D-Day Invasion, June 6, 1944
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D-Day Invasion, June 6, 1944, 1944
Gelatin silver print, printed 1964
9 × 13 1/2 in. (22.86 × 34.29 cm)
Purchase, Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation Acquisition Fund M2005.140
Photo credit: John R. Glembin
If any single photographer were responsible for the image of the photojournalist as daredevil action hero, it would be Robert Capa. Dubbed the "Greatest War Photographer in the World" by Picture Post in 1938 for his photographs of the Spanish Civil War, Capa immersed himself in the action of the events he documented. His catchphrase—"If it's not good enough, you're not close enough"—reinforces his perilous approach, which resulted in photographs that communicate the visceral sensation of being at the center of unfolding events. Here the grainy, out-of-focus, low-contrast image effectively visualizes the intense, adrenaline-soaked experience of attempting to outrun a barrage of enemy fire.
The emotional resonance of images like this—produced with increasing frequency by Capa and other World War II photojournalists—had a significant impact on the generation of photographers who came of age in the 1940s. Artists such as Louis Faurer, William Klein, Saul Leiter, Ted Croner, and Robert Frank would adapt wartime photojournalism's haphazard, high-voltage technique to approximate their own psychological experience of postwar American life.
Hostetler, Lisa. Street Seen: The Psychological Gesture in American Photography, 1940–1959. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2009, p. 54-55, cat. 7, b/w illus.
Street Seen: The Psychological Gesture in American Photography, 1940-1959, Milwaukee Art Museum, January 20–April 25, 2010.
This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.