Cornell Capa (Kornél Friedmann), founder of the International Center of Photography in New York, was born on this date in Budapest in 1918. He was a Life magazine and Magnum photographer who covered the Soviet Union, Israel’s Six-Day War, and the first hundred days of the Kennedy presidency, among other subjects. In the 1970s, Capra produced a series of exhibitions and books under the title “The Concerned Photographer,” who has the power and duty, he said, “to comment, describe, provoke discussion, awaken conscience, evoke sympathy, spotlight human misery and joy which otherwise would pass unseen, un-understood and unnoticed.” Capa himself chronicled the decimation of indigenous cultures in Latin America and the oppressive regime of Juan Peron in Argentina; he also created collections of photos to advocate for dignity for the elderly and for mentally disabled children in the U.S. His older brother and mentor was Robert Capa, the photo-journalist best known for his wartime photography, who founded Magnum Photos with Henry Cartier-Bresson, among others, and died from a land mine in Indochina in 1954. Cornell Capa died at age 90 in 2008.
“I wanted to show the things that needed to be corrected. And I wanted to show the thing that needed to be appreciated.” —Cornell Capa
Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.