Gerda Taro: Inventing Robert Capa by Jane Rogoyska - review by Caroline Moorehead

Caroline Moorehead

Secrets of the Mexican Suitcase

Gerda Taro: Inventing Robert Capa


Jonathan Cape 246pp £35 order from our bookshop

On 1 August 1937, thousands of people lined the streets of Paris to watch the funeral cortege of a slight, fair, very pretty 26-year-old war photographer called Gerda Taro on its way to the Père Lachaise Cemetery. A band played Chopin’s funeral march. Taro’s tombstone was designed by Giacometti. Her picture was on the front cover of every magazine; inside, she was referred to as a new Joan of Arc, a martyr and a genius. Then, as the Second World War swept across Europe, Taro was forgotten, becoming little more than a footnote in the life of her more famous lover, the photographer Robert Capa. 

And there she might have remained had it not been for the discovery in 2007 of a cache of 4,500 negatives of photographs taken by Capa, Taro and their great friend David Seymour, known as Chim. Referred to as the ‘Mexican suitcase’, it had been left in Paris when Capa

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