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Slightly Out of Focus (Anglais) Broché – 12 juin 2001

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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

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Format: Relié
Robert Capa est indéniablement un géant du photojournalisme de guerre, un de ses fondateur. Une telle image, acquise de son vivant, aurait été un fardeau accablant pour certains. Mais pas pour "Bob", qui s'en va glaner,la fleur à l'objectif, quelques unes des plus poignantes images de la seconde guerre mondiale. Ne nous y trompons pas. Ce récit autobiographique, d'une exactitude parfois discutable lorsqu'il s'agit d'anecdotes, cache un trésor extraordinaire : un Homme au coeur immense, au courage extrème et à l'honnêteté intellectuelle sans faille. Il fait sourire, rire aussi parfois (souvent à ses dépends) mais surtout, il sait tout partager avec simplicité...
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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 Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9657fdd4) étoiles sur 5 33 commentaires
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x964101b0) étoiles sur 5 A Truly Marvelous, Excellent Work. Must Read. 16 novembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
After reading the book, I felt a deep sadness, not because of anything Capa had written, but because I realized that I would never get the opportunity to meet the author in person, to ask so many more questions. I wanted to hear for real that playful, romantic Hungarian voice, which I had heard all along in my head, re-tell one of his memoirs. They are humourous, intense and ironic. They are bitter-sweet, magically woven anecdotes spread over the horror and violence of war. The work is so honest, it is as if the reader has just sat down beside a fire-place with Capa and been told a yarn over a bottle of thirty year-old brandy. For us, Robert Capa has composed a memoir of crawling beside American troops assaulting Salerno, of struggling for the picture amidst shells and bullets, about parachuting into Sicily and landing in the first wave on D-Day and about a romance with a rosy-haired lady he calls Pinky. Robert Capa may be not be as famous today as the quality of his life's work entitles him to be, but he is, without a doubt, the most interesting, charismatic and magical personalities with which one may become acquainted on paper. Slightly Out Of Focus has thankfully been re-pressed in this 1999 edition, hopefully exposing more people to the work of this brilliant man. The book is ideal for anyone who might, on a rainy day, feel the urge to talk with an old friend and listen to a magnificent tale.
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x965a2c9c) étoiles sur 5 The Incorrigible Capa 2 décembre 2003
Par Melissa Dunson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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 in...my 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."
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96634060) étoiles sur 5 A remarkable book by a remarkable person 2 novembre 2000
Par Kam Cheung - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
There is no exaggeration in saying that Capa is a remarkable person - being expelled out of his hometown at the age of 17, struggled and survived and managed to prove himself well in a land completely foreign to himself, developed and maintained a great sense of humor and humanity against all the odds, landed on the "easy red" on the D Day with the Allied's first wave ... From his writing and pictures one can feel great passion. Unlike many war photographers who claim to hate wars (I can't stop thinking of James Nachtway, sorry fans of Jim), Capa would never use a wound to decorate his pictures. This book is very different from other books about wars. A love story is interwoven with Capa's personal account of the WWII. There are also some magnificant photos among the pages. You may have seen them elsewhere but here you can view them together with descriptions written by Capa himself. I have only one complaint - for no obvious reasons the writer of the introduction disclosed the name of the guy who married Capa's loved girl, whose identity Capa had as a gentleman tried hard to conceal. This flaw is however not Capa's.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96615084) étoiles sur 5 A Classic Story 5 juin 2000
Par David A. Wend - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is a remarkable book by a great photographer. Robert Capa, as has been said, invented himself. This is evident in this book: as a Hungarian living the the United States during war time (technically an enemy alien) and broke, he managed to effortlessly have a job offered to him, get a passport (as if by magic) and become an American war photographer.
Mr. Capa wrote well for someone who learned English but his marvelous photographs included in this book say much more than the words on the printed page. Some of the photographs were familiar and others were new for me. They are touched with compassion and so involved with the scene as if the camera eye were able to explore the world invisible.
In sum, a wonderful book to read and treasure for Capa's outlook on life, his experiences and his unique photographs.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96410258) étoiles sur 5 Fantastic Read... 21 septembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Capa was not only one of the greatest photographers who ever lived, he was also an amazing storyteller and human being. This book shows his humour and humanity in the world's darkest hour.
45 years after his death, he is still sorely missed.
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