While walking around town the other day, in between meet ups with family and an old friend, I stumbled upon the International Center of Photography building on 6th Avenue.
I say lucky because the current focus of their exhibits ins the Spanish Civil War, which was a period of time that always fascinated me, so I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the photos and reading some of the history.
It also served as a learning experience in another way. They have an exhibit called “Other Weapons” which chronicled the use of photos and other propaganda during this war. Since you could boil down much of this war to a clash between Fascism and Communism, you can imagine the level of propaganda! It served as an interesting reminder that every one has an agenda, and a point of view, and even something that we sometimes take for granted as “truth”, unaltered photos or videos, aren’t. What you see is what the photographer or videographer has already decided he or she wants you to see.
The other interesting history was more of a professional lesson about always being careful when you’re working with originals. They had the famous Robert Capa D-Day photographs on display, next to the story of how these are the only negatives that survived. You can read the history here yourself:
He had used three rolls of film and exposed 106 frames. After reaching England, he sped by train to London and delivered his precious film for developing.
A darkroom technician was almost as anxious to see the invasion images as Capa himself. In his haste, the technician dried the film too quickly. The excess heat melted the emulsion on all but 10 of the frames.
The Francesc Torres project was also a very interesting, and disturbing, look into the history of the war, through the images of a mass grave being excavated almost 70 years later.
If you’re in N.Y. before Jan 8, I’d definitely add it to the to-do list!
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