquillity in the middle of a real battle.

So, there isn´t real combat in this picture. Another clear evidence is that under a high stress real combat context, it would be in my opinion almost impossible to attain such a sharp picture ( in this same photograph appearing in the page 76 of the book, you can even realize great level of detail in the texture of the fabric of the right not rolled up sleeve and above all on his right hand thick veins and tendons.

Bearing in mind that Capa was using black and white Kodak Panchromatic Nitrate Film equivalent to approximately ISO 40 and that all these pictures of the Falling Soldier series were taken by Robert Capa between 9:30 and 10:30 h in the morning, if this militiaman wearing big straw hat would have been really ctryng to reload his Mauser rifle as soon as possible in the middle of a battle with enemy soldiers attacking, his right arm and hand would have been rendered at least a bit blurred or more probably rather blurred, because of the quick movement.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into anything. The Republican militiamen are infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him -, from the moment the two photographers approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches, etc, as we´ll see in different pictures.

Capa is there and takes the picture, to capture the special atmosphere lived by the militiamen, many of them the famous Alcoyanos, who know that they will have to fight against Francoist troops and simulate combat in different ways, both inside and outside the trenches, because the presence of Capa and Gerda Taro has raised in them a great expectation and high desire to be photographed.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Página 67: 35 mm contact number 31 First image of the third strip of negatives of the page.
We can see five Republican militiamen inside the trench: the first one wears a dark cap with the CNT letters embroidered on it. He simulates to be aiming his Spanish Mauser 1893 Model caliber 7 x 57 mm rifle against a non existente attacking enemy. This is the same man who appears in the contact number 816 photograph.

There isn´t any battle in this picture. His Mauser rifle is not ready to shoot, because the head of the firing pin is hidden inside its resting location, id es, it is not visible, so it can strike any cartridge.

No rebel troops are attacking, because on experiencing the effect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in actual battle is not to be quiet and aiming his not ready to fire gun, but to try to cock again the bolt as soon as possible in order to load the rifle with a new bullet, and then to aim.

And besides, evidently, his face and eyes are too far from his gun to be able to aim properly.He´s clearly trying to appear in the picture as good as possible.

On the other hand, we can see some wheat on his right.

The man appearing just behind him (we can only see his head clad with Isabelline cap bearing the embroidered CNT letters and the tassel, part of his shoulders revaling his white colour shirt and simulating to observe enemy troops before opening fire) is the Falling Soldier, who, in the same way as in the 35 mm contact number 20, appears holding his Mauser rifle excessively high and pinpointing his position to a hypothetical enemy, apart from having his head too high, with the risks it implies.

The third militiaman appearing in the picture (the one being immediately behind the Falling Soldier), of whom we can only see his right shoulder, approximately 90% of his right side of the face, most of his dark cap and the tip of his Mauser rifle barrel is even in a much more elevated position of thorax and head than the Falling Soldier, so he is offering a very easy target.

He´s likewise simulating to be firing his Mauser rifle against enemy soldiers. And the barrel of his Mauser is in a very horizontal position, so if he was really opening fire, the 7 x 57 mm bullet would describe a path some meters over the hypothetical enemy soldiers attacking, really non existing at this moment.

Regarding the last two men appearing in the far background behind the already quoted third militiaman depicted in this picture, they´re also pretending to be shooting their guns.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into anything. The Republican militiamen, many of them anarchists from Alcoi, are infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him- from the moment the two photographers approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we´ll see in different pictures.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Pág 67: 35 mm contact number 843 Second image of the third strip of negatives of the page.
Vertical picture. There are three militiamen (one of them outside the frame, of whom we can only observe a little area of his Mauser rifle forward area.

The nearest militiaman to the camera (probably using a cap with the colours of the CNT), with his sleeves rolled up, is inside the trench, holding his Spanish Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber with his left hand leaned on the ground of the front border of the trench, while his right hand grabs the rifle on the buttock front, simulating aiming to open fire against enemy forces attacking them from bottom to top, with his finger on the trigger.

There isn´t any real combat in this picture. The 7 x 57 mm caliber Mauser rifle of this militiaman is not ready to shoot, because the head of the firing pin is hidden inside its resting location, id est, it is not visible, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

Only if the head of the firing pin is visible, a 7 x 57 mm Mauser Model 1893 is able to open fire. No rebel troops are attacking, because on experiencing the effect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in actual battle is not to be quiet and aiming his not ready to fire gun, but to cock again the bolt to load the rifle with a new bullet, and then to aim.

Besides, his gun is aiming slightly upwards, so if he was actually opening fire, the bullet would describe a path some meters over the hypothetrical enemy soldiers attacking them from bottom to top.

The other militiaman in the background is also simulating to shoot, though the head of the firing pin of his Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber is visible. We can realize that he is with his knees leaned on top of the border of the trench offering an easy target from his abdominal area to the head. This is impossible in a real combat situation where any soldier tries to survive, even more against Tabor of Regulares or legionnaires men, excelling in accuracy with medium and long distance shots even in the middle of real battle.

This second militiaman has occupied this so excessively elevated position because he doesn´t want to be concealed by the body of the nearest man to the camera. He wants to appear in the picture at any cost. And once more, everything is fairly sharp for a real battle context. Even the wood veins of the Mauser rifles (specially in the nearest militiaman to the camera) have been rendered with high detail by the Leitz lens.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into anything. The Republican militiamen are infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an atractive woman who is with him- from the moment the two photographers approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we´ll see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible.

Capa is there and takes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 836 Third picture of the third strip of negatives of the page.
We see what seems to be a veteran anarchist chief clad in white colour garment and wearing a military cap, different from the anarchist CNT or FAI caps used by the rest of militiamen.

He is simulating to open fire against a really non existing enemy.

His Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 97 mm caliber rifle is not ready to shoot, because the head of the firing pin is hidden inside its resting location, id est, it is not visible, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

Only if the head of the firing pin is visible, a 7 x 57 mm Mauser model 1893 is able to open fire.

No Francoist troops are attacking, because on experiencing the affect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in actual battle is not to be quiet and aiming his not ready to fire gun, but to cock the bolt again as soon as possible to load the rifle with a new bullet and then to aim.

This way, there isn´t any real combat in this picture.

This man also appears in the 35 mm contact number 868 and in one of the medium format pictures made by Gerda Taro in which there are six Republican militiamen running upwards the slope of the hill and simulating to attack an enemy position on top of it, and he seems to be commanding them. He´s the man most on the right, stretching his left hand pretending to be encouraging his comrades.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

Pág 67: 35 mm contact number 57 Fourth Picture of the third strip of negatives of the page. This picture is very similar to the 35 mm vertical contact number 843, and the two nearest men to the camera appear in both photographs in very similar position, so the commentaries on them on analysing the contact number 843 are also valid for this contact number 57 horizontal image, the most importance difference being now the presence of a third militiaman in the background on top left of the frame. He is with one knee on the ground, also simulating to open fire against a really non existing enemy, highly unprotected and offering a big surface of target for hypothetical enemy forces attacking them. It seems clear that he also yearns after appearing in the picture as good as possible.

There isn´t any combat in this picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 860 First Picture of the fourth strip of negatives.
There are two militiamen and a third one of whom we only see a little area of his body covered by dark clothes (this almost out of image man is the same militiamen appearing on the right of the picture in page 82 of the book, in which we can also see the Falling Soldier in the background, clad in white garment with his cap bearing the CNT letters embroidered, and another militiaman on middle left of the photograph, between the Falling Soldier and the militiaman most on the right.

In this number 860 contact, Capa is located on a very near point to the spot from which he makes the page 82 picture, behind the three militiamen, but more on the left.

Though the head of the firing pin of his Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle is visible, the nearest militiaman to the camera is simulating to aim at really non existent enemy soldiers attacking them from bottom to top. The logical thing under a real battle context would be to crouch and hide the head and body as much as possible and lean the rifle on the ground border of the trench, but top priority for this militiaman is to appear as good as possible in the picture, trying to make things as much realistic as possible but at the same time and above all, with his face being recognizable in the photograph.

This militiaman is not leaning his rifle on the trench ground, but holding it in the air with both hands, with perhaps only his left elbow slightly leaned on the ground, and he would be highly risking his life in actual combat, because he´s offering too much target with his uncovered head.

In the background, we can see the Falling Soldier once more, simulating to be opening fire with his Spanish Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle, which is not ready to shoot, because the head of the firing pin is hidden inside its resting location, id est, it is not visible, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

Only if the head of the firing pin is visible, a 7 x 57 mm bullet is able to open fire.

He´s excessively on top of the ground border of the trench for a real combat situation, greatly jeopardizing his life, because he´s offering a very big target to hypothetical fascist forces going up attacking them.

There isn´t any real battle or combat in this picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 61 Second picture of the fourth strip of negatives.
We can see two Republican militiamen: the nearest to the camera is simulating to be cocking the bolt of his Mauser 1893 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle before shooting against really non existing rebel soldiers going up and attacking them. It´s impossible this context in a real combat situation: the man is highly quiet and his hand perfectly in focus, the whole rifle has been rendered with detail on all of his surface and the same applies to the head.

In a real battle context, the anxiety and fidgety are high. There should be some shaking, at least a bit of blur of out of focus areas in hands, head and rifle, but everything is sharp, an odd thing, because though the day was sunny, Capa used 35 mm Kodak panchromatic nitrate black and white film equivalent to around iso 40 (the same that he used already in his report on Leon Trotsky in Copenhague during a meeting in 1932)

Under enemy soldiers attack, specially if they´re Tabor or Regulares or legionnaires men, the best infantry in the world in 1936, the survival of any defender could greatly depend on the quickness with which he was able to reload his rifle, so it´s virtually impossible such a quiet and slow operation of cocking the bolt with enemy soldiers firing against the trench defenders.

But there´s a further key element: any soldier defending a trench and under enemy fire, does his best to offer the enemy the least feasible target, mainly to avoid to be shot on head, neck or thorax area, something very different to the confidence with which this militiaman is making things with a good percentage of his body (high area of the chest, neck and head sticking out over the trench with the risk it means for his life. And besides, its rifle fairly pointing upwards and protruding over the trench also makes his position even easier to spot for any attacking rebel forces.

The logical thing would be to be as much crouched as possible, and trying to do the bolt cocking operation very swiftly to be able to shoot again as fast as possible.

There isn´t any real combat or battle in this picture.

On the other hand, we can see a second militiaman in the background, on middle left area of the frame (we can only glimpse his clear colour trousers, white slippers and his rifle), also simulating to aim or open fire against non existent enemy forces.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza. 16 de Junio de 2009

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 868 Third picture of the fourth strip of negatives.
There are five Republican militiamen with one knee on the ground and simulating to aim their Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifles at a non existing enemy to open fire.

All of them make up a diagonal from left to right, in which the sizes of the militiamen bodies progressively increase depending on how near they are from the right border of the negative.

The militiamen are very close one another, offering a very easy target to the non existing enemy soldiers. They´re in the open air with one knee leaned on the slope covered with wheat.

This would be practically suicidal against Tabor of Regulares or legionnaries elite snipers up to a distance of around 800 meters.

There isn´t any real combat in this picture.

On the other hand, the first man on the right (also appearing in the 35 mm contact number 836), older than the rest and wearing clear colour clothes and a military cap different from the rest of militiamen, seems to be an anarchist veteran chief and hasn´t his Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle really ready to shoot, because the head of the firing pin is hidden inside its resting location, id est, it is not visible, so it can´t strike any cartridge. Only if the head of the firing pin is visible, a 7 x 57 mm Mauser Model 1893 is able to open fire.

No rebel troops are attacking, because on experiencing the effect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in actual battle is not to be quiet and aim his not ready to shoot gun, but cocking again the bolt as soon as possible to load the rifle with a new bullet, and then to aim.

The same applies to the Mosquetón Mauser 7 x 57 mm Model 1916 used by the second militiaman from the left, whose head of the firing pin is not visible, and to the first militiaman from the left, whose Spanish Mauser 1893 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle head of the firing pin is also hidden.

The heads of the firing pins of the Mausers 1893 Model grabbed by the third and fourth militiamen from the left are visible, though there´s a high probability that there isn´t any bullet inside their chambers.

This picture has got great depth of field from the nearest wheat ears to the mountains in the distance, and there isn´t even a trace of blur of movement in hands, arms, heads, necks or heads of any of the militiamen, a coincidence virtually impossible in five soldiers risking their lives, who should be highly anxous, fidgety and nervous, being attacked by enemy forces and compelled to shoot and reload their guns as soon as possible.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of the picture into believing that there is real combat, because it is very evident that these five soldiers are very unprotected, outside the trench, in a lower area of the slope with wheat.

The Republican militiamen are infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by two foreign photographers -Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him- , from the moment the two photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Capa is there and takes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 869 Fourth Picture of the fourth strip of negatives.
There are five militiamen in the trench: the nearest to Capa´s camera has got the sleeves of his fatigue clothes turned up, and he is pretending to have being hit by an enemy bullet, in a very naive way.

This is impossible in a real combat situation, because at the same time, this man (who is the seventh militiaman from the left appearing in the picture of page 61, including the old anarchist chief clad with clear clothes and a cap with eye shade on his head, who seems to have some power over the militiamen), has got his head fairly unprotected, protruding over the trench and offering an easy target for enemy bullets.

On the other hand, his Mauser 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle is by itself, leaned on the ground of the trench border, immediately on the right of this militiaman, and evidently put in a somewhat unsteady equilibrium for the picture.

If this man would have been really hit by an enemy bullet, his rifle would have fallen in a much violent way on the border of the trench, and after rebounding on it, the gun would have finished inside the trench.

The rifle has intentionally been left leaned on the border of the trench by this anarchist militiaman before simulating to have been hit by an enemy bullet, because the Mauser Model 1893 7 x 57 mm is in 1936 the best rifle in the world in terms of accuracy and lethal range, so this man hasn´t wanted to drop the gun to make the simulation more real, since the bump of the very valuable rifle on the floor of the trench after rebounding on its border would have been able to damage it.

There isn´t any real combat in this photograph.

The second militiaman is wearing a metal helmet on his head and simulates to be shooting with his Mauser 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle against rebel attacking forces. He is leaned on the ground border of the trench, but excessively high over it, with his face utterly unprotected and offering an easy target.

Just behind this second militiaman, there´s a third one (of whom we only see his Mauser rifle). He is also pretending to be opening fire against Francoist soldiers attacking them from bottom to top.

And in the background of the image, on middle left area of the negative, we can see two further
Republican militiamen also simulating to be opening fire against fascist troops.

As happens with a very high percentage of both the already known and the many not known till now existing 35 mm negatives from the Falling Soldier series, the depth of field of the image is great, with sharpness and detail from the lowest area of the image to the fathest background.

As already mentioned, this absolute absence of blur common in all the pictures is virtually impossible for a real combat context with militiamen in their trenches really firing against enemy troops attacking them with the intention of killing them.

In such a context, the stress, fidgets and fear to be killed are maximum and the soldiers are crouched to the utmost, trying to conceal their heads as much as they can while they´re shooting, and also doing their best to fire and cocking the bolts of their Mauser rifles as soon as possible to reload their guns and introducing a new bullet.

So, no rebel troops are attacking.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of the picture into believing that there is real combat. The Republican militiamen are highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him- , from the moment the two photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the picture.

Capa is there and takes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact Number 872 First Picture of the fifth strip of negatives.

There are three militiamen with one knee on the ground of the covered with wheat slope, while they´re photographed by Capa diagonally from behind.

The first militiaman is wearing a metal helmet (this is the same militiaman appearing using a
helmet in the 35 mm contacts numbers 19, 869, 875 and 879), his right knee is on the ground, and he´s simulating to be firing against really non existent enemy forces being upwards.

This picture clearly indicates that the militiamen are overjoyed, very confident and with very high morale. Many of them are the famous Alcoyanos, who were able to capture some military headquarters in August in Alcoy and other areas, having captured a lot of guns, above all the coveted Spanish Mausers 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber bolt rifles and Mosquetóns Mausers 7 x 57 mm caliber rifles (the best in the world in 1936, specially the 1893 long barrel model).

It´s impossible that Capa tries to deceive future observers into believing that there is real battle and that the Republican militiamen in the trench open fire against rebel forces attacking them from bottom to top, and in the same real battle, suddenly three of those militiamen fire upwards against against enemy troops which should be on the foot of the slope trying to ascend to kill them.

There isn´t any real battle in this picture.

Robert Capa and Gerda Taro don´t want to cheat anybody into believing that there´s a real battle. They simply take advantage of the huge expectation they raise among the militiamen. All of them without exception yearn very much to be photographed and behave and make all kind of movements, leaps, runnings, simulating of firings, etc.

Even, there´s one very good medium format 6 x 6 picture made by Gerda Taro (page 79) on this same covered with wheat slope confirming this, in which there are six militiamen running upwards with their Mauser rifles, simulating that they´re attacking a Francoist trench on top of the hill, when in many of the pictures made by Capa it´s very evident that the trench on top is a Republican one full of militiamen.

Both Capa and Taro are here and make the pictures with the intention not to deceive any future observer of the photographs into believing that there´s real battle, but to capture the very special atmosphere presiding the behaviour of the militiamen, many of them anarchists from Alcoi, that know that in a matter of hours or days, will have to fight agaisnt Francoist troops, so they express their common euphoria in this way.

They´re literally crazy for being photographed, and do what they can imagine to attain it.

The second militiaman appearing in this picture (middle left area of the contact), wearing dark fatigue clothes and cap, is simulating to cock the bolt of his Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifle to reload the gun and introducing a new bullet.

Once more, it is very odd the total lack of blur in the hands of a militiaman cocking the bolt of his Mauser rifle, because in the maelstrom of an actual battle, this operation must be made at full speed, to reload the gun as soon as possible, because the life of the soldier can depend on it. However, this militiaman seems to be doing it very quietly, taking his time, and there isn´t any blur in his hands, rifle, arm, neck or head, something odd for a picture taken with b & w film of around iso 40 (though in this time the reference for sensitivity was Weston Scale and not din, iso or asa).

The third militiaman, appearing in the background, is with his right knee on the ground and simulating to open fire with his Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifle aiming at non existing Francoist troops on top of the covered by wheat hill.

He wears a straw big hat with the inscriptions "U.A" and "Unidad de Asalto", and is the same man appearing in the 35 mm contacts numbers 830, 875 and the one being on top right of page 67 of the book, along with the picture of middle left page 78.

The three militiamen are utterly unprotected, in the middle of a slope, hypothetically firing against rebel forces on top of the hill. In a real battle situation, the three men would be easily and very quickly annihilated from an elevated point, either by means of rifle volleys or machine gun bursts.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 874 Second Picture of the fifth strip of negatives.
Underexposed picture, made by Robert Capa diagonally from behind. We can see four militiamen with one knee on the ground of the wheat covered slope and simulating to be aiming with their Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifles to open fire against non existing attacking forces.

The Mauser rifle of the nearest militiaman to the camera is pointing towards the left of the negative, while he is looking at the right.

And the fourth militiaman in the background is holding his Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifle raising it excessively for a real battle situation.

They all are very near one another, utterly unprotected outside the trench, each one offering a big target to the enemy, and would be easily wiped out by hypothetical rebel forces firing against them from below.

The harsh flare and vignetting in this contrejour picture clearly indicate that Capa has taken this image with a non coated Leitz Summar 50 mm f/2 lens.

There isn´t any real combat in this picture.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into believing that there is real combat. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him - , from the moment the two photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the picture.

Capa is there and takes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 875 Third Picture of the fifth strip of negatives.
There are five Republican militiamen simulating to be aiming with their Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifles at enemy forces attacking them from bottom to top.

The first militiaman appears wearing a metal helmet, his sleeves are turned up, and he is grabbing his rifle with both hands, his left elbow being leaned on the ground border of the trench, and though the head of the firing pin of his Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle is visible, probably there isn´t any bullet inside the chamber. He´s simulating aiming to open fire.

The second militiaman (the one with the large straw hat, also appearing in other pictures) is also pretending to be aiming just before shooting against non existing enemy troops trying to go up to kill the Republican militiamen defending the trench.

There´s a third militiaman, of whom we only glimpse the dark cap.

The fourth and fifth militiamen appearing in the background and barely visible (we can only see their caps and rifles paying top attention) are important to prove that there isn´t any real combat in this picture because the rifle of the fourth isn´t leaned on the ground of the border of the trench, but held in the air, and too horizontal on the trench border, in such a way that any bullet shot by it would describe a trajectory some meters over the hypothetical Francoist troops attacking from bottom to top.

On its turn, the rifle of the fifth militiaman in the farthest bakground protrudes very excessively over the ground of the border of the trench (instead of being leaned on it to open fire against enemy soldiers), and this is not because of any recoil (the Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm is famous among other things for its scarce recoil), apart from being dangerous, because it detects his position to the enemy.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into believing that there is real combat. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him-, from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Capa is there and takes the pictures.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 876 Fourth Picture of the fifth strip of negatives.
It´s very similar to the 35 mm contact number 868 already commented, but instead of five militiamen, we´ve got only the second, third and fourth men from the left on that 868 contact.

Compared to the 868 contact, around a 9% more of landscape is included on the right of the negative in this 876 contact, along with approximately half of the wheat covered ground and a 300% more of sky.

The three make up a diagonal from left to right, in which the sizes of the militiamen bodies progressively increase depending on how near they are from the right border of the negative.


The militiamen are very close one another, offering each one a very big and easy target to the non existing enemy soldiers. They´re in the open air with one knee leaned on the slope covered with wheat.

This would be practically suicidal against Tabor of Regulares or legionnaries snipers of the rebel army, very highly disciplined and experienced troops, up to a distance of approximately 800 m.

There isn´t any real combat in this picture.

The Mosquetón Mauser 1916 caliber 7 x 57 mm held by the first militiaman from the left (dark clothes and cap), has the head of its firing pin hidden, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

In this 35 mm contact 876, the heads of the firing pins of the Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifles of both the second militiaman from left (clearer clothes and cap) and the third one from the left (dark clothes and cap) are visible, but there´s a high probability that their rifle chambers haven´t got any bullet inside. In the same way as the militiaman most on the left, they´re also simulating to shoot against Francoist soldiers.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into believing that there is real combat. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers -Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him, from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Capa is there and takes the pictures.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 878 First Picture of the sixth strip of negatives.
There´s a Republican militiaman with dark cap inside the trench, occupying the left half of the black and white negative.

He´s simulating to be shooting against enemy forces.

The head of the firing pin of his Mauser 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle is hidden, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

He is leaning his rifle on the ground border of the trench, holding it with both hands, which are excessively close one each other for a correct grabbing of the gun.

We can also see his rolled up sleeve.

There isn´t any real combat.

No rebel troops are attacking, because on experiencing the effect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in actual battle is not to be quiet and aim his not ready to fire gun, but cocking again the bolt as soon as possible to load the rifle with a new bullet and then to aim.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to cheat future observers of this picture into believing that there is real combat. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him-, from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Capa is there and takes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 879 Second Picture of the sixth strip of negatives.
Underexposed picture. There are four militiamen running down the wheat covered slope, grabbing their rifles and simulating to attack enemy forces.

The nearest man to the camera is the one wearing a metal helmet and also appearing in other negatives from the Falling Soldier series already quoted. He is jumping, to add impact to the action and appear more spectacular in the photograph.

The second militiaman by him wears a dark cap and clothes fatigue.

The third man, faintly discernible in the far background, is the militiaman wearing the big straw hat also appearing in other aforementioned pictures of the Falling Soldier series.

And there´s a fourth Republican militiaman that we can barely glimpse in the distance, on the left of the three militiamen running down.

There isn´t any real combat against Francoist troops in this photograph.

Specially if we pay attention to the nearest militiaman to the camera, we realize that it is impossible that a man running down holding his rifle to attack enemy soldiers is so vertical and jumping, knowing that he could be shot by a rebel bullet at any moment.

In this kind of context, if the action would have been real, the men would have strived after running down as crouched as possible to offer less target to the enemy.

All the militiamen appearing in this picture, specially the three nearest the camera, are very unprotected, in the open air and the body of each one is a very big target for enemy bullets.

And besides, these three militiamen are very close one another, so the risk of death for them in a real combat situation running down against enemy soldiers would be even higher.

They all would be easily and very quickly annihilated either by accurate Mauser 7 x 57 mm from Tabor of Regulares or legionnaries professional soldiers or by machine gun bursts.

Once more, it´s evident that Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into believing that there is real combat. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him-, from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Capa is there and takes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact number 881 Third Picture of the sixth strip of negatives.
This is perhaps the most important picture of the great photographic exhibition This is War! Robert Capa at War, unknown till now for the public in the same way as the page 67 35 mm twenty-one b & w contacts of the Falling Soldier series previously analyzed, and the eight pictures made by Gerda Taro (four of them included in the book) on the same slope of the Falling Soldier series rest of images taken by Capa that morning of September 1936 between 9:30 and 10:30 (Gerda Taro was with Robert Capa at every moment).

In this vertical picture, we see the second Republican militiaman who was shot immediately after the most famous Falling Soldier, also impacted by a 7 x 57 mm Mauser bullet and now seemingly lying dead on the ground (this is undoubtedly the same man as the one not instantly killed captured by Capa being already lying on the ground, still alive and very seriously wounded in a highly agonic position).

But this vertical picture raises doubts: it would be very strange that an anarchist militiaman would be on the ground this way after having been hit by a 7 x 57 mm enemy bullet.

Evidently, this man is the same militiaman that is hit by a hidden sniper with a long distance shot (probably between 800 and 1200 m) just after the Falling Soldier, but there´s something strange, because this second militiaman depicted in this picture wasn´t hit by bullet on the lower area of the slope depicted in this picture, but on a higher area (he appears very seriously injured because of the impact of the bullet in a very gruesome horizontal picture in which this militiaman is fallen on the ground - in a very near point to the Falling Soldier- and in a very agonic position, still alive and with his right arm and fingers having lost its grabbing strength, so his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 is falling backwards and the tip of its barrel is touching the ground.

But in this vertical picture, somebody has put the Mosquetón Mauser rifle on the militiaman´s belly - or perhaps it is the very soldier who has put the gun crossed on his stomach area- with the butt of the gun resting on the ground and the middle area of the Mosquetón Mauser barrel made to be grasped by his fingers.

This is very odd. As often said by Cynthia Young, it is very difficult to know the real order in which the pictures were taken, and this is a very important aspect to know the truth of the events that afternoon.

It is impossible that this anarchist militiaman who has just been hit by bullet in the mentioned horizontal picture (page 84 Fig. 78 of the great book This is War! Robert Capa at Work ), having fallen on the ground just after the Falling Soldier death and appearing very seriously injured (because as explained by captain Robert Franks he was hit just when he was picking up his rifle from the ground immediately after being knelt on the ground dragging the body of the Falling Soldier towards the trench) in almost the same spot where the Falling Soldier fell just before, has finished dying on a lower area of the slope, a lot of dozen meters below, and holding his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 crossed on his belly and held with his left hand.

This is impossible. I do believe that this man appearing in this vertical picture is not dead. He´s alive and simulating to be dead, as a part of the collective revolutionary spree, overjoying and exceedingly high confidence which took place on the slope until the unexpected two shots changed everything, in the same way that there are some more pictures of militiamen lying on the ground of the slope, in different positions and also simulating to be dead.

But nothing of this was ordered or arranged by Capa or Taro.

It all was a kind of revolutionary spree in which the militiamen, had very high levels of expectation because of the presence of two foreign photographers and made all the movements, jumps over trenches, simulating of firing their rifles against really non existent attacking Francoist troops, lying on the ground with their rifles in different positions simulating to have been killed by enemy troops, etc, until one of the Moroccan soldiers belonging to a mia (small company) of Tabor of Regulares on a reconnaissance mission (to spot with binoculars the Republican defenses around the village, their lines of trenches, the position of their artillery, etc) two and a half weeks before the attack on Espejo, flew into a rage after having seen so much simulation of combat and shot the militiaman who had shown off the most, id est, the Falling Soldier, and also the second militiaman who appears on the ground on a spot very very near to the Falling Soldier, but the second long distance shot by the Moroccan soldier of tabor of Regulares is not so accurate, because the stress rises a great deal after having made the first shot which increases significantly the chances of been spotted by the Republican militiamen.

This way, I do believe that the quoted vertical picture (pág 85, Fig 79 of the book This is War! Robert Capa at Work) in which this second militiaman appears simulating to be dead with his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 crossed on his belly and held with his left hand was made before the Falling Soldier picture and before the picture of page 84, Fig 78 of the book This is War! Robert Capa at Work ICP/STEIDL, and is a part of the kind of revolutionary spree, jumpings, runnings, and different simulating of combat performed by the anarchist militiamen of CNT and FAI on the slope, until the unexpected thing happened and the "party" finished with two real enemy shots.

This is a complex topic, because when the vertical picture (Page 85, Fig 79, of the quoted ICP/STEIDL book) appeared during the itinerant exhibition This is War! Robert Capa at Work in New York, London, Milan and Barcelona, it was thought that this vertical picture was the last taken on the slope that day of September of 1936 by Capa, but after having studied all the images as much painstakingly as I have been able, I do believe that this vertical picture was made previously, as a part of the collective overjoying along with simulating of combat, and the last two pictures of the series were when suddenly everything changed and there were two real 7 x 57 mm shots: the Falling Soldier killed by a 7 x 57 mm bullet and the very gruesome horizontal one (in the same way as happens with the Falling Soldier picture it is impossible that this is a fake in such a naive context as 1936, and it is utterly impossible that Capa or Taro have given instructions to both militiamen to perform these postures on the floor) in which appears the same second militiaman who has just been really hit by a second 7 x 57 mm bullet, probably shot by the same Moroccan soldier of Tabor of Regulares, and appears very seriously injured and still alive. I´m persuaded that this is the last picture of the series and as confessed by Capa to Hansel Mieth, there had been previous party, nonsense and spree, until the unexpected happened.


Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Page 74: 2 1/4 inches (6 x 6 cm) medium format Rolleiflex negative made by Gerda Taro. It´s the picture on the left, having a size of 7.2 x 7.2 cm in the book.
This is an until recently not known photograph.There are three militiamen: The nearest to the camera, vertically filling the right farthest area of the 6 x 6 cm negative, and showing a militiaman simulating aiming to shoot ( though we can only see his whole head, dark cap and approximately half of the rest of his body, including a leather ammunition poach on his right side, apart from being pointing to the sky with his Mauser rifle held with both hands - on the right of the negative, out of image-).

In the background, perfectly focused and some meters behind the quoted militiaman occupying the full vertical extension of the medium format negative in his farthest right area, we can see two more Republican militiamen in much smaller size: the Falling Soldier -on the left, with his right knee on the ground, his sleeves rolled up, his Isabelline cap with tassel vertically crossing his forehead and simulating to be aiming with his 1893 Model Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifle just before opening fire. His gun is also pointing to the sky.

The other militiaman in the background, being beside The Falling Soldier, has got his left knee a bit bent, his sleeves are turned up, grabs his Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifle with both hands in an almost 100% vertical position and is looking towards the lower left angle of the negative, very quiet, and his top priority is to appear as good as possible in the photograph. This man is the same who is immediately on the right of the Falling Soldier in the picture of page 61 showing eleven Republican militiamen standing on the trench and an old anarchist leader with white clothes and cap with eye shade behind the fourth militiaman from the left.

It´s very obvious that there isn´t any real battle in this picture and no soldiers on earth would behave this way while being attacked by a real enemy.

Gerda Taro is not idiot. It´s obvious that she doesn´t try to deceive any future observers of this picture into believing that there is real combat. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him-, from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Gerda Taro is there and takes the picture.

Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Page 74: 2 1/4 inches (6 x 6 cm) medium format Rolleiflex negative made by Gerda Taro. It´s the picture on the right, having a size of 7.2 x 7.2 cm in the book.
This is an until recently not known photograph. We can see four republican militiamen on the trench.

The first one, on the right of the frame, is grabbing the butt of his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 Model caliber 7 x 57 mm, wears dark fatigues clothes and a dark cap with the colours black and red of the CNT. His sleeves are rolled up and one of his leather ammunition poaches is visible just behind the butt of his gun.

He is simulating to be looking at enemy attacking forces, but there aren´t any Francoist forces going up to kill them from bottom to top.

The head of the firing pin of his Mosquetón Mauser is hidden in its resting place, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

The second militiaman on the left of the frame, also wearing dark fatigue clothes and cap of the CNT and with his sleeves turned up, is likewise simulating to aim at enemy Francoist forces attacking them from bottom to top, and though the head of the firing pin of his Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber rifle is visible, there´s a high probability that the chamber of the gun doesn´t contain any bullet at this moment. And besides, he has got his left leg bent and leaned on the inner ground border of the trench in a rather cumbersome and above all risky position for his life, leaving his neck and head unprotected. In a real context battle, soldiers inside trenches being under enemy attack, do their best to crouch to the maximum and strive after offering the least possible target to enemy bullets. But if he lies and leans on the border of the trench with his elbows on the ground, he could be partially concealed by his nearest to the camera comrade, something that he wants to avoid at any cost, because it´s very important for him to be recognizable in the photograph.

The third and last militiaman in the background is highly motivated, raising his left arm with his fist closed, with both knees leaned on top of the ground border of the trench and grabs his Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber resting vertically on the ground.

He is offering almost 100% of his body as a target to hypothetical enemy forces attacking them from bottom to top.

This doesn´t seem to be the best way to face the Tabor of Regulares Moroccan soldiers or the legionnaries, in 1936 from a military viewpoint, the best infantry in the world.

So, there isn´t any real combat in this picture.

Gerda Taro doesn´t try to deceive any future observers of the picture into believing that there is real combat. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him-, from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Gerda Taro is there and takes the picture.

Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Page 75: 2 1/4 inches (6 x 6 cm) medium format Rolleiflex negative made by Gerda Taro. It´s the picture on the left, having a size of 7.2 x 7.2 cm in the book.
We have got here the same three miltiamen than in the previous picture. Now, the nearest militiaman to the camera is leaned on the ground border of the trench, simulating to be aiming his Mauser rifle at Francoist troops attacking from bottom to top to capture the trench. But the head of the firing pin of his gun is not visible, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

The second militiaman (unlike the previous image now slightly out of focus) is a bit more backwards than before, we can only see half of his body, goes on with his left leg bent and leaned on the inner ground of the trench border and is likewise pretending to be aiming at enemy forces before shooting.

The third man, though greatly exposing his body as a target for enemy bullets almost in the same way as in the previous picture, now holds his Mauser rifle horizontally, though it´s almost impossible to discern any more aspects, because it is highly out of focus and lacking sharpness and detail.

There isn´t any real battle in this photograph.

Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Page 79: 2 1/4 inches (6 x 6 cm) medium format Rolleiflex negative made by Gerda Taro. It has a size of 13.65 x 13.65 cm in the book.
Gerda taro makes this picture on the slope only a few minutes before the photograph made by Robert Capa appearing on left middle area of page 7 of Regards magazine September 24th 1936.

We can see five Republican militiamen running upwards the slope towards its summit, and the anarchist old chief with military cap and white clothes giving them courage with the left arm and simulating to attack really non existing Francoist troops defending the peak of the hill.

There isn´t any real combat in this picture.

In this spectacular photograph, taken from a very low position and highly probably with this brave woman crouched and having a knee on the ground to get as much impact as possible from bottom to top), the six quoted militiamen appear running upwards on the lower part of the 2 1/4 inches square negative: two of them (the nearest to Gerda Taro´s Rolleiflex camera) are wearing dark clothes, the old anarchist chief on the lower right area of the frame and simulating encouraging his comrades with his left arm raised to attack a really non existent enemy position on top of the slope is clad with white garments and a cap with eye shade on his head, the two militiamen in the middle are wearing clear garments (probably in light brown colours) and the second from left militiaman wearing white clothes is the Falling Soldier, some minutes before being instantly killed with his heart pierced by a high velocity 7 x 57 mm Mauser bullet shot by a Tabor of Regulares sniper.

This image clearly reveals that Gerda Taro feels already a high passion for photography, steadfastly making efforts to obtain the best possible pictures, as clearly proved in this photograph, where she manages to get a pronounced bottom to top taking angle going even beyond the one attained by Leonard Freed in his picture made in a Wall Street Tube Station Entrance in 1955, whose photographing angle antithesis would be Death from Overdose in Harlem New York City 1972.

It´s very interesting to realize that the second man from the left, wearing white colour fatigue clothes, is the Falling Soldier.

Gerda Taro doesn´t try to deceive any future observers of this picture into believing that there´s real combat. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him - , from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simultaing of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Gerda Taro is there and takes the picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 78: The one in the middle of the three pictures on the left photograph made by Robert Capa.
There are six Republican militiamen simulating to be firing, four of them "shooting", aiming at the right of the frame (the one most on the left and the three on the right half of the negative), another one (the militiaman just behind the man wearing a straw hat) aiming a bit upwards slightly towards the left of the picture, and a last one (second from left and perhaps the Falling Soldier some minutes before being really killed) aiming his Mauser rifle upwards and towards top central area of the frame.

It´s absolutely evident that these soldiers are not really firing and there isn´t any combat against rebel forces.

The militiamen are very near one another and offering an easy target for any hypothetical Francoist soldiers, and at the same time, three of the militiamen (the one most on the left - with his Mauser more raised upwards than the three comrades on the right of the image and whose hypothetical bullet trajectory would go on progressively towards the sky - and above all the two ones behind the man wearing straw hat) are simulating to open fire aiming at very different points.

Even, the second militiaman from left, infused with overexcitement, confidence and revolutionary joy, is ostensibly aiming his Mauser rifle at the sky.

It´s very clear that there isn´t any combat against rebel forces.

There are some people saying that " in the same way as with the Falling Soldier, Robert Capa was a liar, because these Republican militiamen are not really firing and Capa was not going to risk his own life with his camera in front of these unexperienced militiamen armed with rifles ".

And they say this to accuse Capa of trying to deceive future observers of the picture into believing that these militiamen are shooting against enemy forces.

Please!

Robert Capa was not idiot. There isn´t any kind of trick, fake or stage implemented here by Capa. At every moment and in the vast majority of pictures made by Capa and Taro that September afternoon of 1936, the republican militiamen eagerly yearned to be photographed by two foreign journalists, something which raised in them high doses of expectation from the first moments. And it´s known the great ability featured by Capa and Taro to create empathy with a wide range of people.

Robert Capa simply takes this picture with the militiamen acting at will and performing eclectic poses while they´re simulating to shoot with the intention of appearing as good as possible in the picture.

It´s very important to bear in mind that we´re at the beginning of September 1936, when Franco´s coup d´etat has been quelled in the biggest capitals (Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia amongst them) of Spain for one month and a half, mainly because of the CNT and FAI anarchist militiamen fighting in the streets, factories, official and communication centers, etc, as well as attacks against the army barracks, getting a lot of guns, specially the coveted long barrel Spanishs Mausers 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm (the most accurate in the world then, specially at medium and long distances) and the Mosquetón Mausers Model 1916, having greatly seized the power in the streets, so they´re highly euphoric and buzzed with enthusiasm.

Capa doesn´t need to place these soldiers to make the picture, and it is evident that he hasn´t put them in the rather chaotic way they appear with their rifles in the picture. He simply tries to capture the militiamen (who are behaving at free will) with his camera the best he can, both in this case and many others, in different areas of the wheat covered slope.

Therefore, on making this picture, Robert Capa doesn´t try to cheat anybody into believing that there´s a real battle and the militiamen are opening fire, because during those moments, he´s perfectly aware that some of them are aiming at different directions - even one of them pointing his gun against the sky- .

Capa simply takes the picture to capture the very special atmosphere of the moment brought about by the overjoyed militiamen themselves.

Capa is there and takes the picture.

- Page 7 of Regards magazine September 24, 1936 in which we can see two militiamen lying on the floor of the slope. Both of them are simulating to be dead by enemy fire as a part of the collective revolutionary spree and fooling around that was made by the militiamen of CNT and FAI because of the excitement and expectation brought about in them by the presence of two foreign photographers, but neither Capa nor Taro have given orders to these two militiamen (one of them is wearing clear clothes, leather ammunition poaches and his bent left arm is touching the ground, with his body lying almost parallel with the lower border of the image and his rifle buttock can be seen between his elbow and the right area of his waist - the rest of the gun is concealed by the body- while his right foot is touching the lower right vertical border of the frame, and the other militiaman clad in dark clothes is lying on the floor with his right leg perpendicular to the other militiaman´s head, his right hand touching the ground - his shirt is sleeved up- and his utterly visible rifle is parallel to his body, with the point of the barrel pointing towards the middle top border of the image) to lie on the ground to fake death. This is simply one more of the simulations made on Espejo slope by the anarchist militiamen as a part of the quoted collective revolutionary binge and overjoy along with the great desire to be photographed they had and which went on until there were two real unexpected enemy shots fired by a tabor of Regulares soldier belonging to a mia on reconnaissance mission approximately two weeks before the attack on Espejo. Neither of the two photojournalists have given instructions of fake of any kind here. They simply photograph what they see and what is happening.

Capa and Taro are there and get the pictures.

This picture isn´t included in the This is War! Robert Capa at War catalogue book, but was one of the images shown in the worldwide exhibition bearing that name which has been held in New York, London, Milan and now in Barcelona, and belongs to the series made by Capa and Taro on the big slope by Espejo.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 61: Picture made by Robert Capa of 11 militiamen and a loyalist officer standing on the trench.
Three of them brandish their rifles grabbing them with left hand (the first, second and third from left), while seven of them (the fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh) are holding their guns with right hand.

All the militiamen are brandishing Mausers 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm caliber rifles, with the exception of the third man from left, who is holding a Mosquetón Mauser 1916 Model caliber 7 x 57 mm.

Five of them are also raising their closed fists (first, third, fourth, ninth and tenth). These militiamen (many of them anarchists belonging to the CNT) are overjoyed, infused with revolutionary spirit, highly euphoric, and yearning for being photographed by Capa. There´s a great expectation in them.

This is an important picture -appearing in the book in size 21.3 x 15.9 cm- , because the man on the far left is the Falling Soldier, and the third man from left is the second falling soldier who is shot immediately after the death of the most famous Republican militiaman (the picture of this second falling soldier, not instantly killed by a 7 x 57 mm bullet as the first and most famous Falling Soldier, but very seriously injured by a second 7 x 57 mm bullet fired by the same sniper, is on page 84 of this ICP / STEIDL extraordinary book, in size 21 x 15.9 cm).

Behind the fourth CNT militiaman from the left (raising his left closed fist), we can see the anarchist chief with power over the militiamen, clad with a military cap featuring eye shade and older than the rest of men, and on the right of the picture we can also observe three big vertical wooden poles and a tent behind them. And we see another vertical wooden pole in the farthest background behind the tent.

Obvious saying that there isn´t any real combat against rebel forces in this picture.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 80: Picture made by Robert Capa. There are six Republican militiamen with their rifles jumping over the trench.They are simulating to be about to run down the slope towards enemy soldiers.

The Falling Soldier is the nearest man to the camera, wearing a white shirt with its sleeves rolled up, clear trousers and cap with the CNT letters embroidered on it.

Robert Capa is inside the trench while he is making this photograph. All the militiamen are in focus. Among these men, we have got once more the man wearing a big straw hat seeming to be an Andalusian militiaman and also appearing in some of the 21 pictures making up the all existing 35 mm negatives from the Falling Soldier series at the ICP.

In this picture, there isn´t any real combat against Francoist troops.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 81: Picture made by Robert Capa. There are five Republican militiamen landing across the trench, after having jumped over it in the previous picture.

One of the militiamen, clad in dark fatigue clothes and cap, is completely inside the trench grabbing his Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm rifle with his right arm (his sleeves being turned up) and about to go up to the top border of it.

There is a second militiaman wearing dark clothes and cap and lying on top of the trench, simulating to aim with his Mauser rifle against attacking Francoist troops. His nose is very near the hidden head of the firing pin of his gun, so it can´t strike any cartridge.

And just behind him, also leaned on top of the trench, more unprotected and with his head and chest dangerously protruding over the top of the trench, we see the Falling Soldier, who is grabbing his Mauser 1893 7 x 57 mm rifle (also known as Spanish 7 mm Mauser) pointing upwards in such a way that it´d spot his position to enemy forces in a context of real battle, something who doesn´t seem to worry him, because top priority is to appear as good as possible in the picture and fully identifiable.

In this photograph, there isn´t any real battle against attacking rebel forces.

In the farthest background, barely discernible, we can glimpse two more militiamen: one wearing a metal helmet (also appearing in other photographs of the Falling Soldier series already quoted) and a last one with dark cap fairly out of focus and undistinguishable.

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive any future observer of this picture into believing that there´s a real battle. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him - , from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them, the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Capa is there and takes the picture.

- Page 82: Picture made by Robert Capa. There are three loyalist militiamen on the border of the trench, simulating to aim their rifles from top to bottom against enemy soldiers.

The nearest militiaman to the camera (clad in dark fatigue clothes and cap of the CNT) is on top of the trench, with his left leg bent and his knee on the ground, while his right leg is somewhat stretched.

He´s excessively on the trench, highly unprotected against enemy bullets, offering a big target on his chest, neck and head to Francoist soldiers.

The head of the firing pin of his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 (bent bolt) caliber 7 x 57 mm is hidden inside its resting location, so it can´t strike any bullet.

No rebel troops are attacking, because on experiencing the effect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in actual battle is not to be quiet and aim his not ready to fire gun, but to cock again the bolt as soon as possible to load the rifle with a new bullet and then to aim.

Though the head of the firing pin of his Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifle is visible, the second militiaman, on the middle left of the image (clad in dark fatigue clothes and cap and with his right sleeve turned up), is also simulating to aim at enemy forces. His face is excessively far from the sight and half of the butt is loose and not leaned against his body to minimize the effect of recoil (in the case of the other militiamen, this aspect is even more strange, because the nose of each one is just behind the bolt, and this is not evidently a correct way of aiming or opening fire, so they seem to be above all thinking about the picture and trying that their faces be recognizable in the photograph.

The militiaman in the background, wearing a white shirt with its sleeves rolled up and cap with the letters CNT embroided on it and hanging tassel, is the Falling Soldier, who is also simulating to aim with his Spanish Mauser 1893 Model 7 x 57 mm rifle at hypothetical enemy attacking forces.

But the head of the firing pin of his 7 x 57 mm rifle is hidden inside its location in the back of the bolt, so it can´t strike any cartridge and no rebel troops are attacking him or his comrades, because on experiencing the effect of the recoil after firing, the reaction of a soldier in an actual battle is not to be quiet and aim his not ready to fire gun, but to cock again the bolt as soon as possible to load the rifle qith a new bullet, and then to aim.

There isn´t any real combat against Francoist troops in this picture and no rebel troops are attacking the militiamen from bottom to top trying to captura the trench occupied by the anarchist militiamen.

On the other hand, both the nearest militiaman to the camera and the Falling Soldier have their bodies excessively protruding over the trench - above all the Falling Soldier-, something highly dangerous in a real combat situation against hypothetical enemy forces.

These two militiamen would be very easily and quickly annihilated by means of shots on head or
heart.

The reason for the so risky arrangement of the Republican militiamen is that none of them want to be concealed by other´s body. They all do yearn very much after appearing in the photograph fully recognizable - specially the face-, and they have previously agreed to place themselves in the trench this way, because if they were in the logical real combat position with the three of them lying on the border of the trench, with their Mauser rifles leaned on the ground and really aiming at the enemy, crouching their heads, being mostly inside the trench and crouching to the utmost to offer as minimum target as possible to the enemy, the nearest militiaman to the camera would have greatly hidden the bodies and faces of the other two, who so wouldn´t be recognizable in the picture.

Besides, there´s also a high probability that some political comissar, loyalist officer, etc, strongly encouraged the militiamen to make all the movements (indeed, there´s an old anarchist chief appearing in some of the pictures, wearing clear clothes and a cap with eye shade on his head, who has some power over the militiamen and seems to be giving them orders or at least exhorting them to do different manoeuvers), simulating of firing, leapings, etc, that they enthusiastically performed that afternoon of September 1936 in order that Capa and Taro photographed them (because the pictures had a significant propagandist mission for both sides during the Spanish Civil War from the very beginning of the conflict).

Robert Capa doesn´t try to deceive future observers of this picture into believing that there´s a real battle. The Republican militiamen are overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, and because of the great expectation raised in them by the presence of two foreign photographers - Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, an attractive woman who is with him - , from the very moment in which the two foreign photojournalists approach them , the militiamen begin to make all kind of simulating of firing (both from the border of trenches and outside them with a knee on the ground), running in different directions, jumping over trenches or wheat, etc, as we see in different pictures, because they do highly wish to be photographed and appear as good as possible in the pictures.

Capa is there and takes the pictures.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 83: Death of a Loyalist Militiaman. Picture made by Robert Capa. This is probably the most famous and important photograph in history, at the same time eerie and sublime, showing a Republican militiaman at the very moment of his instant death because of a 7 x 57 mm high velocity bullet (730 m/sec) fired by a Tabor of Regulares Moroccan sniper using long barrel 1893 Spanish Mauser rifle and piercing his heart.

By pure chance, Robert Capa has just pressed the shutter release button of his Leica III (Model F 1933-1939) with carrying strap lugs and rangefinder magnification of 1.5X connected to a Leitz Summar 50 mm f/2 lens in a split second greatly coinciding with the moment of impact of the bullet on the loyalist militiaman´s heart who dies instantly because of the shock which paralyses his vital organs, since the 7 x 57 mm cartridge has got great ballistic properties including very flat trajectory, impressive penetrating effect of its 7 mm density at long distances, etc.

There are three main hypotheses on how the death happened:

a) The Falling Soldier was running down the wheat covered slope seen in the picture,when Robert Capa was waiting for him some meters ahead, with one knee on the ground, to take him the photograph from a low angle (being both the Republican militiaman and Capa outside the trench), when suddenly and in an utterly unexpected way, at the same time in which the photographer pressed the realease button of his camera, a hidden Tabor of Regulares sniper shot the Republican militiaman on his heart, killing him instantly with a 7 x 57 mm bullet fired with his Mauser 7 x 57 mm rifle from a distance of some hundred meters.

b) The Falling Soldier was running down the wheat covered slope seen in the picture, when Robert Capa, also running down the slope some meters ahead of him, put a knee on the ground to take him the photograph from a low angle (being both the Republican militiaman and Capa outside the trench), when suddenly and in an utterly unexpected way, at the same time in which the photographer pressed the realease button of his camera, a hidden Tabor of Regulares sniper shot the Republican militiaman on his heart, killing him instantly with a 7 x 57 mm bullet fired from a distance of some hundred meters.

c) The Falling Soldier was running down he wheat covered slope seen in the picture,passing by the trench, when Robert Capa being inside it, took the picture of the militiaman from a low angle (with Robert Capa and other militiamen being inside the trench), when suddenly and in an utterly unexpected way, at the same time in which the photographer pressed the release button of his camera, a hidden Tabor of Regulares sniper shot the Republican militiaman on his heart, killing him instantly with a 7 x 57 mm bullet fired from a distance of some hundred meters.

After the findings of Espejo, and because of the orography of the slope and the way in which the mountains of Montilla and Cabra appears in the background looking at them being crouched on the ground, this third hypothesis is currently in our opinion the most probable one, but we should add a further important aspect: we do believe that both Richard Whelan and captain Robert Franks were right in their final conclusions explained in the great catalogue book This is War! Robert Capa at Work ICP/STEIDL, and that after running down the slope for some meters, the Falling Soldier unexpectedly stopped very near the location in which Capa was inside the trench, and raised his right arm with his rifle rejoicing and overconfident, instant in which the tabor of Regulares Moroccan soldier on reconnaissance mission with some companions of mia, infuriated after having seen so many simulations, decided to shoot him.

The recently made discovery by elrectanguloenlamano (May 2009, 5th Part of this research) regarding a picture in which there are three Republican militiamen standing alive on a very near position near the trench: one dressed in dark clothes and cap, grabbing a Mauser rifle with both hands and running down slightly bent the wheat covered slope towards the right of the frame, while another Republican militiaman (only partially seen, wearing clear clothes, black leather cartridge poaches and a Mauser rifle) on his left is also running down the slope even more bent that the militiaman wearing dark fatigues clothes, and with his bolt rifle grabbed in inversed position with both the rifle gunstock and the sling inadvertently pointing upwards probably because of the overjoy and euphoria of the militiaman, along with a strong yearning for simulating a downward attack against enemy forces, in the same way as his companion, without realizing that he is being greatly concealed by his comrade´s body on his right, and a third Republican militiaman (out of image, of whom only the tip of his Mauser rifle appears on the left of the image) running behind the two militiamen observable in the photograph, proves that there were five militiamen running down the slope and not two as thought till now (The Falling Soldier being killed instantly and the second militiaman shot immediately after the first, who appears already on the ground, very badly injured, in the following picture).

This picture with the two militiamen running down (and a third one behind them,
out of image) was made with both loyalist militiamen treading on a near stretch of the same slope, but not on the same spot than the Falling Soldier and the following shot militiaman who fall on two points very close each other.

This discovery is very significant, because there are people saying that Capa made the picture of the Falling Soldier with his camera on a tripod and that both The Falling Soldier and the second militiaman shot fell exactly on the same spot, something which is not true (very near indeed but not exactly the same spot).

This picture, appearing on the middle left area of page 7 of Regards Magazine September 24th 1936, confirms even more something already known: Capa didn´t use any trick, camera on tripod or any other ruse to make the picture of the Falling Soldier, which is authentic and captures the real moment of death of a Republican militiaman and suggests that the most probable thing is that Capa was inside the trench when he took this photograph, but not with his arms raised and making the pictures without being able to see (as is always said because of a statement attributed to Capa, whose graphic or recorded evidence I haven´t been ever able to see), but clearly seeing the five militiamen as they were running down.

On the other hand, it seems clear that the second militiaman shot (not instantly killed but lying on the ground, very seriously injured) was running down the slope behind the Falling Soldier when the latter was shot, and it is probable that he crouched to drag the fallen Falling Soldier body into the trench, leaving meanwhile his rifle on the ground, and once the Falling Soldier inside the trench, in the moment in which he was taking his rifle again from the ground, he was also shot and thrown backwards. This explanation by Richard Whelan and captain Robert Franks, also set forth in the catalogue/book This is War! Robert Capa at Work! makes sense and would explain why the body of the Falling Soldier doesn´t appear in the picture of the militiaman lying on the ground, still alive, very seriously wounded, in an exceedingly agonic position, with his rifle falling backwards (its barrel tip is touching the ground) because his right arm is almost inert and his right hand has lost grabbing strength.
Bearing it in mind, the hypothesis that the overjoyed running down Falling Soldier suddenly stopped when being near Capa in order that he made the picture has gained a lot of momentum, because it would greatly explain the coincidence between the liberation of the shutter release of Capa´s Leica rangefinder camera and the impact of the bullet on the militiaman´s heart,since apparently the enemy sniper chose the best moment to optimize hisshot accuracy, when the loyalist militiaman stopped in front of Capa.

This coincidence has been one of the most important ones making some people doubting about the autenticity of the picture, making them erroneously believe that the famous Falling Soldier photograph is a fake or that Capa used any ruse.

But the Falling Soldier picture is authentic and there´s a real instant death depicted in it.

So, this new discovery that there were five militiamen -and not two as believed till now- running down the slope, greatly confirms the statement made by Captain Robert Franks, Chief Homicide Detective of the Memphis Police Department after analyzing the Falling Soldier photograph: he was standing flat footed when he was shot and clearly it wasn´t a pose, but a real death, because the soldier´s left hand, partially appearing under his left leg, is in a semi-closed position. If the fall had been staged, the hand would have been open to catch his fall, the logical self-preservation reflex act to keep one from being hurt).

And Captain Robert Franks also noted that the position of the fingers, somewhat curled toward the palm, indicates that the man´s muscles had gone limp and that his body was rapidly shutting down already dead. And he was right.

Captain Franks also expressed his convition that the Falling Soldier had been carrying his rifle in a way suggesting that he did not expect to use it soon.

He´s also right in this point. The rectanguloenlamano discovery that the three Republican militiamen running down in the picture of middle left area of page 7 of Regards magazine September 24th 1936 was taken immediately before the Falling Soldier utterly verifies that all the militiamen running down were overconfident and sure that there weren´t enemy troops in the surroundings, with which the first shot fired by the Moroccan Tabor of Regulares sniper was absolutely lethal, since the Republican militiaman was relaxed and overjoyed, simulating running down against enemy forces, when on arriving near Capa (who was inside the trench), he stopped and all of a sudden, in a completely unexpected way, a 7 x 57 mm bullet pierced his heart killing him instantly because of the shock paralysing his vital functions before the blood had begun to sprout.
Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 84: The second falling soldier. Picture made by Robert Capa. Though not as famous as the Falling Soldier (instantly killed by a 7 x 57 mm percing his heart), this photograph, taken by Robert Capa immediately after the Falling Soldier, is much more gruesome and disgusting, because the militiaman (who is another different soldier, not the previous one, there isn´t any doubt in this respect) is still alive on the ground of the same wheat covered slope, having fallen on a very near spot to the first militiaman (though not exactly the same point as stated by some people), and is very very seriously injured because of the impact on his body of a second 7 x 57 mm bullet shot by the same sniper that has just killed the Falling Soldier, whose accuracy has not been so high as with the first shot because he has been bound to reload his Mauser rifle and open fire for a second time with the risk it implies for his life (if a sniper makes more than one shot, chances of being spotted by the enemy increase significantly).


The loyalist militiaman is in a very odd and agonic position brought about by the shot, not instantly lethal as the previous one killing the Falling Soldier, but leaving him greatly crippled.

His vital functions are significantly diminished and because of the shot that has hurled him backwards, his legs are immobilized and from waist to head his body is convulsed and trying to keep a precarious balance, while his right arm is bent backwards with his hand weakly grabbing his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 7 x 57 mm caliber (bent bolt), whose barrel tip is touching the ground.

For a long time, I thought that this second militiaman shot was standing running down the slope behind the Falling Soldier and somehow brandishing his Mosquetón Mauser when he was also shot and had slowly fallen to the ground, not instantly killed but very seriously injured. Nevertheless, the position of this militiaman on the ground was somewhat odd for a man having been shot while being running standing and fallen to the ground.

But recently, I had the chance of reading the excellent book This is War! Robert Capa at Work written by Richard Whelan and published by ICP / Steidl, and on its page 75 is the complete account of the expert criminologist captain Robert Franks which I´m convinced resolves three "mysteries" frequently put forward by people stating that the Falling Soldier (instantly killed) picture is false, a fake, a montage using tripod, etc:

a) How the second falling soldier body was when he was shot.

b) Why this second militiaman shot falls so very near the first Falling Soldier.

c) Why the body of the Falling Soldier doesn´t appear in the picture of this second falling soldier (not instantly killed but still alive on the ground, very seriously injured):

"As soon as the Falling Soldier had fallen to the ground, comrades must have dragged his body back into the gully, which would explain why his corpse is not visible in the photograph of the other falling soldier.

Captain Franks was sure that the Falling Soldier was the first loyalist militiaman to be shot.

That´s why he also wrote: " I base this upon the cloud formation that seems to be tighter in the Falling Soldier and more dissipated in the other picture".

On the other hand, on watching this picture of the second falling soldier seriously injured on the ground, we quickly realize that the image quality is far superior to the first Falling Soldier one in terms of resolving power, sharpness and level of detail.

That´s why, Captain Robert Franks makes a further statement: " The second soldier´s photograph is in focus, which indicates to me that Robert Capa had time to attend to the settings on his camera between the two shots".

And following this statement, Captain Robert Franks makes a highly interesting affirmation:

"The photograph of the second militiaman shot indicates to me that the soldier was on his knees, leaning back with his buttocks resting on the heels of his feet , the rifle being held in his right hand and the rifle muzzle pointing up and slightly to the rear. As the soldier was thrown back by a bullet, gravity took over, pulling the weight of the barrel towards the ground. When the gunfire began, he was presumably standing far enough to Borrell´s right so that he was outside the left edge of the Falling Soldier. He must then have dropped to his knees, both to protect himself and to help move the Falling Soldier´s body into the gully. He probably lifted the Falling Soldier by the armpits, which would explain why the photograph shows him slightly behind the spot where the Falling Soldier had been standing. Men in the gully would have dragged the Falling Soldier by the feet toward them. The man in Capa´s second shot militiaman photograph was evidently picking his rifle up from the ground when he was shot.

I do believe Captain Robert Franks is utterly right in his explanations, including the one regarding the no presence of the Falling Soldier corpse on the ground in the picture of the second shot loyalist militiaman, a key factor to explain the events, because THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THIS STORY ARE NOT THE LOCATION OF THE FALLING SOLDIER PICTURE AND THE IDENTITY OF THE MAN APPEARING IN IT (TWO IMPORTANT TOPICS ANYWAY), BUT THE REAL INSTANT DEATH OF A REPUBLICAN MILITIAMAN BECAUSE OF A 7 X 57 MM BULLET SHOT BY A TABOR OF REGULARES SNIPER AND THAT CAPA DIDN´T USE ANY TRICK, MONTAGE WITH TRIPOD OR RUSE OF ANY KIND TO MAKE THE PICTURE, AND ABOVE ALL, THAT THE FALLING SOLDIER DIDN´T GET UP AGAIN AS SOME PEOPLE ARE STATING.

This second falling soldier (not instantly killed as the first Falling Soldier, but very seriously injured on the wheat covered ground of the slope) appearing in page 84, is the same militiaman than the one whose corpse holding his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 Model is depicted in the last picture of the Falling Soldier series, recently known to the public thanks to the ICP, because it is one of the photographs displayed in the great itinerant exhibition This is War! Robert Capa at Work which will be held in Barcelona between July 7th and September 24th 2009.

- Page 85: The corpse of the second militiaman shot holding his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 Model. There isn´t any doubt: he is the same man than the militiaman of page 84, identical gun, identical rectangular leather ammunition poaches, identical trousers, the same white slippers, identical right turned up sleeve (this can be seen paying top attention or using a magnifying glass on the middle of the shadow projected by the corpse of this militiaman over the buttock of his Mosquetón Mauser 1916 Model where we can see the inert right arm lying on the wheat covered ground of the slope lower than the point where this man was really shot).

For more information on this picture, please read the comments relative to 35 mm contact number 881.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Page 67: 35 mm contact Number 874 Second image of the fifth strip of negatives in the page.
Underexposed picture. There are four militiamen with one knee on the ground of the wheat covered slope, on a different spot of it compared to the vast majority of other photographs of the series. We can discern the Andalusian militiaman with big straw hat - seconf from the left- appearing in other pictures - and the militiaman using a metal helmet - first from the right - also appearing in other photographs. In this image, the fingerprint of the non coated Leitz Summar 50 mm f/2 used by Capa connected to his rangefinder Leica III (Model F 1933-1939) is very apparent in the distinctive vignetting and the apparent flare it renders in contrejour contexts.

Capa takes the image from behind the milititiamen, being diagonally on their left. The luminic conditions have changed, mainly because of the different direction of the light compared to the rest of images of the series, with presence of some backlighted context which renders the picture underexposed because very probably both Capa and Gerda Taro, bearing in mind the light conditions at that hour (between 17:30 and 18:00 h in the afternoon) set a combination of aperture and shutter speed before making the series, and from that moment on, both of them worked with that same setting, because the priority was to take as many pictures as possible of the militiamen. Though it could seem other way on seeing some of the pictures, everything happened very quickly, probably not more than between 20 minutes and one hour, so Robert Capa and Gerda Taro had to work very fast, moving quickly in different directions and paying top attention to what the militiamen did either at will or following one or two commanding men exhorting them from time to time.

I´m persuaded that neither Capa nor Taro gave any order to the militiamen, simply because they didn´t need it. If they had given instructions to the militiamen, one by one, to put each one on a position, or merely telling them rougly what to do, things would have been highly delayed.

Besides, that was not Capa and Taro´s style of working, and we mustn´t forget that Capa and Taro had been in Spain since the beginning of August 1936. Capa could speak Hungarian, German and some French, while Gerda Taro could speak Polish, German and French. Therefore, neither of them could speak Spanish. How would have they been able to give instructions to the militiamen to pose?

Simply, Capa and Taro were there and did their best to capture the best possible images they could, striving after adapting to the circumnstances.

All the series of images taken on the wheat covered slope suggests that there were at least an old anarchist chief and probably a Republican officer (the latter not visible in any images) with power over the militiamen, who exerted pressure at every moment and hastily exhorted the militiamen to adopt different attitudes, fulfill various manoeuvres and simulating of attacking, running downwards, running upwards, jumping on the trench, pretending to be aiming at really non existing Francoist troops attacking them, simulating opening fire with their rifles from inside the trench, etc, in order that Capa and Taro made pictures of them.

And evidently, the militiamen were very happy and yearning after making all kind of movements and manoeuvres to accomplish it, because they were overjoyed and highly infused with revolutionary spirit, to such an extent that sometimes they make a kind of childish actions, as happens in some photographs.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Horizontal picture made by Robert Capa in which we see the militiaman wearing a metal helmet filling a great percentage of the 35 mm negative while he is inside the trench, holding his Mauser 1893 Model rifle with his left hand, at the same time pretending to be cocking the bolt again with his right hand to load the gun with a new bullet.

Capa has captured the militiaman just at the moment in which he is looking at the bolt, moving his right hand, whose motion is rendered by the blurred aspect of the area stretching from his right elbow to the fingers of his right hand, along with the hanging rifle leather transport strap portion nearest to his chest.

The leather ammunition boxes for 7 x 57 mm cartridges are visible on the lower left area of the image.

Also occuping their posts inside the trench, we can glimpse in the background the Andalusian militiaman wearing a big straw hat with the inscription U.H.P (Union of Proletarian Brothers)
and a further militiaman of whom we can only discern the forehead and a dark cap with the CNT inscription embroidered.

This photograph doesn´t appear in the ICP/STEIDL catalogue book, but has been part of the This is War! Robert Capa at Work exhibition which has been held since 2007 in New York, London, Milan and Barcelona.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Horizontal picture made by Robert Capa. Underexposed picture. We can see a militiaman lying on the ground, his legs being fairly separated, his left arm stretched in a 45º position, and half of his Mauser rifle resting on his neck.

This is a somewhat childish and naive context, because it´s very apparent that the gun has been put between three stones (two big ones and another smaller one) to attain the equilibrium necessary for the rifle resting with the trigger area upwards, something highly unnatural and evident (after departing from the stones, the rifle doesn´t touch the ground at any moment). The buttock supporting rocks are exceedingly visible for any person watching the picture.

It is utterly impossible that Robert Capa or Gerda Taro have intentionally put the rifle this way crossed on the militiaman man with the aim of faking his death, because they´re not idiot and any future observer of the image would realize the presence of the rocks supporting the rifle buttock in a very odd balance with its trigger area upwards.

It´s not easy to ascertain with 100% accuracy what happened in this such a naive context of collective revolutionary spree, overjoying and exceedingly high confidence: whether the militiaman, fooling around, decided on its own to lie on the ground and simulate his own death, trying to add drama crossing the gun on his body in such a striking way, or if more probably one of the at least two men with command (one of them being a Republican officer and the other one probably an anarchist man with power over the militiamen) present at every moment while Capa and Taro made the pictures (and exerting pressure also on them in spite of being working as photographers with an official Republican press pass) urged the militiaman to lie on the ground and then put the rifle crossed on his neck this way to simulate death, because it seems clear that this man lying on the ground of the slope in such an odd position with his rifle crossed on his neck is alive and simulating death as a part of the quoted collective nonsense and childish playing of all kind which took place on the slope before the unexpected two real deaths.

In any case, what is completely sure is that neither Robert Capa nor Gerda Taro have given instructions to this militiaman to fake to simulate to be dead. It was a decision made by him or by other person with command over the militiamen who suggested it, and of course, neither Capa or Taro have put the rifle crossed in such a queer way on the lying militiaman, because it would be very apparent, as indeed it is, for any future observer.

Whatever it may be, this is a very strange image and it´s very difficult to set definitive 100% conclusions on it. But this man is alive.

Robert Capa was there and took as many pictures as he could, because that was the priority, but what Capa captures with his camera stems from either the will of the lying militiaman lying on the ground immersed in a kind of revolutionary spree and trying to be the main character of events making "different things", with the gun perhaps having been been put supported by the rocks and crossed on his neck by himself, by a comrade, or by one of the quoted men with power present at every moment who could suggest or give the instruction in that respect.

Definitely, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro didn´t give instructions to this militiaman to make things, and the same applies to the rest of pictures of the Falling Soldier series which they took on the big wheat covered slope by Espejo.

What happened was a kind of revolutionary binge in which sometimes the militiamen made things at will trying to do different things to appear the best possible in the pictures two foreign photographers were taking of them (fostered by the very high expectation and emotion they felt), and other times they were pressed to perform various dynamic manoeuvres in full motion and static postures alike.

In my opinion, when analysing what Robert Capa and Gerda Taro made in Espejo and Cerro Muriano in September 1936, it´s very important to bear in mind the context, because at this starting stage of the Spanish Civil war, vast majority of Republican combatants were anarchists belonging to C.N.T and F.A.I, encompassing working men like peasants, masons, cobblers, textile workers, print workers, mill workers, harvesters, day laborers, etc, common people belonging to very different occupations and then submitted to terrible laboral conditions which made them working between 12 and 18 hours a day to be able to survive and feed their children.

However curious or strange it may seem, this very apparent naiveté of this picture taken in the outskirsts of Espejo village, doesn´t indicate at all any fraud by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, but something very different: a huge drama and foreboding of death, because when Capa is taking this photograph everything is party, overjoy, overconfidence and revolutionary spree of a lot of militiamen making all kind of movements, manoeuvres, jumpings, simulating of shooting, simulating of running upwards against non existing enemy, etc, including some highly naive actions epitomized by this picture.

But many of these men greatly lacking any military instruction and handling of weapons, will have to fight within less than three weeks, between September 22 and 25 1936, defending Espejo against the feared Tabor of Regulares of Melilla (under the command of major Baturone) and the Squadron of Regulares of Melilla (under the command of major Sagrado), in 1936 the best infantry in the world together with the legionnaries.

There´s a high probability that a lot of the militiamen appearing in Capa and Taro´s pictures were killed during the battle for Espejo village between September 22-25 1936, specially in the Cota 380 and the village itself, when in spite of the brilliant defence by the famous Republican major Pérez Salas, he was bound to order retreat when the highly experienced Moroccan men of the Tabor and Squadron of Regulares managed to finally fulfill the encircling manoeuvre, overwhelming the Republican artillery attacking from the northwest and wiping out the last Republican defenders inside the castle.

Therefore, in spite of the accusations of fraud and statements of some people saying that Capa and Taro´s pictures are not authentic, in my viewpoint simply that´s not true, because neither of the two photographers gave any order or instruction to the militiamen to fake anything, and these pictures are a real treasure which we have been able to relish mainly thanks to the last efforts by Cornell Capa and Richard Whelan before dying, searching for all available pictures existing in the ICP, which enabled the edition of the formidable ICP / STEIDL catalogue book This is War! Robert Capa at Work.

The wide range of movements, manoeuvres and positions adopted by the militiamen, highly suggest that now and then there was at least a commanding officer or anarchist chief with certain powers over them and featuring combat experience giving orders to the militiamen.

In my viewpoint, high chances are that the man in around his fifties, clad in white fatigue clothes
and wearing an army cap with eye shade and a little dark leather strap buckle on its front, is an anarchist chief having some commanding power over the militiamen. He appears in some of the pictures, taking part in the "action" as a one more militiaman. But it´s clear that he has more power than the militiamen.

He appears in two photographs made by Gerda Taro: one with five militiamen on his left going up the wheat covered slope (the second one from the left being the Falling Soldier) while he is on the right of the image, giving orders and encouraging the militiamen for the "combat"; another one in which twelve militiamen are climbing up the top of the slope running while he is walking approximately in the middle of them, one more in which this man appears inside the trench aiming his Mauser 1893 Model rifle (with the head of the firing pin hidden, so it can´t strike any cartridge) against really non existing attacking Francoist troops, and a further one in which this man (on the right of the image) is with four militiamen, with one knee on the ground simulating to aim against non existing Francoist troops with their rifles, while in the background we can see the Cortijo de Casalilla and Los Molinos del Campo (three old oil mills) and the Sierras of Cabra and Montilla in the background.

Robert Capa. © ICP New York

- Horizontal picture made by Robert Capa, very similar to the Page 67 black and white 35 mm contact number 31 of the ICP/STEIDL catalogue book, with the same militiaman as main character.
Now, this man is also holding his Mauser 1893 Model rifle with his left hand, but instead of grabbing the gun on its buttock front and trigger area simulating to be aiming at really non existent enemy forces and about to open fire, in this image he appears pretending to cock again the bolt of his rifle - horizontally stretched on the border of the trench almost touching the ground- with his right hand rendered slightly blurred because of the movement and the very low sensitivity of the film - probably equivalent to modern iso 32-40, though then there wasn´t iso, asa, or din but only Weston scale- which usually made necessary to use low and very low shutter speeds to be able to take the picture.

This militiaman is wearing dark fatigues clothes and cap with the CNT initials embroidered on it.
In the background we can see the head and right shoulder of the Falling Soldier (whose dark cap also bears the CNT initial letters embroidered on it, with the tassel having been knotted on top of the cap to prevent it from falling on the forehead hiding any part of it) simulating to be watching really non existing enemy forces hypothetically attacking them from the right of outside the image. But he´s holding his Mauser 1893 Model rifle in an excessively elevated position, because he doesn´t want to be concealed by the militiaman in the foreground. That´s why he raises his rifle elevated trying to make it visible over the foreground militiaman´s gun and at the same time keeps his head too far from the sight of his Mauser rifle to be really aiming at attacking Francoist forces, because he yearns for his face appearing in the picture too.

Meanwhile, in the far background, we can see approximately two thirds of the Mauser rifle of a third militiaman also simulating to aim or opening fire against really non existing enemy forces. Though this third militiaman is out of image, his gun is aiming at the right of the frame, protruding excessively over the border of the trench, so offering an easy target on head and chest.

It´s clear that no actual combat whatsoever is taking place while Capa takes this photograph.

This photograph doesn´t appear in the ICP/STEIDL catalogue book, but has been part of the This is War! Robert Capa at Work exhibition which has been held since 2007 in New York, London, Milan and Barcelona.

Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Square format picture made by Gerda Taro with his Rolleiflex Standard 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 (6 x 6 cm) binocular camera. This is in my viewpoint a very interesting image in which Gerda Taro strives after getting a photograph with impact, from a very low angle, with one knee on the ground, crouching to great extent and focusing on the Andalusian militiaman wearing a big straw hat, who is on the lower left area of the frame, simulating to cock again the bolt of his rifle to load a new 7 x 57 mm bullet while he also pretends to be looking at really non existing Francoist attacking forces.

Gerda Taro has very probably taken the image with the Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 7, 5 cm f/3.8 Rolleiflex K2 Model 622 at full f/3.8 aperture, which gets less field depth than the same f stop in 35 mm format. That´s why all the wheat spikes, both the nearest and the farthest ones, have been rendered out of focus, in the same way as the rifles and heads of two more militiamen we can glimpse in the background (the third one being the man in around his fifties, clad in white fatigue clothes and wearing an army cap with eye shade and a little dark leather strap buckle on its front, being an officer or having some power over the militiamen).

This photograph doesn´t appear in the ICP/STEIDL catalogue book, but has been a part of the This is War! Robert Capa at Work exhibition which has been held since 2007 in New York, London, Milan and Barcelona.

Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Picture in which we can see a Republican militiaman dressed in dark clothes fatigues and cap, grabbing a Mauser rifle with both hands and running down slightly bent (trying to give real combat effect, because in an actual action against the enemy running downwards the soldiers usually bend their bodies to the maximum to offer less target to the enemy) the wheat covered slope towards the right of the frame, while another Republican militiaman (only partially seen, wearing clear clothes, black leather cartridge poaches and a Mauser rifle) on his left is also running down the slope even more bent than the militiaman wearing dark attire and with his bolt rifle grabbed in inverse position with both the rifle gunstock and the sling inadvertently pointing upwards because of the revolutionary overexcitement and euphoria of the militiaman, along with a strong yearning for simulating a downward attack against enemy forces, in the same way as his companion, without realizing that he is being greatly concealed by his comrade´s body on the right.

So, there isn´t any real combat against Francoist troops at this moment, though at the same time, this picture is strange and the man in the background could be simulating a fall backeards as part of the kind of revolutionary spree on the slope, because as previously explained, his Mauser rifle barrel appears with its low area upwards and the leather carrying strap also appears upwards.

On the other hand, when Capa makes this picture, there is a third Republican militiaman running downwards behind the two ones we see in the photograph. The barrel tip and sight of the Mauser 1893 model 7 x 57 mm rifle of this third militiaman not visible in the image (but running behind the two militiamen observable in the picture) appear on top left of the image.

If the man in the background of this picture is simulating a fall backwards, I´m persuaded that this picture could be the one infuriating the Moroccan soldier of Tabor of Regulares on reconnaiisance mission who finally opened fire and preceding the famous Falling Soldier photograph (instant death and quick fall backwards by a high velocity 7 x 57 mm caliber Mauser 1893 bullet piercing his heart at a speed of around 730 m / sec) and the following one of a second different Republican militiaman (who appears on the ground because of the impact of a second 7 x 57 mm bullet fired by the same Moroccan Tabor of Regulares sniper) very seriously wounded but still alive, in a very agonic posture, with his Mosqueton Mauser Model 1916 falling backwards -because his right arm is almost inert and his right hand has lost grabbing strength- and whose barrel tip is touching the ground.

This photograph appears on page 7 of Regards magazine September 24th 1936, and proves that just before the Falling Soldier, there were three more Republican militiamen running down the slope and grabbing Mauser rifles, who tread on a very near area of ground next to the one on which both the Falling Soldier and the next militiaman (whom we can see lying on the ground and very seriously wounded) tumble down near the trench from inside which Capa gets the pictures.

It is very clear that these three consecutive pictures were taken by Capa without a tripod and that none of the militiamen who appear in them haven´t received previous instructions from Capa to intentionally fall backwards faking death. They are acting on their own as part of the kind of revolutionary spree or perhaps ordered by one or more militiaman chiefs.

Besides, unlike the Falling Soldier picture and the following one depicting a very badly injured militiaman on the ground, both of them falling on very near points ( not exactly 100% the same point as some people have said for years, apart from the fact that the Falling Soldier is beginning to fall backwards and the following militiaman is already on the ground, so whatever it may be, there´s some guessing regarding the theory of identical 100% point of contact with the ground after the fall of both militiamen, respectively the fourth and fifth militiamen crossing that stretch of the slope running down- , though there´s also the high possibility defended by forensic expert captain Robert Franks of Memphis that the Falling Soldier stopped near Capa raising his right arm brandishing his rifle, when suddenly the unxepected shot on his chest by a sniper killed him).

And the blurred right foot and slipper of the militiaman in the foreground of this militiaman who appears on page 7 of Regards magazine of September 24th 1936, along with the out of focus rendering of the right part of his trousers is very different to the aspect of his left slipper, ankle and visible left part of his trousers.

Very clearly, this picture which precedes the Falling Soldier, is not a fake either.

Bearing in mind that both the famous Falling Soldier and the next one fall near the area where the three previous militiamen (appearing on page 7 of Regards magazine of September 24th 1936) run down the same stretch of wheat covered slope, I don´t see any evidence at all to prove any faking regarding the quoted three militiamen appearing in Regards magazine, and the same applies to the Falling Soldier and the next one.

Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Square format picture made by Gerda Taro. We can see five militiamen crouched with one knee on the ground of the wheat covered slope while they go up to its top.

It´s absolutely evident that there isn´t any real combat in this picture, because the nearest man to the camera is looking at the sky with left direction, the second one nearest to the camera has his head turned on the right while holds his rifle vertically leaning its buttock on the ground, the man on top right is also looking at the right, the Falling Soldier (the man on top left) is highly bent forward looking at the right and the man just by him holding his rifle vertically with its buttock leaned on the ground is looking slightly at his left in the direction of the Falling Soldier´s head, while on the right background beyond the wheat spikes, we can glimpse the cap of another militiaman which is already on top.

The shadows in this picture are important, because they indicate that the photograph was taken approximately between 17:30 and 18:00 h in the afternoon and the sun beams are coming from the left, id est, the sun is now at mid height over approximately the rotonda of Espejo where the highway Cordoba Granada crosses.

The original 2 1/4 inches square (6 x 6 cm) negative has been in my viewpoint strongly attacked by fungi with the elapse of time.

This photograph doesn´t appear in the ICP/STEIDL catalogue book, but has been a part of the This is War! Robert Capa at War exhibition which has been held since 2007 in New York, London, Milan and Barcelona.

Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Square format picture made by Gerda Taro. We can see ten militiamen and the anarchist veteran chief with military cap and white clothes running on top of the wheat covered slope after having reached it going upwards simulating to attack really non existing Francoist troops on the crest. Some of the militiamen bend forward, pretending to try offering less target to the enemy.

It´s very interesting to realize that the aforementioned anarchist chief or mature man with some power over the militiamen (wearing white clothes and an army cap with eye shade and a little dark leather strap buckle on its front) is the fifth from the left and is not running any way, but clearly walking, captured by Gerda Taro with her Rolleiflex while he is advancing his right leg forward.

Gerda Taro. © ICP New York

- Square format picture made by Gerda Taro. We can see five militiamen in a descending left right diagonal on the slope, crouched with both knees on the ground and simulating to be aiming or shooting against really non existing Francoist troops, the only exception being the man most on the right, who is looking at his Mauser rifle pretending to be cocking again the bolt to load a new bullet.


Text inscribed in the Registry of the Intellectual Property of Madrid.
Copyright Jose Manuel Serrano Esparza. LHSA

Texto inscrito en el Registro Territorial de la Propiedad Intelectual de Madrid.Copyright Jose Manuel Serrano Esparza. LHSA