Time - 100 Photographs - The Most Influential Images of All Time - USA (2019)

(Antfer) #1

It was the invasion to save civilization, and life’s Robert
Capa was there, the only still photographer to wade with
the 34,250 troops onto Omaha Beach during the D-Day
landing. His photographs—infused with jarring movement
from the center of that brutal assault—gave the public an
American soldier’s view of the dangers of war. The soldier
in this case was Private First Class Huston Riley, who after
the Nazis shelled his landing craft jumped into water so
deep that he had to walk along the bottom until he could
hold his breath no more. When he activated his Navy
M-26 belt life preservers and floated to the surface, Riley
became a target for the guns and artillery shells mowing
down his comrades. Struck several times, the 22-year-old
soldier took about half an hour to reach the Normandy

shore. Capa took this photo of him in the surf and then
with the assistance of a sergeant helped Riley, who later
recalled thinking, “What the hell is this guy doing here? I
can’t believe it. Here’s a cameraman on the shore.” Capa
spent an hour and a half under fire as men around him
died. A courier then transported his four rolls of film to
life’s London offices, and the magazine’s general man-
ager stopped the presses to get them into the June 19 issue.
Most of the film, though, showed no images after process-
ing, and only some frames survived. The remaining images
have a grainy, blurry look that gives them the frenetic feel
of action, a quality that has come to define our collective
memory of that epic clash.


D-DAY by Robert Capa

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