Out of the Shadows
“The first woman known to photograph a battle from the front lines and to die covering a war.” – New York Times
In 1936 two young photographers who had escaped from the Nazis to Paris re-invented themselves, and in doing so created the myth of the war photographer. Andre Friedmann took the name of Robert Capa while Gerta Pohorylle became Gerda Taro, and they began to photograph the Spanish Civil War together (the photos being credited to “Robert Capa”). Capa would become the most acclaimed war photographer of the twentieth century, but within a year Gerda Taro (his lover, manager and muse) would be killed while photographing the battle of Brunete.
Gerda Taro was the first female photojournalist known to have covered a war from the frontline, and was the first to die in battle. In recent years Gerda Taro has been rediscovered as a significant feminist figure, as well as a remarkable photographer in her own right. A selection of her photos from the Spanish Civil War illustrate this book.
This is the first English-language biography of one of the most extraordinary women of the twentieth century, an émigré who resisted the Nazis and a photographer who believed that her art would serve to free the people she photographed. Her own life was an assertion of liberty – political, sexual and personal – that would be taken on by women in the generation after her. In Out of the Shadows François Maspero creates a personal portrait of Taro, while capturing the personality and romanticism that fascinated her generation.
François Maspero is one of France’s major literary figures. Variously a bookseller, editor and publisher, he is also a novelist and the translator into French of writers ranging from Gabriel Garcia Marquesz to Arturo Perez-Reverte. As a teenager he fought in the French Resistance, and as a publisher he brought out the work of Franz Fanon, Che Guevara and Louis Althusser.
“Known, if at all, as the first female photojournalist killed in action (aged 26, at Brunete, in the Spanish Civil War), the German-Jewish Taro had a talent for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Included in this habit was her relationship with Robert Capa… Francois Maspero… sets this history straight.”
‘Independent on Sunday’
“Maspero is at his best when placing Taro in context of place and time, in characterising her as a free spirit, achingly glamorous in the midst of the dust and detritus of war. It is in the details that his book succeeds.”
“Deeply personal portrait… Now she is out of the shadow of her famous lover her images show not only the devastation of the Spanish Civil War but what a formidable talent was lost to that war.”