Newspaper: Capa's Iconic War Photo 'Faked'

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2009 1:24 AM CDT
This 1936 photo by Robert Capa during the Spanish Civil War was staged far from the fighting, according to Spanish newspaper El Periodico.   (Robert Capa/Magnum)

(Newser) – One of the most famous war photos of all time was a fake, according to Spanish newspaper El Periodico. The paper says its investigation into Robert Capa's Spanish Civil War "falling soldier" photo—which appears to show a shot militiaman at the moment of death—concluded that the photo was actually taken 30 miles away from any fighting and therefore must have been staged, Artdaily reports.

The 1936 photo helped cement Capa's fame as a war photographer. "It is tempting to think that the next 18 years, in which Capa showed almost suicidal bravery in China, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples, Anzio, Normandy, the Ardennes, Leipzig, Israel, and Indochina, where he was killed by a mine in 1954, were dedicated to redeeming an original sin," El Periodico writes. Another theory, however, holds that the soldier was posing for a photo when he was shot by a sniper.