John Steinbeck was a good friend of the photographer Robert Capa, with whom he spent a month travelling in the Soviet Union, producing a vivid work of written and photographic reportage.

Capa died a few years later in a war zone and this is Steinbeck’s pithy tribute to his skills. I liked the tripartite selection of motion, gaiety and heartbreak, though particularly striking was his capacity to ‘photograph thought’, invisible, intangible and, you would think, unphotographable.

‘He could photograph motion and gaiety and heartbreak. He could photograph thought.’


Source: John Steinbeck, quoted in Introduction, A Russian Journal, with photographs by Robert Capa (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1999 (1948)), p. xvii

Photo credit: Robert Capa by Gerda Taro, 1937 at Wikimedia Commons


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