sábado, 5 de septiembre de 2015

ROBERT CAPA, PICTURES OF THE MASSIVE FLIGHT FROM CERRO MURIANO: ALL THE IMAGES

SPANISH



The investigations made by José Manuel Serrano Esparza between 2008 and this year 2015 on the areas between Cerro Muriano, the old Obejo train station and El Vacar, along with the Finca de Villa Alicia, approximately one kilometer in the southwest of Cerro Muriano village, enabled him to discover the authorship and location of many new pictures of refugees of Cerro Muriano made by Robert Capa on September 5, 1936 which were unknown. The photographs were taken during the massive flight of the civil population because of the air attacks of the Francoist aviation, from midday to the afternoon — the air raids were intensified from around 15:00 h — of that date. Beginning with the seven pictures of refugees made by Capa and already known — three of them located by José Manuel Serrano Esparza, another one by Juan Romero Ruiz and a further one whose zone was delimitated by Patricio Hidalgo Luque — we can know at present a total of fourteen pictures, in such a way that an exceedingly advance has been fulfilled regarding the insight on the extraordinary reportage The Flight of the Refugees from Cerro Muriano, made by Robert Capa in the aforementioned date and which sets up one of the greatest milestones in both his professional career as a war photographer and the History of Photojournalism.
Alfonso del Barrio. Director of FV Photography magazine.

1)
                                Photo: Robert Capa. © ICP New York


Photograph taken by Capa beside the Cortijo of Villa Alicia — within the estate bearing that name and located around one kilometer in the southwest of the village of Cerro Muriano — , very few meters before reaching it, in the stretch of  public way that passes next to it, known as Public Way of Villa Alicia or Public Way of the Written Stone, with Torrearboles hill skyline visible in the background.

Discovery of the location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in May of 2010.

We can see a tall man walking in the middle of two black donkeys. He wears dark trousers and jacket, white shirt and a hat. He seems to be the father of the children who appear behind him, a teenage girl just on his right, wearing a black shirt whose left sleeve is turned up, mounted on a donkey, a little child going after her and mounted on another donkey and whose head protrudes from the left arm of the quoted young girl, a man in the far right background (hardly visible, mounted on a white donkey and wearing a cap with shade on his head), a little girl being approximately between 6-8 years old who is mounted on the black horse which is in the image with a telegraph post ascending from the upper area of her right arm and is wearing a clear jacket and dark shirt, while her hair is very tousled, because of the stress of the escape, with her chin being partially hidden by the right tip of the black horse; and behind her, on the extreme left area of the photograph, we can see a woman dressed with a dark garment, mounted on a white donkey and taking with her an absolutely lovely very little baby who has been captured by Robert Capa with all of his charm.

This picture was almost unknown until the This is War! Robert Capa at Work exhibition held throughout 2007 and 2008, in which it was unveiled that it had been made by Robert Capa, though its location wasn´t known.

2) 
                                  Photo: Robert Capa. © ICP New York


Vertical photography, made by Robert Capa on September 5th 1936 at midday, next to the Cortijo of Villa Alicia, on the small adjacent esplanade.

Discovery of the location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in September of 2008.

In this photograph we can see a mature woman on the left, wearing dark apparel, holding a little child in her arms and a man on the right clad with the typical Andalusian hat, clear jacket with dark right pocket, dark trousers and white slippers, who is  taking a little girl between his arms.

You can also see an approximately between 7 and 9 years old boy in short trousers and a donkey in the background with a hardly glimpsed very little child mounted on it.

This is the second photograph of refugees taken by Capa around high noon beside the Cortijo of Villa Alicia, in the southwest of Cerro Muriano village, approximately one kilometer and two hundred meters from the roundabout linking the CP-45 way and the old N-432 Granada-Badajoz highway.

This photograph appeared in three different media:

a) Vu magazine, number 445, page 1107 of September 23, 1936.


The image is reproduced in horizontal 2:3 proportion, and approximately a third of the right top half of the picture is cut by the lower left area of a photograph made by Georg Reisner, also in Cerro Muriano, that same day.

But on the right of the image, just from the left arm of the girl taken in his arms by the man wearing an Andalusian hat who appears in the background, you can see part of the saddlebags of a donkey, on which other escaping persons — out of image — are mounted.

b) On page 64 of Photo-History I magazine from 1937, edited by Richard Storrs Childs, Ernest Galarza and Sidney Pollatsek, in Concord, N.H.Editorial and General Offices, 155 East 44th Street New York City, Modern Age Books, Inc, United States.


The image appears reproduced in a 2:3 vertical format, and the upper area of a telegraph post protrudes over the head of the mature woman in the foreground carrying the baby in her arms.

The photograph was edited cutting the picture vertically, just on the right of the left arm of the girl who is being taken in his arms by the man clad in an Andalusian hat visible in the background, eliminating the out of focus saddlebags appearing on the right of the picture in the original horizontal negative featuring roughly a 20% more of exposed surface and information on the right.

c) On page 82 of the book Robert Capa, Photographic Work, edited by Phaidon Press, the image appears reproduced with a vertical 2:3 aspect ratio, very similar to the one on page 64 of Photo-History I magazine from 1937, and it has likewise been edited cutting the right area in which the aforementioned saddlebags appears in the original black and white negative.

Therefore, since this picture was edited and reproduced in different formats, there were some doubts as to its authorship by Capa or Taro, but it can be stated almost 100% that it was made by Capa with his Leica II (Model D) and a Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 lens, exposing an original bulk loaded 24 x 36 mm Eastman Kodak Panchromatic Nitrate b & w negative featuring an approximate sensitivity of Weston 32 (equivalent to around ISO 40), which was edited vast majority of times cutting from the left arm of the previously mentioned girl.

3)

Picture made by Capa in the Finca of Villa Alicia on September 5, 1936, approximately at 12:30 h, beside the Cortijo de Villa Alicia, during the evacuation of civil population from the zone, because of the attack of the third column of Francoist troops against the south slope of Torreárboles hill, to whose north side both the Finca of Villa Alicia and the Cortijo of Villa Alicia are adjacent.

Discovery of the location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza, in September of 2011.

The man appearing in the image mounted on a donkey, is taking a little girl in his arms.

The father, the little girl and Capa are hearing the rifle, machine gun and artillery shots exchanged between the Republican defenders placed on the summit of Torreárboles hill and the Francoist troops of the third attacking column — the one on the left — under the command of major Sagrado trying to assault the south slope of this crest.

Capa gets this picture at very few meters from the spot in which he makes the picture 1) in which a father next to a donkey and all of his family behind him, also on donkeys, are fleeing from the Cortijo of Villa Alicia.

The enlargement of the right area of this image clearly shows that Capa made this photograph around ten meters behind, in the same tract of public way going beside the Cortijo de Villa Alicia, also known as public way of Piedra Escrita.

Capa has moved quickly, striving after capturing the hasty flight of all these frightened people from every angle, as well as striving after photographing different persons.

The man depicted on the left of this image mounted on a donkey, wearing a dark beret along with clear shirt and taking a little girl in his arms, is not the same man appearing in the aforementioned picture 1) clad in a clear beret, dark shirt and also mounted on a donkey, who isn´t holding any child in his arms.

4) 


Picture made by Capa beside the Cortijo de Villa Alicia — in the southwest of Cerro Muriano and at a distance of approximately 1,100 meters from the current roundabout linking the CP-45 way and the old N-432 Granada-Badajoz highway —, at around 300 meters beyond it, in the direction of the hill and with the slope of Torreárboles being visible in the background, nearer than in the other two photographs of refugees made by Capa next to that cortijo.

Capa made the picture approximately at 12:30 h.

This photograph appears in one of the pages of the illustrated book The Spanish People´s Fight for Liberty, compiled by A. Ramos Oliveira and published in 1937 by the Press Department of the Spanish Embassy in London, without indicating either the authorship or the location where it was made.

Discovery of the authorship and location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in May 2010.

In this horizontal photograph we can see two little children mounted on a donkey, with the clear profile of Torreárboles hill visible in the background, on the left of both of them, in an ascending direction towards the upper left corner of the image. The elder brother is holding the little one, who is sitting on a pillow and with his naked right leg apparent.

Both children are wearing pieces of white fabric probably knotted by their mother and put on their heads to protect them from sun beams.

We can also glimpse the black beret and the shadowed face of a man, probably the father or grandfather of both brothers, protruding over the pillow, while a checkered blanket on the packsaddle on the left of the image and the right eye of the donkey in the lower right area of the picture are discernible too.

5) 
                               Photo: Robert Capa. © ICP New York

Horizontal picture made by Capa on September 5, 1936, at approximately 15:00 h, within the village of Cerro Muriano and in which appears a mother mounted on a donkey, holding in her arms a little child wrapped with a white blanket and a straw hat just on the right, beside which can be glimpsed part of the head of another of his sons.

In the background two windows can be seen under a powerful sun bringing about a high key area.

Just on the right of the donkey, there´s a little girl — Josefa Ruiz´s eldest child — eating what seems to be an apple.

Discovery of the location of this picture and identification of the woman: Juan Romero Ruiz, son of Josefa Ruiz, who is the woman on the donkey.

Juan Romero Ruiz, the child appearing in the image wrapped in a white blanket, discovered Josefa Ruiz, his mother, when Adela Romero Blanque, Josefa Ruiz´s great granddaughter, showed him in 2005 a book which included this photographed reproduced in one of its pages, reporting it all in a reportage made in August 2006 by Patricia Fonseca and Bruno Rascao and published by the Portuguese magazine Visao in September 2006.

These people advancing from left to right in the image, are fleeing from Cerro Muriano, going to the north of the village, trying to arrive at soon as possible at the Obejo Train Station and El Vacar.

Capa gets the picture from an exceedingly close distance, with a very tight framing, cutting some of the woman´s head on top and a third of the donkey in the lower left area of the negative.

From this photograph on, all the images of refugees created by Capa correspond to people escaping from the village of Cerro Muriano — which is being bombed by the Francoist aircraft — and advancing northwards, in the direction of the old Obejo Train Station and El Vacar.

6) 
                               Photo: Robert Capa. © ICP New York


Picture made by Robert Capa and whose authorship was known since nineties in which it was unveiled by Cornell Capa during an exhibition on his brother Robert Capa in Japan.

It was captured around 400 meters from the north exit of Cerro Muriano to the refugees who can be seen in the image, fleeing from the Francoist bombing of the village with aircraft, walking on the left of the Córdoba-Almorchón railway, in a stretch in which it features a pronounced slope on the adjacent flat ground through which the persons visible in the picture are advancing, going to Obejo Train Station (approximately 5 kilometers from Cerro Muriano) and El Vacar (roughly 11 km).

In this tract, the rails of the railway, covered by the bodies of the refugees appearing in the photograph, were in 1936 much more levelled between each other than currently in which the rails of the left area just by the slope feature a visible slant with respect to the ones located on the right, because of the lack of maintenance and many years elapsed, since this railroad was abandoned as a passenger means of transport in 1974, remaining restricted to goods conveyance, until the 4,2 km previous to the entrance in Córdoba were destroyed in 1992, which meant the end of the operating life of this railway line, whose path was one of the most beautiful in the whole history of the Spanish trains, with landscapes of unmatched natural beauty, particularly when crossing Sierra Morena.

In the colour picture made in August 2015, the two buildings which can be seen in the background on the left, the streetlights, the high voltage tower and its cables, the fence and the traffic sign of the N-432a national highway didn´t exist when Capa made this picture on September 5, 1936.

Discovery of the location of this photograph: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in August of 2015.

In the middle of the image there´s a young mother wearing white apparel and slippers, taking her baby in her arms, while grabbing with her right hand a straw hat with a hole.

On her right, two men are walking: one is approximately 20 years old and is taking on his back, leant on his right shoulder, a heavy backpack with personal belongings, and another one seeming to be older is taking a large sack on his left shoulder and has been captured by Capa when he´s adjusting the straw hat to prevent the sun from inciding on his face.

On the right half of the image, behind the woman and the two men leading the group, most of them probably belonging to the same family, there are some further people walking: a teenage girl clad in a clear dress and grabbing the handle of a metallic bucket with a little cat inside, an around thirty years old man taking a wicker basket full of personal belongings on his head, and a woman walking beside him, of whom only her left leg, left shoulder and left half of the head can be glimpsed.

Rearmost, on the right corner of the image, an approximately ten years old girl is walking taking her little brother with her hand.

7) 
                                 Photo: Robert Capa. © ICP New York

Picture made by Capa in which there are are three women wearing black dresses and walking under a scorching sun.

Two of them — the one in the middle and the one on the left — are young.

The one on the left is carrying a very little baby in her arms and the one in the center is taking an approximately 4 years old blond little girl with his right arm while she has to do a physical overstrain to grab the right arm of the old woman appearing on the right of the image — probably her mother, who has two missing upper front teeth — , to prevent her from falling on the ground while walking.

This is an exceedingly dramatic image in which in spite of the huge proximity from which Capa gets the picture (around 2,75 meters), the woman in the center doesn´t see Capa, since she is on the verge of exhaustion, has her eyes closed and her mouth much more open than the other two women, because her strength begins to fail, the heat is stifling and she´s panting.

This image was published with the credit Robert Capa in the French illustrated magazine Vu of September 23, 1936.

Virtually impossible to spot the exact location of this image, because of its very blurred background.

8) 
                                 Photo: Robert Capa. © ICP New York




Vertical picture made by Capa on September 5, 1936 at approximately 15:35 h and in which we can see a woman walking across the old way to the Obejo Train Station and El Vacar village as fast as she can, but with great difficulty and effort, taking with his left arm a very large checkered bundle almost three times wider than her body and very heavy, containing the personal belongings she´s been able to save.

She has just wiped the sweat of the right area of her temple and chin with her right hand.

A lot of fear is reflected on her face and she´s looking at Capa rather puzzled.

Behind her, you can see a telegraph post which is nowadays exactly as it was 79 years ago.

This woman is approximately two kilometers from Cerro Muriano, sweats profusely and is heading for the Obejo Train Station and El Vacar village, walking on the right beside the railway track Córdoba-Almorchón.

Discovery of the location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in September of 2008.

9) 
                                   Photo: Robert Capa. © ICP New York


Vertical picture made by Capa to an old woman walking very fast and with her head uncovered, holding in her arms a baby who is wrapped in a small white blanket, to protect him from the heat and sun beams.

The angst and fear are pretty apparent on the face of this woman, who is escaping from Cerro Muriano endeavouring to save his grandson from the bombing of the village by the Francoist aviation which is taking place.

This is another very dramatic image in which one of the arms of the baby is hanging from the left hip of his grandmother, who is at approximately 2,5 kilometers from Cerro Muriano village and is advancing with huge resolve and power across the old way going from Cerro Muriano to the old Obejo Train Station and El Vacar, marching on the right beside the Córdoba-Almorchón railway line.

Capa photographs this old woman from an amazingly short distance of around 3,5 meters, managing to incredibly go unnoticed.

It is an instinctive and very quick shot that captures the woman by surprise, and the grandmother appears featuring great concern and stress visible on her countenance, which at the same time reveals enormous will to save the baby as soon as possible, while on her right, near her, there´s a walking man clad in a dark garment, and some meters behind, we can see a further walking man wearing clearer clothes who is taking on his head a very large sack, almost the size of his body.

This shot is truly amazing, because the old woman has just seen Capa cross the way after getting a previous picture very few seconds before, but the photojournalist chooses the best instant to press the shutter release button of his Leica II (Model D) rangefinder camera and avoid to be detected in spite of the exceedingly near distance to the baby´s grandmother.

This is not about technique. It is what Elliott Erwitt defined as  " the instinct to create great photography and which is casual and uncontrollable ".

The woman body hides some trees similar to the ones appearing on the right of the image, which was made in a place between Cerro Muriano and the Obejo Train Station, next to the Córdoba-Almorchón railway track.

Discovery of the location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in September of 2008.

10) 

Picture that appears in 35:44 of the documentary film Robert Capa en Andalucia, made by Producciones XL in 2013.

Discovery of the location of this photograph: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in August of 2015.

It is a copy on black and white photographic paper made by Imre ´ Csiki ´ Weisz in Paris in late 1936, and which was kept by Cornell Capa and his wife Edie Capa, who donated it to the ICP of New York.

This photograph was made by Capa few seconds before the picture 9) in which there is an old woman walking at great speed and taking a baby wrapped in a small white blanket in her arms, around three meters before the point where he gets the picture of that grandmother holding his grandson in his arms.

This picture held between her hands by Cynthia Young (ICP of New York curator) is very important and hugely revealing, since it shows Robert Capa´s great budding talent in the beginning of his career: the Hungarian photojournalist of Jewish descent approaches frontally, getting close as much as possible to a group of fourteen people — most of them belonging to a same family: mothers, sons, daughters, little childre, etc — who are roughly two kilometers in the north of Cerro Muriano, and advance across the old way towards Obejo Train Station and El Vacar village, loaded with large bags and baskets full of personal objects which the´ve been able to save before hastily fleeing from the village of Cerro Muriano, bombed by the Francoist aviation.


Capa shoots the group from a very near distance of around 4,75 m, probably at f/8, with his Leica II (Model D) rangefinder camera coupled to a Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5.

The timing on pressing the shutter release button is perfect and he photographs the six people heading the group in motion: two mothers, an appoximately eleven years old girl  taking on her left shoulder a white sack full of objects, an around sixteen years old girl grabbing her roughly five years old little brother (on the right of the image) with her left hand and an around four yeards old child being taken by the right hand of the woman leading the group.

But if this group of people picture is excellent, even more important is what is happening near the upper right area of the image, where over the left shoulder of the girl most on the right of the group — as we see the picture — there´s a woman clad in black apparel who is taking something white in her arms, is around fifteen meters behind the group and walks at top speed.

She is the same old woman as the one appearing in the picture 9) walking hastily while taking her grandson in her arms!

Capa has already seen her. He does want to photograph both the group and the old woman marching holding the baby in her arms.

Therefore, he photographs the group with a fast shot and very quickly runs towards the right, until a position in which when he raises the camera again, the old woman walking at full throttle with the baby in her arms is already very near him, so he photographs her with an amazing right diagonal shot from a distance of around 3,5 meters, surprising the old woman deeply engrossed in thoughts and focused on saving the baby straightaway, so the Hungarian photojournalist manages to get unnoticed.

11)


Picture in which there is a young woman mounted on a mule and carrying her baby in her arms, while she is grabbing a big umbrella to protect herself and specially the baby from the sun beams. On the lower area of the image we can also see a dog.

This photograph, whose authorship and location were unknown, appears in one of the pages of the book The Spanish People´s Fight for Liberty, compiled by A. Ramos Oliveira and published in 1937 by the Press Department of the Spanish Embassy in London.

Discovery of the authorship and location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in May of 2010.

This image was created by Capa approximately between 15:20 h and 16:00 h in the afternoon of September 5, 1936, at around 900 meters from the north exit of Cerro Muriano, while the woman was advancing on the left of the Córdoba-Almorchón railway track which linked Córdoba, Cerro Muriano, the Obejo Train Station, El Vacar, etc.

The young mother is escaping with her baby from the Francoist air raid on Cerro Muriano and heads for the Obejo Train Station and El Vacar.

12) 


Picture appearing in the lower half of one of the pages of the book Death in the Making from 1937 and located between Málaga and Almería according to the text of the caption.

But that information is wrong, because this picture was not made by Capa between Málaga and Almería.

Four persons appear in the image: a young man wearing clear shirt and trousers, dark jacket and beret and white footwear who is taking on his back hanging from his neck a little exhausted child that can´t walk more, while he grabs with his left arm the right arm of the woman advancing next to him (probably his mother, utterly clad in black attire and with a dark coif and a handkerchief around her neck) to help her walk, while on far right of the image an around ten years old girl can be seen marching near them and also northbound.

This photograph was not made in Cerro Muriano or its surroundings either. 

It was made around eight kilometers from that village and approximately three kilometers from El Vacar, by the stretch of the Córdoba-Almorchón railway line going between the Casa del Ronquillo Alto in the east and the Cortijo del Chirinero in the west, and was made by Capa on September 5, 1936, approximately at 17:00 h.

Discovery of the location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza in August of 2015.

The people depicted in it are inhabitants of Cerro Muriano escaping from the bombing of the village by Francoist aircraft, increased from around 15:00 h in the afternoon of that day. They have walked more than 8 km, under a scorching sun, since they left Cerro Muriano.

Once more, Capa captures masterfully a meaningful instant pervaded with fidgets and stress, since both the young man (who has been helping the child for some kilometers, taking him pickaback, which increases very much his fatigue and sweat while walking in the midst of a 40º C temperature) and the old woman  — whose convulse and worried countenance acquires outstanding drama on being its right area in shadow — advance in precarious conditions, with a balance that will progressively be deteriorating.

They must still walk around three km to arrive at El Vacar.

In the original 35 mm black and white negative, the left arm and right foot of the young girl appear complete.

13)  
                               Photo: Robert Capa. © ICP New York



Horizontal photograph taken by Capa on September 5th 1936 at around 17:30 h in the afternoon in a stretch of the Córdoba-Almorchón railways located in Campo Alto estate at around 8,5 km in the north of Cerro Muriano and 3 km in the south of  El Vacar, with a woman on the right of the image, taking a very little girl, still almost a baby, in her arms.

This mother is wearing an apron on her dress, since she hasn´t had time to take it off because of the hasty flight.

Behind her, on the left of the frame, we can see a very young girl walking just in front of his father and who is looking at Capa, and behind her we can see the husband of the woman and father of both girls, clad in black garment, cap and bearing some blankets to sleep outdoors during the night. He´s also looking at Capa.

Location of the area in which this picture was made: Patricio Hidalgo Luque. His is the main merit of this finding.

Discovery of the exact location where the picture was made and photographic evidence: José Manuel Serrano Esparza on April 9, 2010.

This is a very dramatic image.

The woman isn´t looking at Robert Capa. Her sight is stray. She only wants to quickly advance towards El Vacar village, due to the great fear and anguish that seize her, because she fears for her daughters´ lives, particularly the youngest one.

It´s evident that they all have abandoned their home in Cerro Muriano village and have escaped full-blast to save their lives, and unlike other refugees, they haven´t had time to fill big bundles with their most valuable personal belongings.

Patricio Hidalgo Luque was the first to make the hypothesis that the picture could have been made in Campo Alto, which was verified with photographic evidence by José Manuel Serrano Esparza on April 9, 2010, finding through huge sweat and above all with big luck, the exact spot of the Cordoba-Almorchon railway on which Capa got this picture on a place in the area known as Campo Alto, near El Vacar.

14) 

Picture appearing on the upper half of one of the pages of the Death in the Making Book from 1938.

The caption of that page states that the persons appearing in the picture are refugees fleeing from Málaga to Almería across the road bordering the coast, and that they´re walking 150 miles under a brutal sun.

But it is not true.

It was made in a place beside the Córodoba-Almorchón railway track located around three kilometers from El Vacar village.

Discovery of the location of this picture: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Perhaps there was an error by Jay Allen (whom Capa entrusted the translation of both his pictures and some of Gerda Taro also illustrating the book, whose design was made by André Kerstéz) regarding the location of the text accompanying the image.

Besides, Capa and Taro got pictures of the refugees coming from Málaga very near Almería and in Almería city, but they couldn´t arrive previously to photograph the escape from Málaga to Almería of approximately 150,000 persons across the coastal road and during which they were attacked by Italian and German aircraft and Francoist naval artillery on February 8, 9, 10 and 11, 1937.

Whatever it may be, it´s an image in which a total of eleven persons appear ( a father, a mother, a mature woman, four boys - being roughly between 4 and 14 years old - , a baby in arms and three girls - being approximately between 7 and 12 years old- ).

The action visible in the picture didn´t take place in February of 1937.

It happened on September 5, 1936.

They are inhabitants of Cerro Muriano hastily walking away from the bombing of the village by the Francoist aircraft, which was intensified between around 15:00-15:30 h in the afternoon of September 5, 1936.

But this photograph wasn´t made between Málaga and Almería.

And it wan´t made in Cerro Muriano or its surroundings either.

It was made by Capa at approximately 3 km from El Vacar village (a Córdoba province village placed at a distance of 11 kilometers from Cerro Muriano) on September 5, 1936 between around 17:30 h and 17:45 h in the afternoon, after an exceedingly hard trek of  8 km in full sunlight (with a temperature around 40º C) made by the people appearing in the image, who had started the flight from Cerro Muriano between 15:00-15:30 h in the afternoon.

I could discover it thanks to a previous picture to this, made by Capa approximately half a kilometer behind, next to the same Córdoba-Almorchón railway and in which four persons can be seen filling the whole frame — the young family mother with her baby in arms, her elder daughter and his husband wearing black clothes and beret, who is taking some blankets on his right shoulder to sleep rough during the night — also visible in the far left area of the picture, beside the telegraph pole.

This way, Capa gets this picture in a spot beside the Córdoba-Almorchón railway track located approximately eight kilometers from Cerro Muriano and when the refugees depicted in the image still have to walk three more kilometers to arrive at El Vacar.

The Córdoba-Almorchón railway, one of the most beautiful in Spain, equipped with steam locomotives driven trains, with some stretches of wonderful landscapes, specially between Cerro Muriano and Córdoba and El Vacar and La Alhondiguilla, stopped being used as a passenger means of transport in 1974 and as a goods one during late eighties, so the tracks are currently mostly full of very abundant and thick vegetation made up by large thorny plants and medium size kermes oaks on both sides, the heat is unbearable and enhanced by the burning rails, and making comparative pictures of the area with respect to 1936 ( a time in which the railway line was fully operational) becomes very difficult, because the areas on both sides of the track were then uncluttered, without big brambles and chaparros, the barbed wire visible in the background didn´t exist and there are many more trees presently than at that time.


Panoramic picture of the stretch of the old road near El Vacar and adjacent to the spot by the Córdoba Almorchón railway track, partially visible on the right of the image, utterly hidden by the abundant kermes oaks, brambles and exceedingly lush vegetation currently surrounding the tracks and located in the background, behind the old railroad sign with blades and from which Robert Capa made this photograph appearing on the upper half of one of the pages of the book Death in the Making from 1938.

Because of the smaller size in the photograph of the six persons (from a total of eleven) appearing on far left of the image of the page of Death in the Making book, which was reproduced by the editorial in New York in 1938 from a far superior quality vintage copy made by Csiki Weisz in Paris in 1937, I decided to examine the image with a Schneider Kreuznach 10x aspheric optimized for visualization of pictures made with 35 mm cameras, trying to analyze specific areas of the photographs the best I could.


And there´s no doubt that the young woman holding her baby in arms (with a mature woman taking a basket appearing in front of her) and wearing a white apron - the bombing of Cerro Muriano surprised its inhabitants at lunch time- is the same person taking her baby in arms who appears in the already known picture made by Capa approximately 1 km behind next to another spot of the Córdoba-Almorchón railway in the area of Campo Alto.

And the family father clad in black attire and beret (husband of the woman holding her baby in arms) is also the same person, as happens with the around seven years old elder daughter of the couple, appearing between them in both photographs.

It is also noteworthy the presence of an approximately four or five years old child who appears on far left of the image, just behind the family father and who is almost 100% certainly a son of his and the woman holding the baby in her arms, which adds information to the previous image and enables to know that the couple has three children instead of two as was believed.

On the other hand, on comparing both images we can see an interesting fact:

In the previous picture made by Capa 1 km behind, in the area of Campo Alto, and in which only four persons appear (the mother with her baby in arms, the approximayely seven years old elder daughter and the father wearing black attire and beret who is taking some blankets on his right shoulder), the elder daughter and the father are looking at Capa while the photojournalist gets the picture, but in this photograph (in which appear a total of 11 persons) very near El Vacar, there are five people looking at their right (from right to left of the image the second child of the group - being around 9 years old - , the approximately 12 years old girl walking behind him, the roughly 10 years old girl advancing just behind her, the young mother taking her baby in arms and the elder girl of the couple on the left of the image).

But they are not looking at Capa. They are staring at Bob´s left while he presses the shutter release button of his Leica II (Model D) with Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 lens.

Something is really attracting the attention of these five persons, who in spite of their huge fatigue and being sweating profusely, are gazing at somebody on Capa´s left.

I do believe that they are looking at Gerda Taro, a very pretty woman with a rather showy blonde hair, who is (out of image) very near Bob at the moment, on his left, and who always became the spotlight wherever she was.

After being photographed by Capa for the last time at around 3 km from El Vacar, the inhabitants of Cerro Muriano (a village placed at a distance of 8 km from the location in which Capa gets his last picture of refugees) go on their gruesome march on foot towards El Vacar village, ruptured by the exhaustion, sweat, fear and the huge grief of having been bound to leave their homes and hometown.


Entrance to El Vacar village, located at a distance of 11 km from Cerro Muriano and where the refugees arrived on September 5, 1936, after a dreadful forced trek in broad daylight in which the families suffered very much while simultaneously striving after managing to walk up to here and help the old men and women, with a number of moments of real anguish and despair being brought about, as well as being aware that many of them would have to sleep outdoors with the blankets they were taking, as it happened. But the ordeal didn´t finish here, because following it, they had to do a new very harsh hike of 10 km up to Villaharta, under appalling conditions, with a high percentage of them suffering from cramps and huge fatigue, sweating all over, food and water which had begun to run out, etc.


Published in FV Photography Magazine. Number 242. September 2015

© Text and Indicated Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Inscribed in the Territorial Registry of the Intellectual Property of Madrid