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40 Days of Dating

For everyone who has the slightest of interest in social experiments and relationship psychology – 40 Days of Dating will keep you in its spell from Day 1 to Day 40. Here is what their “About” reads:

What do you do when you’re tired of the prospect of dating? Two good friends with opposite relationship problems found themselves single at the same time. As an experiment, they dated for 40 days.

Since both of them were designers, the website is a colourful journey of the 40 days, interspersed with beautiful typography of a moment or a scenario that stood out from that particular day. They answer the exact same questions about each other every day and it makes for an interesting read and some amazing material to define the human psychology. There are moments when you will relate with their situation, the trivial topics they sometimes fight over and the misunderstandings.

Here is the link to the website which you must scroll through even if you cannot read through it:

http://fortydaysofdating.com/

TBH, I think people who have been dating for quiet some while should answer these questions as well. It would probably give them a wholly new perspective on life and of course, on their relationship as well.

 

Summer Nights

There is this thing about summer nights, a nostalgia that doesn’t fade, be it months or years or even decades.

I remember the nights I spent at my Nani’s place, lying in the cot on the night under a starry sky, the rings of the mortein coil rising to the sky while the pomeranian who slept below my cot snored lightly.

I remember the nights at my Dadi’s house, when there wasn’t even a cot to lie on, just a hard plastic mat and sometimes it used to get so cold in May that we used to bring out the blankets from the trunk on the terrace.

It was an altogether different feeling, waking up to sunshine on your face and once in a while, to rains, when you had to wake up and rush inside, taking your bedding and covers along.

I remember the nights at my house in Lucknow. It didn’t happen often but when it did, I was surprisingly glad. No electricity meant darkness, which meant freedom, to go to the terrace, in the middle of the night or outside, to exchange some notes with people you couldn’t meet otherwise.

Summer,

A love hate relationship with you has given me memories which are equally bittersweet. There were power cuts all the time, but anything beyond the mundane life was welcome. It seemed like life got even more monotonous during your time. It was the same day lived, over and over again, specially during the vacations which we craved  for but within 10 days, got bored of.

Now, there is watermelon in the evening, followed by finally switching off the A.C., when Maa came rushing in to tell us to get some fresh air. We reluctantly go to the rooftop and listen to some music until it is dark and the mosquitoes attack. And then we go back to our artificially created atmosphere.

I do miss you, it is true. I miss the feel of heat on my skin when I came back from school, craving a chilled glass of sherbet. I miss sitting on the staircase playing cards with my cousins because we couldn’t watch TV. Most of all, I miss the darkness of the night, where everyone gathered around together, because they had no screens to look at, no instruments to distract them, and we could just be there, in the moment, waiting for the light to come back and at the same time wishing that it does not.

I miss you, Summer.

Lost and Found

I haven’t written on the blog for a really long time but finding this treasure forced me to write again. I am a sucker for cheesy videos and if they are couples with great animation and even better music, my day is made! This channel has several such videos and I just cannot wait to go back home and binge watch all of them.

For the time being, watch this and relive the charm of UP (sort of).

There is something about older couples that just makes you go ‘Aww’. It’s beautiful how the little elements keep popping up and all of those tiny things merge in the end to form a beautiful story. All the while it left me wondering about what’s going to happen and the end was the best it could possibly be. ❤

To find love in objects of affection is one thing, but to make love grow through them is completely another.

 

Mumbai Montage

Last night, me and my friend decided to go on a long drive on a bike in Mumbai. He came to pick me up at two a.m. and then it began. It was a chilly night and the roads, except for the highway were mostly deserted. If it were a movie, I would say it was all in black and yellow with just a few colours and bokehs sprewn here and there. We reached Bandra, after being searched by the police once for signs of drunken drinking. I realised it was a horrible horrible job. Instead of using breath analysers, a policemen would come near you and smell your breath in the pretense of asking your name. It ought to be included in the list for the “worst jobs around the world.” Then there was the ocean. Owing to low tide, the ocean was a huge and still mass of water. The moon was almost full. And believe me when I say it looked like somebody jad mashed up pieces of glasses and spread the shards on a huge black canvas which shimmered and sparkled in the black of the night. And it was hard to believe that this was Bandra. Then came Haji Ali, the glittering blue lights, the colours I talked about earlier, in the midst of the huge canvas. Slowly the architecture begins to change. There is an oncoming of tall buildings with darkened hollows for windows. The horizon is not at all visible, unlike the seaface earlier. And suddenly we have marine drive. It only gets better. The air gets colder than ever before. The huge body of water looks like an even more beautiful artwork. The moon in all its glory, seemed to be proud of its beauty. Then we came across the beautiful colonial past, the architectural heritage of Mumbai. In the dark of the knight they looked like those ancient black and white pictures that we now find printed on postcards. It was nearly 5 a.m. by this time and the beautiful highcourt decided to tell this to us with its beautiful chiming in the silent of the night. We decided to take a break and have some food with some caramel tea (I named it because of its peculiar taste) at an Irani cafe which was the only one open at the time. And finally after that we made our way back home. It was a beautiful night, a night to remember. And it felt as if everything fell into piece just to make it perfect for us, like those five planets that have aligned in the same line for the first time in decades.

Letters for Love/Being Unwanted (Guest Post)

Before you wonder why I didn’t title this post ‘Love Letters’ or ‘Letters of Love”, I want to explain and ask you at the same time what Love means to you? To me it means so many things, even hate, but this is a letter written for Love, not out of Love, not about Love but just for it. Make what you can of it. 🙂

Oh and also Special thanks to our writer, i.e. not me but someone who I begged to write this for me, since I have been too busy with work. And he hasn’t let me down. I love your writing, I really do. Here it goes:

BEING UNWANTED

So today, I will like to confess one of the feelings that come to me more often than others. I, for some reason, always find myself with people who are facing some crisis. With time this thing rooted deep inside me. I started feeling satisfied with the knowledge that maybe people needed me sometimes even if it was only in their moments of sorrow. Call it a lame effort to be wanted by others or an attempt to hold some place important in others’ lives. Or maybe I think too much. Someone told me that I always look for tragedies, but this is just what I have become. I don’t mind tragedies a single bit because I feel that people reveal their innermost feelings at that moment. I wish I could take those moments of closeness, the belonging to merrier times also but almost always I find myself getting sidelined for someone else who simply makes their way into lives of others when the grass is green and when they don’t have to live through autumn. Then again I start looking out for the next estranged soul. I fully agree that my life may seem tempting to others. Some people have in fact asked me that why do I even get sad, but its ingrained in me. I try to be alone at times hoping someone will ask about me.

This feeling naturally comes, when I see people enjoying with others, I find myself looking at people’s happy faces thinking it would have been so fucking amazing if I would have been the one sharing that laughter, if your smile would have started from your lips and would have stopped at my cheekbones. I always try to find a crevice in people’s conversations to an untold secret which would act like a thread that would keep us entwined forever with each other. I love to gradually fade into the background watching how people react to my absence.

You have been a great support to me amidst all the negativity. As I have said a million times, a lighthouse in the cold wild raging sea, a drop of water in the scorching heat of the desert, that last breath for which a man craves on his deathbed, those last few  of oxygen in a man’s tank on a faraway planet.

P.S. – You are the one who I believe can take me out of this perpetual turmoil. Only you have the charm.

A Reply

I think I am cast in a very different stone. I am the kind who wants to be with people in their good times and their bad. If they choose to be with me only in either one of them, then I carve out a different path for myself, far away from theirs. For me, it’s always all or nothing. The only thing I hope for is that I make you a part of all my seasons. That, I think, could be the best gift I could ever give you.

P.S. Don’t talk about lighthouses, they drive me crazy! 🙂 ❤

Handwritten Letters

I have a wall in my room, decked up with posters, drawings and postcards, lots of them! I have been an avid writer and a believer in the ancient art of letter writing (Notice Gone Girl reference). So I have been writing letters to friends for a while now. It all started with me and a friend exchanging notes and letters on a monthly basis. When we shifted to new cities, we started posting letter to each other. It was not that we didn’t have any other means of communication, we had access to internet and text-ed each other on a daily basis. It was just that I could express myself so much better in a one-sided conversation where I could put my feelings into words on something material. Slowly, I started writing more and more letters to more friends, newly made friends who were brought closer when I expressed my feelings for them through my letters.

A friend, sent me postcards of all the places we had been to together with really cute messages and poems on the back. Another friend sent me a beautiful postcard of the city I was born in with a poem on life and death which summed up the essence of Banaras (Varanasi). A teacher gave me a postcard that he had designed and coincidentally it was of my Hometown and I instantly fell in love with it. There are several others which I found at shops and cafes and couldn’t resist picking up. Letters and postcards are storehouses of memory that aren’t credited enough for the power they hold. This reminds me that I should be getting back to writing something yet again to bring people even more close! ❤

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Button Poetry

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Thoughts on Rumi

Tonight feels like the night to read Rumi. I was first introduced to him only recently by a friend and there is no way someone could not love his writing (don’t mind the double negatives). Ever since I read his poetry/verses I keep going back to Kitaabkhana, to the section where his books are and get lost in them. Here are some of his gems. ❤

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest
Where no one sees you,
But sometimes I do,
And that sight becomes art.

Wow, the search for a the muse comes alive through his lines. Even for me, there is this constant search for inspiration which is only satiated by something like a memory or something that love teaches me on this journey called life. 🙂

This moment that love comes to rest in me,
Many beings in one being.
In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
Inside the needle’s eye, a turning night of stars.

Just the beauty of how a million things could be housed into a single entity with the power of love.

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
How blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.

Clichéd? But beautiful.

I know a lot must have been lost in translation but then that gives me another thing to do in life. Someday maybe I will learn to read it in its original form. And then I will fall even more in love with him, if that’s possible. 🙂

-S.

Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes completed 30 year anniversary this year. Without any doubt, it is one of my favourite daily comic strips. Here are some of my favourites saved over the years. 🙂screenshot_2013-04-21_1454-1 screenshot_2013-04-21_1535-1 screenshot_2013-04-12_1707-1 screenshot_2013-04-12_1641-1 screenshot_2013-04-12_1640-1 screenshot_2013-04-12_1550-1 screenshot_2013-04-10_1158-1 screenshot_2013-04-10_1213-1 screenshot_2013-04-10_1223-1 screenshot_2013-04-10_1225-1 screenshot_2013-04-10_1225_1-1 screenshot_2013-04-10_1303-1

Calvin and Hobbes is a daily comic strip by American cartoonist Bill Watterson that was syndicated from November 18, 1985 to December 31, 1995. It follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English political philosopher. At the height of its popularity, Calvin and Hobbes was featured in over 2,400 newspapers worldwide. As of January 2015, reruns of the strip still appear in more than 50 countries. By 2010 nearly 45 million copies of the 18 Calvin and Hobbes books have been sold.

Calvin and Hobbes is set in the contemporary United States in an unspecified suburban area, which is vaguely suggested to be in northeast Ohio. The strip depicts Calvin’s flights of fancy and his friendship with Hobbes. It also examines Calvin’s relationships with family and classmates. Hobbes’ dual nature is a defining motif for the strip: to Calvin, Hobbes is a live anthropomorphic tiger; all the other characters see him as an inanimate stuffed toy. Though the series does not mention specific political figures or current events, it does explore broad issues like environmentalism, public education, philosophical quandaries, and the flaws of opinion polls.

(Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_and_Hobbes)

Taro, I have sprayed you into my eyes.

So I was randomly listening to Alt-J on YouTube and I came across this beautiful song: Taro.

Just btw, this is not the official video.

I decided to go to the roots of the inspiration and you won’t believe what I found.

The lyrics go like:

Indochina, Capa jumps Jeep, two feet creep up the road

To photo, to record meat lumps and war,

They advance as does his chance – very yellow white flash.

A violent wrench grips mass, rips light, tears limbs like rags,

Burst so high finally Capa lands,

Mine is a watery pit. Painless with immense distance

From medic from colleague, friend, enemy, foe, him five yards from his leg,

From you Taro.

Do not spray into eyes – I have sprayed you into my eyes.

3:10 pm, Capa pends death, quivers, last rattles, last chokes

All colours and cares glaze to grey, shrivelled and stricken to dots,

Left hand grasps what the body grasps not – le photographe est mort.

3.1415, alive no longer my amour, faded for home May of ‘54

Doors open like arms my love, Painless with a great closeness

To Capa, to Capa Capa dark after nothing, re-united with his leg and with you, Taro.

Do not spray into eyes – I have sprayed you into my eyes.

Hey Taro!

Long story cut short, Gerda Taro was born into a Jewish family that migrated from Galicia to Germany.Taro is regarded as the first female photojournalist to cover the front lines of a war and to die while doing so. She was a war photojournalist in the late 40’s/early 50’s and died in her line of work when a tank collided into the side of a car she was riding on. Gerda’s romantic interest, and colleague, Robert Capa left his Jeep to enter a hostile war zone to take pictures, during the first Indo-China war. He stepped on a landmine however, which blew apart his left leg. He was taken to a medical station where he died with his camera in his hand.

Here is Guardian’s article talking about their life, the novel published on it and the movie made on them (http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/may/13/robert-capa-gerda-taro-relationship):

It begins with a photograph. In 1934 a struggling Hungarian photographer, André Friedmann, living in exile in Paris, is commissioned to take publicity pictures for a Swiss life insurance company’s advertising brochure. On the lookout for potential models, he approaches a young Swiss refugee, Ruth Cerf, in a café on the Left Bank and convinces her to pose for him in a Montparnasse park.

Because she does not entirely trust the scruffy young charmer, Ruth brings along her friend Gerta Pohorylle, a petite redhead with a winning smile and a confident manner. So begins the most iconic relationship in the history of photography, and an intertwined and complex story of radical politics, bohemianism and bravery that, in the intervening years, has taken on the shadings of a modern myth.

Together, André Friedmann and Gerta Pohorylle would change their names and their destiny, becoming Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, the most celebrated visual chroniclers of the Spanish civil war. Together, too, they would change the nature of war photography, reinventing the form in a way that resonates to this day. Capa went on to become the most famous of the two, and arguably the most famous war photographer of the 20th century due to his visceral images of the D-day landings on Omaha Beach in Normandy. His most famous quote would become a dictum by which ensuing generations of war photographers worked: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

This brave, but cavalier, approach to getting pictures of the action from within the action would cost both Gerda Taro and Robert Capa their lives – the former killed on the frontline of the Spanish civil war in 1937; the latter blown up by a land mine in Indochina in 1954. The myth of Robert Capa and Gerda Taro continues apace today with the British publication of a novel called Waiting for Robert Capa by Susana Fortes, a Spanish novelist and teacher. The book won the coveted Premio Fernando Lara in Spain on its initial publication in 2009 and has since been translated into 20 languages; the film rights have been bought by Michael Mann, the award-winning director of Heat (1995), The Insider (1999) and Public Enemies (2009). Fortes’s short novel is essentially a historical romance that concentrates on the relationship between Capa and Taro. While the historical settings are accurate, Fortes literally puts words into each of their mouths, imagining conversations, thoughts and debates as well as accentuating both the doomed romance and the reckless bohemianism of the times.

With the Spanish civil war as its main backdrop, the narrative is an uneasy, sometimes awkward, merging of fact and fiction, and will almost certainly offend the many guardians of both Capa and Taro’s reputations just as it will no doubt entrance the mainstream cinema-going audience should it be made into a Hollywood film. “I tried to be very respectful of the facts – the biographical data, the locations etc,” says Fortes when I contact her in Spain, where she is on a book publicity tour. “I went through everything I could find: letters, memories, biographies… But for a novel to breathe, you have to build souls for your characters. This is reflected in the dialogue, the literary tension, the humour, the fights, the passion, the sex, the mixed feelings. In other words, life. That’s part of the novelist’s job. One always writes with one foot on the ground and the other in the air. It is the only way to walk the path.”

However, when I mention the book to Jimmy Fox – veteran photographic historian and erstwhile director of the famous Magnum agency, which Capa co-founded with Henri Cartier-Bresson – he says: “I was dismayed by the novel. It was so fluttery and sugary. I think it is wrong to elevate the romance in that way. Capa was a flamboyant guy, a great drinker and a womaniser who had so many lovers, including Ingrid Bergman. Taro found the love of her life in Ted Allan, the man who was with her when she was fatally wounded. But of course that does not fit the big simplified romantic version so neatly.”

The independent filmmaker Trisha Ziff, who directed The Mexican Suitcase (2010) about the discovery of a hoard of unseen negatives by Capa, Taro and David “Chim” Seymour, concurs. “Waiting for Robert Capa is a fiction based on a romance, but it is also a romance based on a fiction. If it becomes a Hollywood film, the myth will no doubt take over.”

If there is one thing all the experts agree on, it is that nothing was straightforward about Robert Capa and Gerda Taro’s relationship. Shortly after their first meeting, the young André Friedmann was sent to Spain on an assignment for a Berlin-based photo magazine. He subsequently photographed the Holy Week procession in Seville and described the festivities to Gerta Pohorylle in a letter that also mentioned how much he was thinking about her. On his return, he spent the summer holidaying in the south of France with Gerta and her friends. According to Ruth Cerf, quoted in Alex Kershaw’s book Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa, the pair “fell in love in the south of France” despite her suspicion that he was “a rogue and a womaniser”. If the young Gerta was fascinated by his waywardness, he in turn was taken by her independent spirit. “Here was a woman,” writes Kershaw, “who didn’t suffocate him with affection, and who was as unashamed by her sexuality as she was conscious of her outsider status in Paris as a German Jew.” This gets to the heart of the couple’s mutual attraction: their shared radicalism and acute sense of exile. Friedmann had departed his native Hungary for Berlin in 1931 soon after his arrest by the secret police for leftist student activism. In February 1933, aged 19, he had fled Berlin when Hitler assumed power, travelling to Vienna, then back home to Budapest, before departing Hungary for good in September to live in penury in Paris, where he met Pohorylle on that fateful day in 1934.

By then, she too had experienced radical politics, arrest and flight. Born to bourgeois parents in Stuttgart in 1910, Pohorylle joined a young communist organisation and, around the time Friedmann was fleeing Berlin, was distributing anti-Nazi leaflets and putting up communist propaganda posters on walls under cover of darkness. She was arrested by the Nazis on 19 March 1933 and interrogated about a supposed Bolshevik plot to overthrow Hitler.

On her release, she used a fake passport to travel overland to Paris, where she was looked after by a communist network. Both André Friedmann and Gerta Pohorylle, though still young, were already seasoned activists and exiles when they met, intent on forging new lives for themselves while also staying loyal to their radical leftist roots.

Though Friedmann could seldom afford to buy film and often had to pawn his camera to survive in Paris, he schooled Pohorylle in the rudiments of photography and found her a job in the newly formed Alliance Photo picture agency. And she, it seemed, anchored him – at least for a while. “Without Gerta, André would not have made it,” the late Eva Besnyö, another Hungarian photographer who mixed in the same bohemian circles in Berlin, told Kershaw. “She picked him up, gave him direction. He had never wanted an ordinary life, and so when things didn’t go well, he drank and gambled. He was in a bad way when they met, and maybe without her it would have been the end for him.”

As Friedmann’s photographic career tentatively took off in Paris, his younger brother Cornell joined him, developing the photographs taken by André as well as those of his friends, Henri Cartier-Bresson and David “Chim” Seymour, in a darkened bathroom in a hotel that overlooked the famous Café du Dôme. It was there that the three photographers mingled with philosophers, writers and artists, drinking and dreaming of better times. It was around this time also that André Friedmann and Gerta Pohorylle became Robert Capa and Gerda Taro in a shared act of self-reinvention that still seems daring today.

The first anyone else heard of Robert Capa was when the couple turned up at the offices of Alliance Photo and announced they had discovered a famous American photographer of that name. The pair soon found they could sell photographs attributed to the fictitious Capa to French photographic agencies for three times the price of Friedmann’s, such was the status accorded visiting American photographers. Their joint ruse was soon discovered, but the pseudonyms remained in place. In her essay for the exhibition catalogue Gerda Taro: Archive, published in 2007, Irme Schaber notes: “Taro and Capa were not merely reacting to their precarious economic situation. They were responding as well to the antisemitism of Germany and the increasing antipathy towards foreigners in France. And to elude the stigma attached to being refugees, they spurned every ethnic or religious label.”

If their joint self-reinvention was the first significant factor in the dramatic trajectory of Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, the second was their decision to go together to Spain in 1936 to cover the republican resistance to Franco’s fascist rebels. Like many writers and artists, including George Orwell and André Malraux, they went there out of political conviction and scorned any notion of journalistic detachment. The fight against fascism was, in a very real and personal way, their fight, given their history as exiles and refugees, and the Spanish civil war was the literal and metaphorical frontline of that battle.

It was an adventure, though, that almost ended as soon as it had begun, when the plane hired by the French magazine Vu to take them to Barcelona crash-landed in a field on the outskirts of the city. The pair limped into Barcelona to find scenes of ferment and disorder as anarchist forces took over the city. There, they photographed young republicans leaving Barcelona for the frontlines. Then in September they travelled together to the front themselves, arriving in the village of Cerro Muriano near Córdoba, where they found, and photographed, crowds of villagers fleeing their homes as the fascists rained shells down on the village. In one famous series of pictures, Capa captured Taro crouched, camera in hand, behind a wall beside a republican soldier. In another even more famous picture, perhaps the most well-known war photograph ever, Capa caught a militiaman at the very moment of his death from a sniper’s bullet.

In that split second, the legend of Robert Capa, war photographer, was born, and decades later that same image would become the centre of a debate that still simmers over the ethics and veracity of war photography. In Waiting for Robert Capa, Fortes writes: “Death of a Loyalist Militiaman contained all the drama of Goya’s Third of May 1808 painting, all the rage that Guernica would later show… Its strength, like all symbols, didn’t lie in just the image, but in what it was representing.” Fortes also imagines Taro gently probing Capa for the story of what really happened that day, and him replying: “We were just fooling around, that’s all. Perhaps I complained that everything was far too calm and that there wasn’t anything interesting to photograph. Then some of the men started to run down the slope and I joined in as well. We went up and down the hill several times. We were all feeling good. Laughing. They shot in the air. I took several photographs…”

Though the context of the photograph is still contested, the imagined conversation does describe what probably happened that day just before a Francoist sniper returned fire from across the hills, killing the militiaman who was running down the hill for Capa’s camera. “People want the truth from war photography more than they do from any other kind of photography,” says Jimmy Fox, the Magnum picture editor who has worked with the likes of Don McCullin and Philip Jones Griffiths, “but a flat surface of an image is not the reality and never can be.”

In Spain, Capa soon developed a reputation for taking photographs whatever the risk, setting the tone for war reportage as we now know it. Taro, too, was often seen running across the battle lines with her camera, her bravery matched by her recklessness. She travelled back and forth to the frontlines, shooting what she saw, often driven by a mixture of humanity, political commitment and a shrewd understanding of the power of the photograph to shape public opinion.

Throughout 1937, Taro visited several frontlines, either with Capa or on her own. They managed to return to Paris for a short vacation in July that year, celebrating Bastille Day by dancing in the streets below Sacre Coeur and, according to Schaber, hatching “great plans for the future”. Taro then returned to Spain alone, despite the growing concerns of her friends who, having seen her recent photographs of the fighting, feared for her safety.

Defying a ban on journalists travelling to the front, she once again made her way to Brunete with the Canadian journalist Ted Allan, her close friend, travelling companion and soon-to-be lover. According to Allan’s diaries, written later, they spent “mornings afternoons and evenings together chasing stories… For three or four weeks we were constant companions. And finally, one afternoon, we ended up in her hotel room.” She told Allan: “Capa is my friend, my copain,” and said she might be travelling to China with him. “Nothing was settled,” wrote Allan. “Everything was possible.”

On Sunday 25July, the pair found themselves trapped in a foxhole near Brunete as bombs fell around them relentlessly. Taro kept on photographing, often holding her camera high above her head to capture the carnage. Allan protected her with a film camera as shrapnel and rocks fell around them. Then, as republican troops began pulling out of the area, Taro and Allan ran out of the foxhole and hitched a ride on the running board of a car while the planes continued to strafe the retreating convoy. In the chaos, the car was then rammed by an out-of-control republican tank and the couple were thrown into the dirt. Transported to a nearby field hospital, Taro died from her injuries in the early hours of the following morning. She was 26. The injured Allan did not get to see her again. According to Irene Golden, the nurse who was on duty, her last words were: “Did they take care of my camera?”

Gerda Taro’s funeral in Paris was attended by tens of thousands of mourners, including Capa, Chim and Ted Allan. Orchestrated by the French communist party, which claimed her as one of its own, it became, as Schaber puts it, “a spectacular manifestation of international solidarity with the Spanish republic”. In death, Gerda Taro became a hero. Robert Capa went on to become the most celebrated and mythologised war photographer of the century until he, too, died in action in Indochina in 1954 at the age of 40. “He never talked about her,” says the photographer Ata Kandó in The Mexican Suitcase.

Gerda Taro has now fully emerged from the shadow of Capa as an important photographer in her own right. Many photographs attributed to him – they initially shared the byline CAPA – have now been identified as hers. “She was a pioneering woman both as a photographer and a political activist,” says Ziff. “She was very liberated for her time, putting her work before any more traditional female role. She had reinvented herself – but the Capa myth was so strong that, even when she died, some newspapers described her as Robert Capa’s wife. Their lives were entwined, but she was very much her own woman, and he knew that. They both believed that their photographs could change the world and change the way people think. And their photographs did.”