Robert Capa’s Falling Soldier

Robert Capa’s Falling Soldier remains as one of the most famous war photographs ever taken. The image was taken during the Spanish Civil War, and depicts a solider being shot and falling backwards with his spine arched and arms splayed wide. The image is so famous for the way it captures the exact moment when a man died. However, while the photo is very famous it has long been questioned if the image is staged. Recently a professor named José Manuel Susperregui began researching the image and concluded that “”Capa’s picture was taken not at Cerro Muriano, just north of Córdoba, but near another town, about 35 miles away. Since that location was far from the battle lines when Capa was there, Mr. Susperregui said, it means that “the ‘Falling Soldier’ photo is staged, as are all the others in the series taken on that front.””

While the shot captured in the image has long been thought to be the work of a sniper, because there are no other soldiers in the frame. This causes more questions because Capa frequently stated that the image caught the shots of machine gun fire. Capa also told various accounts of how he was able to capture the image in interviews over the years. The issue remains however that whether or not the image was staged, all photography is staged to a certain extent. The nature of photography allows the photographer to select the frame of the image and reveal only what they want you to see. While there is no concrete evidence as to the authenticity of the image, it remains a powerful document of the Spanish Civil War.


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