Current Issue Excerpts
From the Editor
David Szymin (1911-1956), Gerta Pohorylle (1910-1937), and Endre Friedmann (1913-1954) are better known today under their pseudonyms - Chim, Gerda Taro, and Robert Capa. What these three invented, just before WWII, is simply photojournalism - or, in their time, how to photograph modern warfare. Their legacy has created today all of our own powerful visual vocabulary. History described by static official photographs or paintings has disappeared. For the first time, in 1937, we see war as it happens - Spanish villages decimated, crowds fearing aerial bombing, under a sky which will soon bear the name of Guernica. Capa, Taro, and Chim are the eyes of this brutal warfare in the same way as Orwell and Hemingway are its eloquent voices.
Gerda Taro will die crushed by a Spanish tank in 1937; Capa will fall in 1954 in Indochina, and Chim in the Suez Canal two years later. All three believed in their professional motto: "If the picture is not good enough, it's because we were not close enough." In this issue, Anna Porter tells the exciting story of how the Mexican suitcase containing the original film rolls of the three photographers has finally reached us.
We also present an extensive review of the ROM exhibit Mesopotamia - Inventing Our World, which splendidly conveys the achievement of this ancient civilization. Mesopotamia was at war for most of its long history, and each Sumerian city-state was constantly trying to defeat the others. The Assyrians were masters of sophisticated warfare and slaughtered all who resisted as an example to other cities. Today, these past civilizations have disappeared; ethnic warfare has not.