Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Captivating Capa

Even though his photography is black and white instead of color, Cornell Capa’s photography caught my eye at the ICP exhibit.  The contrast between light and dark in his photographs brings out different textures and adds movement in his art.  His photographs are not as much art however, as they are an act of humanitarianism.  Capa captured images in a journalistic approach.  He intended to educate the world with his photos.  His subjects often included people in countries with political turmoil, mostly in Central America.

            One of my favorite photographs is titled [Betty Elliot on couch at home with Eugenia, Shandia, Ecuador.]  I like this photograph because I have heard of Betty Elliot’s story.  She is a very intriguing person.  Basically, her husband visited tribal Ecuador as a missionary and the Native Americans slaughtered him.  In a forgiving manner, Betty then went to Ecuador and became a missionary herself.  The photograph of her on a couch sitting closely to a young native woman is an aesthetically pleasing image.  The centerpiece is composed of the two females.  The background around them consists of simple furniture in a well-lit room.  The photograph tells a story in its context, like all of Capa’s photographs.  You can tell that Betty is a friendly and loving person.  In the photograph [Betty Elliot with Mintaka and Mankamu, Tiwaenu River, Ecuador,] one can see Betty’s face close up.  In this photo, her age and weariness is more apparent.  It is a more expressive way of telling a story by the details of her facial features.

            In his work, Capa has a common subject of political dissidents of Buenos Aires photographed in September 1955, including [Cheering the arrival of rebellious Argentine naval troops who would complete overthrow of Juan Perón, Buenos Aires].

A photograph that stood out to me is [Images of Perón burned by students, Buenos Aires], which is self-explanatory.  It is interesting because it shows a portrait of Eva Perón being incinerated.

            Lastly, my favorite photograph is [Woman looking at boy sleeping in box on street, San Salvador], which is taken in the early 1970’s.  It emphasizes the audacity of San Salvador’s poverty.  The woman passing by the child sleeping looks puzzled.  I find it interesting that she is the only passer-by that seems to be concerned by the spectacle.  It is a little like passing a homeless person in New York City because most people do not seem to care, only instead of a grown man sleeping on the streets, it is a little boy.  I like that the photograph seems to have motion.  Capa seems to freeze time to the instant the woman views the boy, yet the woman is still moving forward.