miércoles, 26 de septiembre de 2012


Editor´s Note.-
On page 149 of his essay Controversias sobre el catálogo razonado de Gerda Taro (Controversies on the reasoned catalogue of Gerda Taro), published by the Discursos Fotográficos magazine ( a six-monthly publication of the Program of Postgraduates in Communication of the State University of Londrina (State of Paraná, Brazil) v.8,n.13, year 2012, in PDF format,

José Manuel Susperregui Echeveste comments a photograph (Figure 4) made by Robert Capa in the area of Cerro Muriano on September 5, 1936, saying:

´ Images 4 and 5 were made by Robert Capa during a meeting in the Finca of Villa Alicia near Cerro Muriano. In the first one, a militiaman is addressing to the rest of the group exclusively made by men, with the exception of a woman whose head sticks out on the left side, as can be observed in the enlargement (figure 5). The great similarity of this feminine face with Gerda Taro´s one is unmistakable. This time, Taro attends the rally as a further militant of the Popular Front, while Robert Capa makes his photojournalistic work ´.

Without citing the source of the information.

That information appeared two years ago in the article published by elrectanguloenlamano.blogspot.com on August 1, 2010, whose author is José Manuel Serrano Esparza and titled :

Gerda Taro: Centenary of Her Birthday and Identification on a September 5, 1936 Picture Made in Cerro Muriano Area

whose application of rights inscription was presented in the General Registry of the Intellectual Property of Madrid on August 4, 2010, being the rights inscription made in the Registry of the Intellectual Property of Madrid by Resolution of date March 22, 2011 number M-006495/2010 .

Therefore, the finding that the head of the woman which can be seen on far left of the aforementioned image is Gerda Taro´s one was made by José Manuel Serrano Esparza, in the same way as the discovery of the location of the picture in the Finca of Villa Alicia, near Cerro Muriano, which was also made by José Manuel Serrano Esparza, both findings having been made during the last week of July 2010, and appeared in our photographic blog elrectanguloenlamano.blogspot.com in the previously quoted article of date August 1, 2010

Those findings were the fruit of a lot of years of strenuous efforts and research made by José Manuel Serrano Esparza .

On the other hand, the statement that Gerda Taro didn´t make any pictures during her first year in Spain in 1936 and that she was only with Capa as a companion, is an utter fallacy, because it has been totally proved by the deep studies fulfilled by Irme Schaber (top world expert on Gerda Taro, who has devoted almost twenty years of her life to the deep study of the German photojournalist pictures since 1994, year in which she published her book Gerda Taro fotoreporterin im spanischen Bürgerkriek with Jonas Verlag editorial, also being one of the editors of the extraordinary book Gerda Taro ICP Steidl in 2007), Kristen Lubben (Associate Curator of ICP New York, a remarkable expert on Gerda Taro - she was one of the editors of Gerda Taro ICP Steidl great book in 2007- and an international authority on photography with masterpieces like Magnum Contact Sheets book), Cynthia Young (ICP Curator, who along with Kristen Lubben organized with a lot of effort the great travelling exhibition Gerda Taro which was consecutively active between October 2008 and April 2011 at the Barbican Art Gallery London, Milan FORMA, Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Círculo de Bellas Artes of Madrid and University of Salamanca) and elrectanguloenlamano.blogspot.com that Gerda Taro made a lot of photographs during 1936 in Barcelona, Aragón Front, Madrid, Cerro Muriano and Espejo using a 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ medium format Rolleiflex (which she would change for a Leica II Model D in February 1937, though she went on getting some pictures with her medium format Rolleiflex until early March 1937), which was highly praiseworthy, not only because her experience photographing was lesser, but because during that year 1936 she used a much heavier and bulkier camera than the two Leicas used by Capa, with the added disadvantage that on being a camera using 120 rolls with only 12 shots (unlike Capa´s Leicas that used 35 mm film with 36 shots), it made her have to select her pictures to the utmost, because of the constant risk of running out of film or having to draw the finished 120 roll and insert a new one in the middle of the action.

In addition, the reason for which Gerda Taro doesn´t appear with her 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 medium format Rolleiflex with which she made a lot of pictures in Spain during 1936, is because throughout that year it was still in full effect the agreement that had been reached by Endre Enrö Friedmann and Taro to commercialize the photographs made by both of them with the credit Robert Capa of a then supposed successful American photographer who was really the young Hungarian photojournalist Endre Enrö Friedmann, with the aim of selling more, so Gerda Taro evoided almost always during 1936 to appear with her medium format camera in any picture posing with Republican militiamen, militiawomen or in other contexts, in order that the reality (id est, that both of them were taking a lot of pictures in different fronts, Capa with his 35 mm Leicas and Taro with her medium format 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 Rolleiflex, though every image was put the credit Robert Capa), a ruse with which until February 1936 she not only agreed but it was she who had created that strategy, above due to survival reasons, because the years 1934, 1935 and even 1936 were hard for both of them, suffering from constant economical shortages, while from February 1937, Gerda taro decided to become independent as a photojournalist, her credit began to appear in a number of magazines clearly indicating her authorship as Taro, and used since then until her death a Leica II (Model D) with Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/2, which from late May 1937 (moment in which Capa changed to a Contax II) complemented with the use of one of the Leicas that had previously been used by Capa in Spain and which was lent by him to her: a Leica III with Leitz Summar 5 cm f/2.

That´s why unlike 1936, there are some picture of 1937 in which gerda taro appears posing with a Leica camera, because during that year (unlike 1936) she wasn´t interested in concealing her authorship, but just the opposite.

Besides, there´s further irrefutable evidence that Gerda Taro didn´t come to Spain as a ´ mere companion of Capa in the meetings during 1936 ´ but as a war photographer using a binocular 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ medium format camera, with which she made a lot of pictures during that year.

It is the account made by the Spanish journalist Clemente Cimorra on the March of the Action in Cerro Muriano, written on September 6, 1936 and published in La Voz newspaper of Madrid in its number of September 8, 1936, regarding the facts that had happened during the evening-night of September 5, 1936, when this Spanish journalist met and watched Gerda Taro and Robert Capa taking pictures, each one with his/her own camera in his/her hands, in the area of Las Malagueñas (a 589 m hill near Cerro Muriano on whose summit was the Republican advanced command post – whose chief was commander Juan Bernal- inside a big country house called Casa de Las Malagueñas).

Clemente Cimorra, in the epigraph “VU” AND “REGARDS” of such account, remembers:
´ On arriving at the House of " La Malagueña ", two almost childlike youngsters - both she and he - , draw my attention. Unarmed, without any further object between their hands than their photographic cameras, showing no fear, they spy the movements of an aircraft which flutters vertically, disquietingly over their heads ´.

That´s to say, Clemente Cimorra watches both photojournalists, Capa (who is working for Vu) and Gerda Taro (who is working for Regards) getting pictures, each one using his/her own camera (in that period it was very frequent in Spain to call ´tomavistas´ to photographic cameras), during the final hours of the attacked launched by the Moroccan troops of Tabor of Regulares under the command of Francoist colonel Sáenz de Buruaga, which would eventually capture the Hill of Las Malagueññas and the Republican advanced command post during the night of September 5, 1936.

Translation into English of Clemente Cimorra´s account:

Report on the March of the action in Cerro Muriano
List of honour of combatants, episodes of the fight and
praise of a French marriage of journalists.


In my last chronicle, which I don´t know whether it will arrive or when it will arrive at the newspaper, I wrote at six o´clock in the morning that, because of the features of the enemy fire, a hard day was foreseeable.

And it has been the going out, the breaking of the Cordovan siege through one of its sides, previously chosen the most defenseless place regarding the foresight of our troops.

At night they have crawled through the gulchies - the eternal tactics of the Moors -and they have appeared before the sun being high.

In a moment, the whole area of the mount has been ravagely fired with lights and shots.

On being the least sheltered hills, we´re bound to quickly organize the force. The attack is a thorough combined onslaught of aviation, intense big caliber ordnance and heavy rifle volleys.

As always happens in these cases, the instant in which only the reduced zone surrounding us -and not the global of the operation-, arrives soon. Major Bernal personally attends to the combats.

In the scale of enthusiasms there is every tone, from the greatest to the tiniest one. We must highlight the good ones - whom we see by us - so as to be fair and as a warning to the mediocre ones.

The first cheers for the Spanish Republic to infuse courage tension resound inside the throat of Francisco González, a simple private of the workers section of Graphic Arts in the War Ministry of Tenerife and now on duty with the Escort of the Republican Military Staff. With his face transfigured with harangue and thrust, he runs down the slope leaping over the dwarf oaks and dribbling the pines. We advance followed by a group of soldiers ready to defend the hill from further danger.

With the foe rifle muzzles right here, on this little hill in front of us, we protect a machine gun position.

A specially worthy soldier among the Republican military men, the number 34 infantry sergeant first class Julián Contreras Claros, who was already promoted because of merits in the action of Puente Mocho, sweaty, panting, directs the movements of our litle troop to advance with the machines.

Only the one being, though for a short time, by this man, can attest to how valuable is the management of a soldier in command when he puts on it all of his courage, stamina, manliness and love for what he´s defending.

I´m next to him, and following his instructions I place myself behind a strategic oak. Its trunk, wrinkled and veteran of scars, doesn´t cover my whole body. Sometimes I´d wish to be thin as a bad stick.

There´s a good handful of Republican militiamen near me. As well as looking for the dangerous place, they don´t change even slightly when they arrive at it.

Crouched on the same top peak, under a steady whistle of stainless-steel, Rafael Miralles, this good old man of the F.A.I is indeed among the most firm. A bit farther are Enrique Bañó and Felipe Colomé, respectively chief and assistant chief of militias, taking responsabilities on their own right.

In the din of battle, this kind of enumeration, perhaps resembling a bit some kind of society echoes, will seem absurd. But, under my word of honour that it can be made within an instant interval when one is trully physically here. Let´s mention likewise lieutenant Roig, sergeant La Cruz and captain la Romana.

And only the very good ones moving before my eyes defile in these notes.

The leaves beards of the oak - the good oak - protecting me are being scraped by bullets over my head. With a moan, they have torn the poor tree a branch apart.

We can see a row of Regulares Moroccan soldiers running on a ravine in front of us.

During a short calming of the shots, I bid farewell to these people and go more upwards to get news in the epicenter and headquarters of the scattered force.

The rifle barrel is burning to such an extent that it can´t be squeezed with one´s hand. On climbing up the short steep inclines, bullets speak their whistle language and pierce the mount eardrums. The dum-dum bullets metalize their impacts. Sure enough, this is a shooting exchange. The recollection of my times in Africa dwindles. Voices, running soldiers. Uproar, clangor and sweat.

" VU " and " REGARDS "

On arriving at the House of " La Malagueña ", two almost childlike youngsters - both she and he - , draw my attention. Unarmed, without any other object between their hands than their respective photographic cameras, showing no fear, they spy the movements of an aircraftwhich flutters vertically, disquietingly over their heads.

I address to them. A self-introduction amid the strife noises:

Robert Capa, from "Vu", journalist ...

- Gerda Pohorylle, from "Regards" ...

- Clemente Cimorra, I think that something like envoy from LA VOZ ... Currently, a dirty man, full of dust and yearning for our aviation ...

Believe me, this topic of the journalistic boldness is not myth or hyperbole. The two French youngsters I´m going with now want and manage to do the film of both the movie and the piece of information in the very flame of the event.

Next to me, they face the most struck by bullets places, and pledging themselves with a forward!, with which husband and wife encourage each other, they´d wish to photograph the steeled scowl of the enemy rifles. It´s the naive pluck of the unselfish youth looking for the document. Besides, gauche people, which is the interesting thing.

* * *

The nightfall brings about the shooting decrease in a lot of areas. At night we rest with our mouths thoroughly dried and the bodies perspired ...

An effective performance of our aviation is expected tomorrow ...

And combats will go on in a harsh way. Although a lot of mean people from many European
countries want to support the most rotten of Spain ...

                                                                                                                                                          CLEMENTE CIMORRA

Muriano, September 6th 1936.