Robert Capa (born Endre Friedmann;October 22, 1913 – May 25, 1954) was a Hungarian war photographer and photo journalist, arguably the greatest combat and adventure photographer in history. Capa was born into a Jewish family in Budapest, where his parents were tailors
During his career he risked his life numerous times, most dramatically as the only photographer landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He documented the course of World War II in London, North Africa, Italy, and the liberation of Paris.
On April 18, 1945, Capa captured images of a fight to secure a bridge in Leipzig, Germany. These pictures included an image of Raymond J. Bowman’s death by sniper fire.
This image became famous in a spread in Life magazine with the caption “The picture of the last man to die”
(Picture taken minutes before Raymond J. Bowman (on the right) was killed, the other soldier is Clarence Ridgeway (on the left)
Robert Capa climbed through a balcony window into the flat to photograph the dead man, who lay in the open door, a looted Luftwaffe sheepskin helmet on his head. The subsequent series of photographs show the rapid spread of the soldier’s blood across the parquet floor as other GIs attended to him and his fellow gunner took over his post at the machine gun.
The Life magazine article did not identify the soldiers in the photographs by name, although Bowman’s family recognized him by the small pin (which bore his initials) that he always wore on his collar.
In the early 1950s, Capa traveled to Japan for an exhibition associated with Magnum Photos. While there, Life magazine asked him to go on assignment to Southeast Asia, where the French had been fighting for eight years in the First Indochina War,
and was killed when he stepped on a land mine. He was 40 years old.
Bowman received many honors for his service, including the Bronze Star Medal, an Army Good Conduct Medal, and two Purple Hearts.
In July 2015, the city of Leipzig, Germany voted to name the street (previously called Jahnallee 61) in front of the apartment building where Bowman was killed “Bowmanstraße” after him. The renaming took place on April 17, 2016. The apartment building now contains a small memorial with Capa’s photographs and information about Bowman.
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