Messums announce the launch of their new photographic department and its partnership with the Kogan Collection on a ground-breaking series of exhibitions, starting with ‘Close Enough’, a touring exhibition featuring unique vintage photographs by Robert Capa. ‘Close Enough’ will open at their London gallery and will preview at Photo London before touring their Wiltshire and Yorkshire Venues.
Robert Capa (1913 – 1954) is a legend in the history of photojournalism and possibly the most famous war photographer of the last century. Born in Budapest, he moved to Berlin when he was 18, and worked as a darkroom assistant. With the rise of Fascism in Germany, he went to Paris and later to New York to work as a photojournalist. He changed his name to ‘Robert Capa’ because he thought it would be easily recognisable – and it sounded American. Capa died at 40 years old and covered five diﬀerent wars during his lifetime: the Spanish Civil War; the Sino- Japanese War; the Second World War; the 1948 Arab-Israeli War; and the first Indochina War.
The exhibition ‘Close Enough’ will feature a succession of iconic stories made throughout Capa’s career, from the altogether varying contexts in which he found himself. The title of the show references and questions Capa’s iconic photographic mantra.
“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Robert Capa
‘Close Enough’ evokes the scenes he witnessed and the risks taken, the challenges he encountered in photographing tragedy and death while remaining a detached observer, as well as the legacy of this photographic approach today.
The exhibition presents 50 vintage photographs selected from the Kogan Collection, including the second earliest print in existence of The Falling Soldier – now widely recognised as one of the most important war photographs of all time. The central piece in this exhibition is Capa’s original Leica camera which took his earliest photographs. Exhibited for the first time, the camera offers a rare insight into Capa’s image-making process and forthcoming extraordinary photographic journey. Photographs of anonymous soldiers and civilians will sit alongside portraits of luminaries, such as Trotsky and Steinbeck. ‘Close Enough’ highlights the inclusive nature of Capa’s work encompassing as it does the suffering, tenderness, humour – and wonder – of the human condition.
The Kogan Collection is one of the largest private collections of conflict photography in the UK and has to this date, never been shown. David Kogan OBE, historian, journalist and former Magnum Photos CEO, started this collection twenty years ago, with a particular interest in significant events of modern history and their photographic documentation. With more than 350 prints dating from 1895 to 2015, a group of 800 vintage NASA photographs, first and limited-edition photography books, Life, Picture Post and Time magazines and artefacts, the Kogan Collection offers the immediacy of first-hand documents of history, as well as an in-depth and comprehensive view of the history of photojournalism and documentary photography in Europe and North America.
‘Close Enough’ reflects Messums Photography’s ambition to offer its clients, members and broader audience expertise in the genre of photography. The department aims to present compelling content across its online and physical platforms that is timely and relevant, encouraging us to think of photography as a way to navigate, comprehend and question how history has been depicted and is remembered.
Series of exhibitions curated by Julie Bonzon (Dr), Director of Photography, Messums London.
Photo London 2021 : Robert Capa : Close Enough : The Kogan Collection
Open to the public 9-12 September, 2021
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA