domingo, 11 de agosto de 2013

DISCOVERED THE LOCATION OF ANOTHER MORE PICTURE MADE BY ROBERT CAPA IN THE AREA OF CERRO MURIANO ON SEPTEMBER 5, 1936 AND PROVED THAT HE GOT IT

SPANISH


Thanks to the top-notch quality vertical rectangular reproduction without any cropping, featuring aspect ratio 2:3 and 100% the same content as the original 24 x 36 mm negative in one of the pages of the book The Spanish People´s Fight for Liberty by A. Ramos Oliveira (edited by the Service of Publications of the Spanish Embassy in London in 1937) of a picture – of which neither the photographer who made it nor the location where it was taken is mentioned- showing some Republican militiamen listening to a harangue, an image that was also published (but in square format) on page 727 of the British magazine The Illustrated London News


of October 24, 1936 (reproducing five photographs - one of which is the subject of this article, and whose authors and the place where they were taken aren´t indicated either- , under the title Spanish Manhood in Civil War: Types of Government Soldiers), elrectanguloenlamano.blogspot.com has been able to discover the location of this picture and also to prove practically without any margin for doubt that Robert Capa was his author, an authorship that was considered until now rather probable in this already known photograph, but whose exact location couldn´t be established until elrectanguloenlamano.blogspot.com pinpointed it in Villa Alicia estate.


Vast majority of the men appearing in this image are Andalusian militiamen along with CNT and FAI anarchist militiamen from Alcoy (Alicante).

And they are in Villa Alicia estate, approximately 1 km in the southwest of Cerro Muriano village (Córdoba) on September 5, 1936, around 12:30 h at midday, location which was found by elrectanguloenlamano.blogspot.com in April 2011.

On the other hand, though it was known that these five pictures had been made by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro (three are taken by Capa working from an elevated position, while Gerda Taro moves standing on the ground among the militiamen and gets two photographs from a very short distance), the difficulties to distinguish details in the photographs were great, because on being the five pictures reproduced in the same page, their size was not very big, and besides, in that period it was very frequent (something that was also done with these five photographs) to reframe the image from the original negative, cropping it in specific areas and leaving them in different aspect ratios which adapted better to the paging and layout needs, in such a way that usually some content was lost and sharpness decreased due to the abundant grain of the black and white chemical emulsions of the time, which became even more apparent on enlarging from concrete zones of the negative.

It all has brought about that sometimes is extremely difficult to state with 100% truthfulness if the authorship of some pictures corresponded to Capa or Taro, something which from a percentage standpoint was more harmful to Gerda Taro, above all during 1936, year in which she worked in Spain with a 2 ¼ x 2 ¼ (6 x 6 cm) medium format Old Standard Rolleiflex and Carl Zeiss jena 7,5 cm f/3.5 lens (while Capa worked with two  35 mm rangefinder cameras, a Leica II (Model D) with Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/2 and a Leica III with Leitz Summar 5 cm f/2), to which must be added the fact that through the agreement that Taro had reached with Capa (greatly created and driven by Taro) all the pictures made by both of them bore the credit Robert Capa, trying to sell them better.

Anyway, elrectanguloenlamano.blogspot.com has been able to prove 100% that Robert Capa was the author of the first photograph appearing on page 727 of the British weekly magazine The Illustrated London News of October 24, 1936 on its upper left area in square format.

On the other hand, in the other known image of this same photograph, though the format is rectangular vertical 2:3, 



there is a lot of cropping:

a) On the left (in such a way that the reframing cuts practically the whole face of the FAI militiaman with stubble of some days and moustache, to such an extent that the three buttons of his clear overalls coincide with the left border – while in the original negative there´s a lot of space left- of the photograph, also cutting the face and dark beret of the Andalusian militiaman with a one-barrelled caliber 16 shotgun on top left corner, hanging on his back).

b) On the right (cutting the left hand of the Andalusian militiaman holding a cigarette between his fingers, leaving outside the reframing the head of the CNT anarchist militiaman wearing a cap and located just in front of the head of the Republican soldier with helmet visible on the upper right corner of the original negative, likewise cropping a lot of surface of the clear blanket of the militiaman whose right arm appears in the lower right area of the image, also cropping approximately one third of the sleeve end and the whole small zone of the wrist included in the original negative).

c) There´s also some cropping – around a 3% in comparison with the original negative- in the lower area of the image, in which there´s visibly more space between the sleeve end of the militiaman whose right arm appears in the lower right area of the image and the lower image of the photograph.

Therefore, in our opinion, the photograph beginning this article and reproduced with great lavishness od detail and almost in full page in the book Spanish People´s Fight for Liberty, by A. Ramos Oliveira is definitive to be able to state without any margin for doubt that this picture was made by Robert Capa, since it appears without any crop and 100% the same content as the original 24 x 36 mm Eastman Kodak Nitrate Panchromatic black and white negative with which the Service of Publications of the Spanish Embassy in London worked in 1937.

In addition, we do believe that the discovery made by elrectanguloenlamano.blogspot.com of Villa Alicia estate (approximately 1 km away from Cerro Muriano village, in the southwest), as the location where both this picture and the other four ones appearing on page 727 of The Illustrated London News of October 1936 were made, is important because it proves - in the same way as the rest of photographs of this series taken in this location- that Capa and Taro greatly risked their lives to do the pictures that September 5, 1936, because Villa Alicia estate was an extremely dangerous area at those moments and the combat front was already a few hundred meters away, in the south slope of Torreárboles hill, which was already being  attacked from around 10:00 h in the morning by Major Sagrado, commanding the left column of the Francoist attack, so all the men depicted in the photographs, Capa and Taro were hearing the noise of machine-gun, rifle and mortar fire coming from there.


Reproduction of the picture in square format in The Illustrated London News of October 24, 1936.

It has been possible thanks to the comparison with the reproduction of this same photograph appearing in the book The Spanish People´s Fight for Liberty, by A. Ramos Oliveira, edited by the Service of Publications of the Spanish Embassy in London in 1937, and in which neither the author nor the place where it was taken is indicated.

Reproduction of the picture in rectangular format 2:3 aspect ratio without any cropping and with 100% the same content as the original 24 x 36 mm negative used in photomechanics in the book The Spanish People´s Fight for Liberty, by A. Ramos Oliveira, edited by the Service of Publications of the Spanish Embassy in London in 1937.

The image appearing in this book, much larger and featuring a far better quality in resolving power, sharpness and acutance than the one published by The Illustrated London News of October 24 1936, shows a 2:3 aspect ratio corresponding to the original negative of the Eastman Kodak Nitrate Panchromatic 24 x 36 mm bulk loaded film used by Capa inside his two Leicas on September 5, 1936, albeit this picture was made with the Leica II (Model D) and his Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 lens.

The image appearing in this book has a great level of detail for its size of vertical reproduction almost in full page, in rectangular format, and is very revealing, since it shows approximately a 6% more of exposed zone in its upper area, in which you can perfectly see all the dark CNT cap of the Anarchist militiaman from Alcoy (Alicante) wearing a dark overalls and a big white handkerchief around his neck, unlike this same picture reproduced in The Illustrated London News of October 24, 1936, which was cropped in its upper area and in which the top border of the image cuts the militiaman´s cap in such a way that approximately a 65% of it can´t be seen.

On the other hand, the comparison between both photographs clearly reveals that the image appearing in the British weekly magazine was very cropped in its lower area (approximately a 15%, id est, more than double than on top), because between the index finger of the right hand of the Andalusian militiaman clad in dark thin cloak, shotgun and checkered design beret and the lower border of the image there´s much less space than in the image reproduced from the original 35 mm negative in the book Spanish People´s Fight for Liberty, by A. Ramos Oliveira, something that also happens regarding the distance from the lowest button of the clear garment of the militiaman appearing on far left of the photograph with stubble of some days and moustache to the lower border of the picture, likewise being possible to see that in the image reproduced by the Bristish magazine, the right arm of a militiaman wearing clear clothes and partially visible on the lower right corner of the image is horizontally cropped very much over the area of the sleeve in the reproduction of the English magazine, while in the very big and top-notch quality reproduction of the book The Spanish People´s Fight for Liberty, by A. Ramos Oliveira, the area of exposed image reaches far lower, and you can see the complete border of the sleeve of the militiaman´s clear garment, part of his right wrist and even some of the upper zone of his trousers.

This photograph was made on September 5, 1936 by Robert Capa with the Leica II (Model D) given away 25 years later by Julia Friedmann (Robert Capa´s mother) to her great friend and photographer Lisl Steiner shortly before her death in 1961.

It´s truly amazing the resolving power of the Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 used by Capa to get the picture. This lens, a milestone optical design by Professor Max Berek, was in 1936 the world benchmark as to standard objectives for 35 mm format, along with the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/1.5 and the Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5 cm f/2 designed by Ludwig Bertele.

MID-TONE PLATE MADE FROM THE ORIGINAL 24 X 36 MM BLACK AND WHITE NEGATIVE
On the other hand, evidence suggests strongly that with this image (unlike others appearing in the book), the Service of Publications of the Spanish Embassy in London worked with the original 24 x 36 mm Eastman Kodak Nitrate Panchromatic black and white negative, which was sent form Paris to the Bristish capital by Maria Eisner, Director of Alliance Photo Agency, who commercialized Capa and Taro´s pictures at those moments.


But once more, the towering figure of a discrete great man (exceedingly methodical and disciplined, featuring an outstanding level of self-commitment, remarkable manual skill and very high quality craftsmanship working parameters in everything he did, and whose wish was always to take a back seat, emerges on the scene.

The superb reproduction quality in the aforementioned book of this photograph in vertical rectangular format at a large size and with the 2:3 aspect ratio and full content of the original 24 x 36 mm black and white negative exposed by Capa with his Leica II (Model D) was possible thanks to Csiki Weisz (Capa, Chim and Taro´s darkroom and printing man, who had been Capa´s great friend in Budapest since his childhood),



Leitz metallic cassette from 1936 for bulk loaded nitrate panchromatic black and white 35 mm film.




who was the person that developed this negative (belonging to the bulk loaded Eastman Kodak Nitrate Panchromatic 35 mm film roll) in Paris,

Leitz Correx development tank from 1936 for 35 mm film, made in bakelite, with its reel and apron
 
optimizing the acutance through the use of Agfa Rodinal developer, which enabled that the Service of Publications of the Spanish Embassy in London could work with the excellent original negative (cut by Csiki Weisz from the developed bulkloaded 35 mm film roll and delivered to Maria Eisner, who sent it to London), from which a mid-tone plate was made for its use in photomechanic printing, getting very good detail, without any sharpness loss, in spite of the big reproduction size in the book for the time, a bit larger than 18 x 24 cm.

AN IMAGE ACCURATELY DEPICTING WHAT WAR REALLY IS AND THE REACTIONS AND FEELINGS THAT IT BRINGS ABOUT IN THE ONES TAKING PART IN IT
In the same way as happens with the rest of images taken by Robert Capa and Gerda Taro in Villa Alicia estate during the harangue imparted by two different anarchist militiamen chiefs, the anguish, stress and concern are very apparent on the faces of the persons appearing in this photograph, 



which is also relevant because Capa makes the framing in such a way that (unlike the rest of pictures of this series in which the presence of CNT and FAI militiamen from Alcoy is numerically more significant and appear in a bigger size) the Andalusian militiamen are the ones mostly being the main characters and being nearer the camera:

- The Andalusian militiaman dominating the lower area of the image. He´s looking at the anarchist militiaman delivering the speech trying to encourage them before the impending combat. He is wearing a clear shirt, a kind of dark thin cloak whose buttons are unfastened with the exception of the one nearest his neck, dark trousers and a checkered design beret on his head.

His gun is a simple two-barrelled shotgun - protruding behind his beret - , whose efficient range is around 40-50 meters, which he has used to hunt rabbits, hares and small birds for many years to be able to eat some meat, because the huge economical precariousness of the time usually prevented the peasants, day laborers, farmers, workers of all kind of factories and building sector masons from the access to beef, fish and fruit to complement their deficient nourishment, mainly based on bread, legumes and soups, in such a way that mothers had often to do miracles with the ingredients and the quantities in order that the families could subsist.

A clear jacket is leaned on his left shoulder.

His countenance reveals apparent concern.

The context is dramatic to the utmost and gloomily surrealistic, since this man with his caliber 12 two-barrelled shotgun hasn´t got any chance whatsoever against the professional Francoist troops from the Army of Africa (made up by legionnaries and Moroccan tabors of regulares, who from a military viewpoint are elite head-on engagement infantry, specially in offensive missions), equipped with long barrel Mauser 1893 caliber 7 x 57 mm and Mauser 1916 7 x 57 mm caliber featuring lethal range up to 2,000 meters, with which they´re able to accurately kill up to 600 meters handholding the gun and up to approximately 900 meters and even more if they have a firm base on which support the gun.

- The Andalusian militiaman appearing on the right of the image, wearing a dark beret lit by the sun and holding a cigarette (maybe the last one he will be able to smoke) between his index finger and middle finger of his left hand. He´s clad in clear attire which is rather dirty and wrinkled by use.

Though this man seems to be around 40-45 years, he probably isn´t more than 30 years old, because of the very hard life conditions of the time, both in the countryside and in the factories, which catalyzed a premature aging.

His face is fairly roughened by many years of piecework, from dawn to dusk and enduring all sorts of hardships.

Obviously, this immediately previous to battle context is utterly alien to his life experience.

He appears with his gaze lost, and he´s not looking at the anarchist chief giving the harangue, but thinking for himself, probably about his family and most beloved relatives. His gesture shows avident concern. Logically, he fears for his life, since he knows that the Francoist professional troops from the Army of Africa wll attack them very soon, and he is also afraid of not seeing his woman and children any more and leaving his family defenseless.

- The Andalusian militiaman wearing a clear straw big hat, appearing behind the checkered beret of the Andalusian militiaman with the two-barrelled shotgun. His countenance reveals that he is paying top attention to the anarchist chief giving the speech, and the very stressed expression of his eyes clearly shows that he´s fully aware of the seriousness of the upcoming situation in which they will have to fight for their lives.
Because of the nervousness, he´s unfastened the second button of his shirt, but not the highest one.

The strain is tangible on his face. ´ This is a very serious business ´.

- The Andalusian militiaman wearing a long sleeved white shirt and a dark beret, and showing stubble, located just behind the one wearing the typical straw big hat.

He is looking at the speaker and listening to his words with top attention and deep concern.

Nevertheless ( it couldn´t be other way, because there were many of them in Villa Alicia estate, Torreárboles hill and Las Malagueñas hill, and they were the ones who greatly managed to curb the onslaughts of legionnaries and tabors of regulares for around ten hours), many CNT and FAI militiamen from Alcoy appear in the photograph:

a) The FAI militiaman from Alcoy appearing in the foreground on the left of the picture, with a probably red handkerchief around his neck and a clear overalls with large pockets of which three buttons can be seen and being rather dirty from the abdominal area downward.

We can only see half of the body, which is vertically cut by the left border of the negative.

This man shows stubble of some days and is not looking at the camera or the anarchist militiaman giving the harangue. He has been photographed by Capa thinking for himself, very worried and in deep introspection, with his mind probably focused on his family and most beloved relations. He does know that there are high chances that he won´t see them again.

b) The CNT militiaman from Alcoy (Alicante) occupying the upper half of the picture and appearing just behind the left shoulder of the Andalusian militiaman with a two-barrelled shotgun and a checkered beret.

He´s wearing dark overalls and CNT cap, and a large white handkerchief surrounds his neck.

The facial expression of this militiaman from Alcoy is exceedingly eloquent and full of anguish. He´s listening paying top attention to the speaker´s words, whose message has perfectly understood, but he doesn´t look at him any more and is visibly concerned and pensive.

c) The very young militiaman wearing a military peaked cap and a short-sleeved white shirt, appearing just beside the anarchist militiaman from Alcoy with the big white handkerchief around his neck.

It´s not easy to know the provenance of this militiaman, whose military peaked cap was probably captured during the assault to a barracks in the previous weeks, in late July or during August of 1936.

Although it can seem that this man is looking at the camera, he isn´t, and has been captured by Capa in deep thought and with his mouth opened because of the anxiety, for he has perfectly understood the message delivered by the anarchist chief giving the harangue to encourage them before the imminent combat: the Francoist troops from the Army of Africa have come to kill them and they will have to also kill if they want to survive.

The emotional impact generated by the anarchist chief pronouncing the harangue is so big that he isn´t looking at him any longer and has turned his head 90º with respect to him and is apparently thoughtful, with a countenance noticeably reflecting deep concern.

This is a completely different context to the one that prevailed in the rearguards, above all during this first year of Civil War, in which a lot of murders were committed by both sides.

What can be seen in these images are men with barely any military drill or prowess in the handle of guns, who are about to engage the Francoist troops of the Army of Africa, whose commanding officers have a great combat experience in colonial war in Morocco from early twenties, which turns the battle into a highly unequal struggle.

It´s certainly unusual and somewhat stunning that the men appearing in the image (who were finally wiped out by the legionaries commanded by Francoist majors Sagrado and Baturone during the evening-night of September 5, 1936) could hold for so many hours the onslaughts of the very professional Francoist troops from the Army of Africa).

It´s true that this kind of popular militias lacked discipline to greater or lesser degree and hadn´t any experience in the handling of guns or military drill, and besides, their combat morale wasn´t very high.

But evidently, it couldn´t be other way, since these men came from the most various occupations of civil society and suddenly found themselves immersed in the maelstrom of the Spanish Civil War.

Bearing in mind the circumstances, they did much more than could be expected, plucking up courage and fighting against fairly experienced professional troops, managing to curb them for some hours until being wiped out.

A lot of mettle was needed to be in Villa Alicia estate on September 5, 1936 (it was a maximum danger area) trying to avoid the encirclement of the north slope of Torreárboles hill by the Francoist troops from the Army of Africa.

d) The Andalusian militiaman wearing a small dark hat, whose head protrudes behind the beret of the Andalusian militiaman smoking a cigarette.

The facial expression of this man speaks volumes. He´s looking at the haranguing anarchist chief and has already understood the message. His mouth is open, pants, sweats profusely and has momentarily lost the control on the movement of his eyes.

In the same way as happens with the Andalusian militiaman smoking a cigarette, this man seems to be around 40 years old, but probably isn´t more than 28 or 30. His face is very weathered by decades of hard work from sunrise to sunset under gruesome conditions in exchange of a miserable salary, which has made him begin to prematurely get old. The left area of his garment appears rather dirty.

e) Behind this Andalusian militiaman wearing a small black hat appear the heads of four anarchist militiamen from Alcoy. They all are listening to the anarchist chief haranguing them, and their facial expressions show great concern for the impending developments.

In this regard, the eyes of the Alcoyano militiaman whose head appears by the nose of the man clad in a dark overalls and a large white handkerchief around his neck, are exceedingly meaningful.

f) In the upper right area of the image can be seen the helmet and half of the face of a Republican soldier listening to the speech, which confirms once more the heterogeneous composition of the Republican forces present in the area on September 5, 1936.

g) In the upper left area of the image, behind the right shoulder of the militiaman with the big white handkerchief around his neck, can be seen an Andalusian militiaman with a straw hat, a small handkerchief around his neck and an unbuttoned shirt up to almost the abdominal zone, who is listening with top attention the words pronounced by the anarchist chief haranguing them.

h) Behind the right shoulder of the Andalusian militiaman wearing a white shirt and beret appearing in the upper half of the photograph, there´s an exceedingly young militiaman from Alcoy wearing an anarchist CNT or FAI cap, who is highly pensive and worried, and beside him, there is an Andalusian militiaman with dark garment and beret, who is probably carrying a one-barrelled 16 caliber shotgun on his shoulder.

© José Manuel Serrano Esparza.
Inscribed in the Territorial Registry of the Intellectual Property of Madrid