^That’s just about the best known, most used picture of the invasion of Normandy. ^
It’s one of 11 pictures from Robert Capa. Capa was already established as a photojournalist specializing in covering war. Other famous photos include this one from the Spanish Civil War.
There is some dispute about this picture. It’s alleged in recent years both that the militiaman is merely slipping, and that a different photographer took the picture. At any event, the striking image helped establish Capa’s reputation.
Capa, interestingly, was an “enemy alien.” He was Hungarian, and Hungary was a member of the Axis powers. Normally, that would have meant internment in a government camp. But Capa’s reputation as a war photographer meant he was held in such esteem that he was allowed to accompany the invasion.
Capa landed in the second wave at bloody Omaha beach, and took a total of 106 photos of the chaos there. The film was rushed to London for developing, where a young lab assistant set the dryer heat too high, destroying all but 11 frames.
The Magnificent Eleven pictures are almost instantly recognizable to us after 70 years. For many of us, when we think of D-Day, these images automatically come to mind. They were virtually the only photos of the landings at Omaha Beach, by far the most deadly of the invasion beaches.
Capa would continue to document the war in Europe, and later other wars, including the Israeli War of Independence in 1948.
On May 25, 1954, while covering the French IndoChina war in Vietnam, Capa stepped on a land mine and died of his wounds. He is buried at Amawalk Hill Cemetery, Westchester, New York.