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Slightly Out of Focus [Anglais] [Broché]

Cornell Capa , Robert Capa , Richard Whelan
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Descriptions du produit


Our preinvasion breakfast was served at 3:00 a.m. The mess boys of the U.S.S. Chase wore immaculate white jackets and served hot cakes, sausages, eggs, and coffee with unusual zest and politeness. But the preinvasion stomachs were preoccupied, and most of the noble effort was left on the plates.

At 4:00 a.m. we were assembled on the open deck. The invasion barges were swinging on the cranes, ready to be lowered. Waiting for the first ray of light, the two thousand men stood in perfect silence; whatever they were thinking, it was some kind of prayer.

I too stood very quietly. I was thinking a little bit of everything: of green fields, pink clouds, grazing sheep, all the good times, and very much of getting the best pictures of the day. None of us was at all impatient, and we wouldn't have minded standing in the darkness for a very long time. But the sun had no way of knowing that this day was different from all others, and rose on its usual schedule. The first-wavers stumbled into their barges, and--as if on slow-moving elevators--we descended onto the sea. The sea was rough and we were wet before our barge pushed away from the mother ship. It was already clear that General Eisenhower would not lead his people across the Channel with dry feet or dry else.

In no time, the men started to puke. But this was a polite as well as a carefully prepared invasion, and little paper bags had been provided for the purpose. Soon the puking hit a new low. I had an idea this would develop into the father and mother of all D-Days.

The coast of Normandy was still miles away when the first unmistakable popping reached our listening ears. We ducked down in the puky water in the bottom of the barge and ceased to watch the approaching coastline. The first empty barge, which had already unloaded its troops on the beach, passed us on the way back to the Chase, and the Negro boatswain gave us a happy grin and the V sign. It was now light enough to start taking pictures, and I brought my first Contax camera out of its waterproof oilskin. The flat bottom of our barge hit the earth of France. The boatswain lowered the steel-covered barge front, and there, between the grotesque designs of steel obstacles sticking out of the water, was a thin line of land covered with smoke--our Europe, the "Easy Red" beach.

My beautiful France looked sordid and uninviting, and a German machine gun, spitting bullets around the barge, fully spoiled my return. The men from my barge waded in the water. Waist-deep, with rifles ready to shoot, with the invasion obstacles and the smoking beach in the background--this was good enough for the photographer. I paused for a moment on the gangplank to take my first real picture of the invasion. The boatswain, who was in an understandable hurry to get the hell out of there, mistook my picture-taking attitude for explicable hesitation, and helped me make up my mind with a well-aimed kick in the rear. The water was cold, and the beach still more than a hundred yards away. The bullets tore holes in the water around me, and I made for the nearest steel obstacle. A soldier got there at the same time, and for a few minutes we shared its cover. He took the waterproofing off his rifle and began to shoot without much aiming at the smoke-hidden beach. The sound of his rifle gave him enough courage to move forward and he left the obstacle to me. It was a foot larger now, and I felt safe enough to take pictures of the other guys hiding just like I was.

It was still very early and very gray for good pictures, but the gray water and the gray sky made the little men, dodging under the surrealistic designs of Hitler's anti-invasion brain trust, very effective.

I finished my pictures, and the sea was cold in my trousers. Reluctantly, I tried to move away from my steel pole, but the bullets chased me back every time. Fifty yards ahead of me, one of our half-burnt amphibious tanks stuck out of the water and offered me my next cover. I sized up the situation. There was little future for the elegant raincoat heavy on my arm. I dropped it and made for the tank. Between floating bodies I reached it, paused for a few more pictures, and gathered my guts for the last jump to the beach.

Now the Germans played on all their instruments, and I could not find any hole between the shells and bullets that blocked the last twenty-five yards to the beach. I just stayed behind my tank, repeating a little sentence from my Spanish Civil War days, "Es una cosa muy seria. Es una cosa muy seria." This is a very serious business.

The tide was coming in and now the water reached the farewell letter to my family in my breast pocket. Behind the human cover of the last two guys, I reached the beach. I threw myself flat and my lips touched the earth of France. I had no desire to kiss it.

Jerry still had plenty of ammunition left, and I fervently wished I could be beneath the earth now and above later. The chances to the contrary were becoming increasingly strong. I turned my head sideways and found myself nose to nose with a lieutenant from our last night's poker game. He asked me if I knew what he saw. I told him no and that I didn't think he could see much beyond my head. "I'll tell you what I see," he whispered. "I see my ma on the front porch, waving my insurance policy."
St. Laurent-sur-Mer must have been at one time a drab, cheap resort for vacationing French schoolteachers. Now, on June 6, 1944, it was the ugliest beach in the whole world. Exhausted from the water and the fear, we lay flat on a small strip of wet sand between the sea and the barbed wire. The slant of the beach gave us some protection, so long as we lay flat, from the machine-gun and rifle bullets, but the tide pushed us against the barbed wire, where the guns were enjoying open season. I crawled on my stomach over to my friend Larry, the Irish padre of the regiment, who could swear better than any amateur. He growled at me, "You damn half-Frenchy! If you didn't like it here, why the hell did you come back?" Thus comforted by religion, I took out my second Contax camera and began to shoot without raising my head.

From the air, "Easy Red" must have looked like an open tin of sardines. Shooting from the sardine's angle, the foreground of my pictures was filled with wet boots and green faces. Above the boots and faces, my picture frames were filled with shrapnel smoke; burnt tanks and sinking barges formed my background. Larry had a dry cigarette. I reached in my hip pocket for my silver flask and offered it to Larry. He tilted his head sideways and took a swig from the corner of his mouth. Before returning the bottle, he gave it to my other chum, the Jewish medic, who very successfully imitated Larry's technique. The corner of my mouth was good enough for me too.

The next mortar shell fell between the barbed wire and the sea, and every piece of shrapnel found a man's body. The Irish priest and the Jewish doctor were the first to stand up on the "Easy Red" beach. I shot the picture. The next shell fell even closer. I didn't dare to take my eyes off the finder of my Contax and frantically shot frame after frame. Half a minute later, my camera jammed--my roll was finished. I reached in my bag for a new roll, and my wet, shaking hands ruined the roll before I could insert it in my camera.

Revue de presse

"A powerful story nimbly told. For devotees of fine photography or accounts of World War II, the Modern Library 's reprinting is a welcome gift."
-- Tampa Tribune and Times

"Capa's work is itself the picture of a great heart and an overwhelming compassion. . . . He could photograph motion and gaiety and heartbreak. He could photograph thought. He captured a world."
-- John Steinbeck

"Above all--and this is what shows in his pictures--Capa, who spent so much energy on inventions for his own person, has deep, human sympathy for men and women trapped in reality."
-- John Hersey

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 272 pages
  • Editeur : Modern Library; Édition : New edition (12 juin 2001)
  • Collection : Modern Library War
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0375753966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375753961
  • Dimensions du produit: 20,5 x 13,7 x 1,4 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 45.933 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 excellent 16 juin 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
capa est non seulement un photographe hors pair mais aussi un vrai écrivain. Son récit se lit avec plaisir et intérêt.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.7 étoiles sur 5  17 commentaires
15 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Incorrigible Capa 2 décembre 2003
Par Melissa Dunson - Publié sur
Slightly Out of Focus, the autobiography by legendary photographer Robert Capa, chronicles his experiences as a photographer for Collier's and Life magazines during World War II. Capa's adventure takes him from his comfortable bed in New York, across the Atlantic, into the African desert, to the beaches of Normandy and the liberation of Paris, through Germany, and finally to a posh London apartment where his journey ends. The book is a delightful read. Over 100 of Capa's breathtaking and thought provoking photographs are scattered throughout its pages. Slightly Out of Focus is ridiculously easy to read. Capa's conversational style and witty banter result in a story that feels more like your favorite novel, than the biography of a war correspondent. The memoirs span only 232 pages, but fully encompass the blood, sweat, and tears shed during the most gruesome war in American history.
Capa throws no punches when he puts his thoughts and experiences into words. He is gut wrenchingly open, honest, and human about himself and the war that he photographs. He accurately shows the not so glamorous, unromantic side of front-line journalism in stories about being too broke to pay his bills, sleeping in bed-bug infested houses, driving for hours over empty deserts, contracting malaria, bureaucratic red tape, and eventually giving up the woman of his dreams to continue photographing the war. Capa is honest enough to admit to all of this and wrote, "I began to dislike this war. The life of a war correspondent wasn't so romantic."
Capa put his life in danger countless times in the book, each time in the quest for the perfect photo that said everything and each time narrowly escaping death. While in Africa, he accidentally wandered into a mine field and had to wait for hours to be rescued. Later, the division that Capa was traveling with was bombed during the night. Capa described it as, "Next morning, when I woke up, there wasn't any tent over me. The camp had been bombed during the night. The blasts had blown away all the tents, although no one was hurt. I was the object of envy and admiration for having slept through it all without stirring." During his time in Europe, Capa joined in the Normandy invasion and parachuted out of planes. Soon after he began, Capa gave up trying to be an impartial observer and assisted in rescuing and transporting wounded soldiers during some of the fiercest fighting. He slept in fox holes, ate C-rations, and helped bury fallen soldiers.
In Slightly Out of Focus, we learn as much about Capa as we do about the war. He unashamedly allows us a constant view into his psyche. It offers a refreshing and helpful glimpse into the struggles of an embedded journalist. He admits when he is frightened, tired, apathetic, angry, or even happy. He talks often in the book of becoming tired of the sickeningly violent monotony that is war. "They were simple pictures and showed how dreary and unspectacular life fighting actually is. The correspondent's war neurosis was setting pictures were sad and empty as the war, and I didn't feel like sending them to the magazine."
In spite of the inherent death and depression of war, Capa finds the everyday humor in extraordinary experiences. Just when the book seems too intense, he makes a witty remark or points out the weakness in human folly and makes you chuckle. He allows you to take the pill of war down without having to dissipate the cold, hard facts, by giving the reader a spoon full of sugar at the same time.
The love story of Capa and "Pinky" (a.k.a. Elaine Justin) also provides a breakup between intense battles. Capa maintains a lighthearted feel in the book by alternating chapters of fighting and death with chapters of his humorous roller-coaster romance. In the end "Pinky" gives up on Capa because, by covering the war instead of being with her, he finally chose between his two great loves. Capa begins and ends the book with the same line, "There is absolutely no reason to get up in the mornings anymore." The reader understands finally, on the 232nd page, that Capa lives to cover wars. In his mind, being a war correspondent isn't a job, it is a destiny. When he isn't covering a war, he is lost, restless, and aimless.
Slightly Out of Focus is jewel deserving five stars. Capa has effectively created a book that captures the feeling of World War II while making it palatable to the average reader. He educates and entertains. The work is believable and down to earth, revealing a transparency uncommon to most authors, but welcomed by readers. In this work, Capa proves himself to be far more than a great photographer. In the words of Capa's good friend, Pulitzer Prize winner John Hersey, "He has humor. He has a clear idea of what makes a great picture: `it is a cut of the whole event,' he says, `which will show more of the real truth of the affair to someone who was not there than the whole scene.' Above all-and this is what shows in his pictures-Capa, who has spent so much energy on inventions for his own person, has deep human sympathy for men and women trapped in reality."
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing 19 avril 2002
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
When I think of the founders of Magnum I see larger than life heros that are always in the right place at the right time for the perfect picture. Not only does this book show that Capa is not larger than life, but a very real man, but he also worked very hard to be at the right place at the right time...not to mention he spent much of his life at the wrong place at the wrong time.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of My Favorite Books 30 juillet 2012
Par Peter G. Johnson - Publié sur
Capa's autobiography is like his photography: it captures reality and fact but evokes the skill and passion of the artist. Some say his photograph of the falling soldier in the Spanish Civil War was staged yet there is no denying the authenticity of the Trotsky photos and the chances he took where cameras were not allowed. This book is captures that duality about him. Capa telling us about himself with a little embellishment but plenty of truth. There is a new autobiography of him that just came out, the "unauthorized" biography of A. Kershaw and any number of tales from those who knew him but to me this tops all that is out there. For me this book is like sitting somewhere with him in Paris as he spins his tales to his friends.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 YAY! 1 février 2013
Par M. B. Cundall - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
My dad really enjoyed this book. It's a great one! So happy to have found it. It was fabulously written, with some great, rare photos with a keen look into what made Robert the artist he was.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Look At The Man Behind The Camera 7 octobre 2004
Par Matthew P. Arsenault - Publié sur
In the world of combat photography, the name Robert Capa occupies the apex. Having covered four major wars, his photos are not only a testament to his skill with a lens, but also serve as an excellent illustrated record of the 20th century.

Aside from being a remarkable photographer, Capa is also quite adept with the pen. Slightly Out of Focus is a brilliant illustration of Capa's multifacited skills as a journalist.

Beginning in 1942, Capa, a Hungarian exile, describes his life as a "potential enemy alien" living in New York City and the subsequent difficulties of trying to attain passage to the European theatre. These biographical snippets lend an interesting take on Capa the man; aspects all too often over-powered by his fame as a photographer.

Once arrived in Europe, Capa creates an interesting tale of love and adventure. Originally, Slightly Out of Focus was to serve as screen play. As such, Focus is based on actual events, but tinted with imagination in order to be better suited for Hollywood. Nevertheless, the work is historically accurate and Capa's insights of World War II cut to the quick.

Interestingly, Capa views the World War II experience as enlightening and generally good. Rarely are there the melancholy sentiments that color other war memoirs, (i.e. famed combat photographer Tim Page). The exception being a brief allusion to bearing witness to the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. An instance where Capa chose not to click the shutter.

I would be curious to discover more of Capa's writings regarding his time spent covering other conflicts, namely the Arab-Israeli War and the first Indochina war.

As a successful newspaperman, Capa wrote a number of articles to accompany his pictures.

Although his photos have always retained their cutting edge brilliance, I often wonder if his observations and opinions changed with age, and the nature of these other conflicts. Sadly, Capa died doing what he did best, providing us at home with a glimpse of the emotions and moments of war. Thankfully, his photos will remain eternal.
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