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LIFE : Robert Capa by Myron Davis
Robert Capa © 1943 Myron Davis
If you've seen the biography of Robert Capa, you've seen a picture of Bob in a bathtub reading. Bob came down to Washington during World War II to get his correspondent’s credentials, and he asked if he could stay at my apartment there. I said, “Sure, Bob.” In the morning, though, he would get into the bathroom ahead of me and sit soaking in the tub for an hour or two reading his books. To become the great war photographer which he was, he had transformed himself during the Spanish Civil War. He had manufactured his name. His real name was Endre Friedmann. I think he needed that period in the hot bathtub every morning to convert himself from a Friedmann into a Capa.
I would bang on that door. I'd say, “I've got to get in there.” He wouldn't unlock the door. One morning he forgot to lock the door. He still wasn't going to get out, so I grabbed my Rolleiflex with a flashbulb and started taking pictures. I think I took two frames, one of which was one that I sent to his brother Cornell Capa after Bob's death and wrote a letter of condolence. Cornell had that used in Robert Capa, a Biography by Richard Whelan, but the reason that picture exists is that's the only way I could get Bob out of my bathtub.
(Interviewed on October 28, 1993. Excerpted from: John Loengard, LIFE Photographers: What They Saw, Boston, A Bullfinch Press Book, 1998)