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Cover: Bosma 2011: Photography meets Film: Capa, Ivens and Fernhout in China 1938.

Photography meets Film: Capa, Ivens and Fernhout in China, 1938

Rixt A. Bosma, 2011

Published with support from the Manfred & Hanna Heiting Fund in the series Rijksmuseum Studies in Photography, volume 8

Hardcover | 40 full color illustrations | 56 pages | English edition of 850 copies | ISBN 978 90 71450 31 0 | Amsterdam 2011 |
Editorial coordination: Mattie Boom, Hans Rooseboom

Previously unknown photos of Robert Capa's trip to China published (Rijksmuseum Press Release)

Previously unknown photos taken by photographer Robert Capa in 1938 in China will be revealed for the first time in a photobook that is being published as part of the Rijksmuseum Studies in Photography series. Many previously unpublished photos provide more details of the journey that Capa made through China with Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens and cameraman John Fernhout.

Photo historian Rixt Bosma (1979) uncovered the photos while researching the journey that Robert Capa (1913-1954) made through China, which at that time was at war with Japan. It turned out that Dutch museums and archives were in possession of many photos, production stills and photo albums, some of which were previously unknown and unpublished, including thirty photos that are part of the Rijksmuseum collection. They literally give the viewer a behind the scenes look at how war reporting - and filmmaking - were practised in those days. Amongst other insights, the photos provide information on the presence of the Chinese authorities (censorship) and about the other Western journalists and photographers that Capa, Ivens and Fernhout met while in China.

The trip came about because filmmaker Joris Ivens asked Robert Capa to accompany him on a trip to China, where Ivens and his cameraman John Fernhout wanted to record images of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Capa worked as a stills photographer and camera assistant for Ivens, but also undertook many photojournalism projects on his own initiative that he then published in well-known international magazines such as LIFE, Paris Match and Regards and the Dutch weekly Katholieke Illustratie.

Furthermore, correspondence with Capa's home front, namely his family and former agent in New York, has also revealed that the then 24-year-old photographer's experiences in China were what led to the foundation of the Magnum Photos agency in 1947.