Text: José Manuel Serrano Esparza
Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza / José Luis Caballano Alcántara / Alfonso del Barrio / Paco Flores Soler
8:45 a.m of December 1, 2021. Arrivals Hall 1 of Madrid-Barajas Airport. Lisl Steiner, one of the most important and influential photographers in history, great friend of Julia Friedmann (Robert Capa´s mother) and Cornell Capa (Bob´s brother) has just arrived in the capital of Spain coming from New York City in the flight DL0126 on board of a Delta Airlines Boeing 767-300ER.
This is the first layover of her almost 8,000 km travel which will take her to Cerro Muriano (Córdoba) to attend the presentation of the book
" Robert Capa in Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936 : Birth of the Modern War Photojournalism ", scheduled for December 3, 2021 at 19:00 pm inside the Main Assembly Hall of the Municipal Office of Obejo Town Hall in Cerro Muriano (Córdoba), of whose prologue she is the author.
Lisl Steiner is 94 years old and needs to use a wheelchair. She gets tired very quickly, and in addition, she has just arrived exhausted, because a problem with a code in the Terminal 4 of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport has been on the brink of preventing her to get her New York-Madrid plane at 7:30 a.m of the previous day.
Robert Baldridge (a New York Times reporter and photographer working in Europe, whose images have also appeared in highly prestigious magazines like Vanity Fair, Vogue and others) and José Manuel Serrano Esparza, member of the Leica Historical Society of America and author of the book " Robert Capa in Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936 : Birth of the Modern War Photojournalism ", have been waiting for her since 7:30 a.m to welcome her, and a few seconds following her arrival, after greeing her, decide that Lisl must sit and rest, because she is worn-out and hasn´t got any stamina to go on her wheelchair towards the taxis area coterminous with the airport main entrance.
Robert Baldridge starts shooting Lisl Steiner with his smartphone.
Little by little, Lisl calms down. Her trip has been appalling, because the two hours prior to her boarding at the New York JFK Airport were full of stress, being about to miss her flight, though her huge courage and perseverance made her fight tooth and nail to have every document in time and she finally managed to get her airplane and land in Madrid after an eight hours voyage crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
She has only one thing in mind: she must arrive at Cerro Muriano any way, as is revealed by her facial expression.
She has come not only to pay her last homage to Robert Capa, the most important war photographer ever (whose fire baptism took place on September 5, 1936 in Cerro Muriano, a small village located 15 km in the north of Córdoba City and where the modern war photojournalism was born),
but also to her mother Julia Friedmann (of whom she was her best friend until her demise on December 30, 1961) and his brother Cornell Capa (with whom she likewise had a great friendship from 1960 to 2008, year of his passing away, and in whose burial she was present, in the same way as had happened with Robert Capa´s mother one 47 years before).
After resting for half an hour, Lisl Steiner is able to regain her strength, so accompanied by José Manuel Serrano Esparza and Robert Baldridge, all of them go to the main entrance of Madrid-Barajas Airport Terminal 1, where they get a taxi taking them to Hotel NH Barajas.
It´s 10:00 a.m of December 1, 2021.
Top priority at the moment is that Lisl can eat something and sleep as many hours as possible during this December 1, 2021, because next day we´ll have to go to Atocha Train Station to get a high speed AVE train taking us to Córdoba City, where we will be picked up by Juan José Obrero Castro (President of the Cerro Muriano Entrepreneurs Association), a person who has been very important in the development of the book project, along with the significant economical help of the Córdoba Provincial Council and the steady support of the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Council.
But once again, Lisl Steiner is dead beat. The accumulated fatigue is too much, and above all, she needs to overcome the great anguish she experienced the day before inside New York JFK Airport, when she was about to miss her plane to Madrid.
Once and again, she repeats that she has to arrive at Cerro Muriano (Córdoa) by all means, because Cornell Capa said to her different times before his death in 2008 that it was there where the career as a war photographer of his brother Robert Capa (who was accompanied by Gerda Taro) had begun.
Lisl Steiner goes on being sitting on a sofa of the Hotel NH Barajas lobby, enduring with remarkable composure the huge tireness invading her, while she waits for the coffee she has asked.
It´s already 10:15 a.m.
She starts asking once and again how long will the train take from Madrid to Córdoba,
and insists that she must go to Cerro Muriano to attend the presentation of the book.
We explain her that she will spend the whole December 1, 2021 in Madrid, resting as much as feasible, and that we´ll have to get the AVE high speed train the following day, December 2, at 7:00 a.m, to be in Córdoba City at 9:00 a.m.
Instants of huge emotional intensity impossible to explain with words start to be lived.
Lisl Steiner begins remembering her meetings in 1960 and 1961 with Julia Friedmann inside the small apartment that Cornell Capa and his wife Edie Schwartz had in Manhattan (New York), where she went to have tea every week.
And also the many times she took Julia Friedmann to Amawalk Cemetery, 64 km from New York City, for her to pray next to his son Robert Capa´s grave, and how once and again she collapsed by his tomb, crying inconsolably.
She also reports the phone call in which two months before her death, Julia Friedmann asked her to go to the aforementioned apartment of Cornell Capa in New York, because she didn´t feel well and wanted to deliver her something,
which turned out to be the 24 x 36 mm format Leica II (Model D) rangefinder camera with which Capa got his pictures of Cerro Muriano on September 5, 1936.
Lisl Steiner after having her coffee within the lobby of Hotel NH Barajas at 10:20 h of December 1, 2021. Apparently tired, the strenuous effort made by this woman to be present during the presentation of the book on Robert Capa in Cerro Muriano, war truly praiseworthy and can bluntly be defined as heroic and something whose timeless importance will increasingly rise as years go by.
Because this woman is a living legend in the history of photography and one of the most important and influential women photographers ever, with a 63 years impressive career as a photojournalist, during which she has photographed the most relevant personalities on earth in the scope of arts, politics, cinema, music, the greatest jazz performers, sport and science, like Henri Cariter-Bresson, Oscar Niemayer, Martin Luther King, Alfred Eisenstedt, Louis Armstrong, the United States presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jummy Carter and Ronald Reagan, the Formula 1 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio, Ray Bradbury, Pelé, Robert Kennedy, Duke Ellington, Ingrid Bergman, Miles Davids, Leonard Bernstein, Cornell Capa, Carmen Amaya, Adlai Stevenson, Franz Beckenbauer, Rod Steiger, Pau Casals, Pablo Neruda, Nat King Cole, Sir Thomas Beecham, the USA Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Erich Leinsdorf, Fidel Castro, B.B. King, Norman Mailer, Jorge Luis Borges, Claire Yaffa, Friedrich Gulda and others.
On the other hand, her images have also been published by highly prestigious international photography magazines like Leica World, Leica Fotografie International, Black + White Photography, FV and others.
And her pictures have been shown in photographic galleries all over the world, like the New York Leica Gallery, Westlicht Vienna, the Miami Concrete Space Gallery, the Fotogalerie Faber in Vienna, the Gallery of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Bratislava and others.
After spending most of December 1, 2021 sleeping and eating as much as possible to recover energy, Lisl Steiner, Robert Baldridge and José Manuel Serrano Esparza get up at 5:30 a.m, leave the Hotel NH Barajas and take a taxi bound for Atocha Train Station in Madrid, where they must meet Alfonso del Barrio (Director of FV Photography magazine, the most important in the world written in Spanish since 1987) at 6:30 a.m.
Lisl Steiner and Robert Baldridge at 6:20 a.m inside the access room to high speed AVE train Madrid-Córdoba on December 2, 2021.
Another image of Lisl Steiner with Robert Baldridge while both of them wait with José Manuel Serrano Esparza for the arrival of Alfonso del Bario, to travel from Madrid to Córdoba within the 7:00 a.m AVE high speed train.
8:10 a.m of December 2, 2021.
Robert Baldridge, Alfonso del Barrio, José Manuel Serrano Esparza and Lisl Steiner inside the Madrid-Córdoba high speed train while crossing Ciudad Real province.
9:00 a.m of December 2, 2021. Another image of Robert Baldridge, Alfonso del Barrio and Lisl Steiner within the Madrid-Córdoba high speed AVE train, which has just arrived in Córdoba City.
9:01 a.m of December 2, 2021. Lisl Steiner, Robert Baldridge, Alfonso del Barrio and José Manuel Serrano Esparza start to leave the AVE train to set foot on Córdoba City.
The narrowness of the AVE train central corridor compels Lisl to do an outstanding effort to be able to walk up to the exit door, because nobody can laterally grab one of her arms during those instants, to such an extent that Alfonso del Barrio holds her from behind to avoid a possible fall.
Lisl Steiner, Alfonso del Barrio and Robert Baldridge posing on the platform of the high speed AVE train in Córdoba City, after getting off it.
Lisl Steiner, Alfonso del Barrio and Robert Baldridge walk across the platform towards the elevator climbing to the adjacent street to the Córdoba AVE Train Station, while Robert Baldridge accompanies Lisl Steiner, who is being taken in a wheelchair by a service woman of the RENFE (Spanish National Network of Railways) Assistance Service.
After being picked up by Juan José Obrero Castro (President of the Cerro Muriano Entrepreneurs Association) beside the main door of Córdoba AVE Train Station, Lisl Steiner, José Manuel Serrano Esparza, Robert Baldridge and Alfonso del Barrio head for Cerro Muriano, 15 km in the north of Córdoba City.
Lisl Steiner spends the whole December 2, 2021 inside the Restaurant Bar X, sleeping to gather strength and eating very much, since the following day December 3, 2021 would be filled with strong emotions.
The announcing advertisement of the book presentation had been put in the web page of the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Council one week before the event, along with the main activities inherent to the Festivities of Santa Bárbara, Patron of Cerro Muriano, and also in other online and paper media, which had brought about an oustanding expectation.
But it was impossible to foresee how many people would attend the event, because December 3, 2021 was a Friday (day in which vast majority of people devote their free time to all kind of leisure, to get rid of the many hours of daily work), in the middle of the longest holiday weekend of the year and during a cold evening (though the excellent central heating of the Obejo Council Town Municipal Office in Cerro Muriano Assembly Hall would warm everybody).
Therefore, nobody could imagine in advance the great quantity of persons (most of them inhabitants of Cerro Muriano village) that would attend the event, almost filling the Assembly Hall, and which would be along with Lisl Steiner´s presence, a key factor for the success of the book presentation, during which a number of truly unforgettable and magic moments would have to be lived.
The 92 books had already been inside the Assembly Hall of the Municipal Office of Obejo Town Council in Cerro Muriano since 17:30 p.m of the Friday December 3, 2021, a nice gesture speaking volumes about the Córdoba Provincial Council and the Obejo Town Council in Cerro Muriano.
17:45 p.m of December 3, 2021. In the image, one of the tables with books that were given away to the attendees to the presentation inside the Assembly Hall of the Municipal Office of Obejo Town Council in Cerro Muriano (Córdoba).
It is a 29 x 22 cm and 236 pages work stemming from 26 years of intensive research made in the place by its author, the photo historian José Manuel Serrano Esparza, between 1995 and 2021, including an in-depth analysis of every and each of the images created by Robert Capa in Cerro Muriano during the first week of September 1936.
18:30 p.m of December 3, 2021. Inside one of the rooms of the Restaurant Bar X in Cerro Muriano. Lisl Steiner is all dressed up for the occasion. There are very few minutes left for her to be taken by car to the Assembly Hall of the Obejo Town Council in Cerro Muriano to attend the book presentation and pay her respects to Cerro Muriano inhabitants, something she has been emphasizing since her arrival in Spain two days before.
Moments of unutterable passion, irrepressible emotions and unforgettable anecdotes are approaching, to such an extent that this book presentation will go far beyond the photographic and historical aspects of the event, thanks to the stratospherica human dimension of this Great Dame, whose presence in Cerro Muriano is a real treat.
18:45 p.m of December 3, 2021. Lisl Steiner arrives at the Municipal Office of the Obejo Town Council in Cerro Muriano (Córdoba), being helped by Juan José Obfero Castro (President of the Cerro Muriano Entrepreneurs Association) and Alfonso del Barrio (Director of FV photography magazine), while Robert Baldridge walks beside them.
Lisl Steiner crosses the access door, helped by Juan José Obrero Castro and Alfonso del Barrio, while Robert Baldridge documents the scene.
Lisl Steiner keeps on trudging along, helped by Juan José Obrero Castro and Alfonso del Barrio, while Robert Baldridge photographs them.
The three are now very near the access door of the Assembly Hall.
Instant in which Alfonso del Barrio (Director of FV photography magazine) enters the Assembly Hall taking Lisl Steiner in her arm, while Robert Baldridge captures the historical moment.
Another image of Lisl Steiner´s entrance within the Assembly Hall, helped by Alfonso del Barrio. You can see the highly touched countenance of 90 years old man Rafael Centeno Cobos, one of the very few persons still alive who fled Cerro Muriano on September 5, 1936, 85 years ago, who is remembering now the very hard journey he lived that day . He does know that now, Julia Friedman´s best friend, to whom Robert Capa´s mother gave away in October of 1961,
Back top view of the Leica II (Model D) with which Capa made his pictures in Cerro Muriano during the first week of September 5, 1936. The back of the Leica II (Model D) number 90023 has the plug in the back typical in the earliest Leica II cameras. It had originally been created to be used with the Leica 1 Model A (introduction year 1925), Compur Leica (introduction year 1926) and Leica 1 Model C first version (introduction year 1930), all of them being non standardized models, in such a way that a skilful employee in Wetzlar could put the correct back focus through a hole in the plate enabling the use of a screwdriver from inside the camera, until 1931, year in which the back focus distance was standardized. There are hints indicating that a high percentage of the earliest Leica II (Model D) cameras made during 1932 were built by the Leitz factory in Wetzlar using remaining bodies featuring the plugged hole on the back coming from both the second half of twenties when Leicas had not interchangeable lenses and also from the period of birth of interchangeable lenses with the Leica 1 Model C Non Standard Mount from 1930-1931, in which lenses were matched to individual cameras as the lens mount flange to film distance varied with each camera, which was individually adjusted for infinity focus, while each lens had to be matched and adjusted for each body.
the Leica II (Model D) camera with which his son made the pictures in Cerro Muriano.
Mr Rafael Centeno Cobos was only four years and a half that day, but he remembers with great accuracy everything which happened and the terrible trek of many kilometers under a scorching sun that they had to do.
Lisl Steiner, aided by Alfonso del Barrio, supported with massive bursting into applause by the abundant attendees, approaches to the speakers table during the presentation of the book " Robert Capa in Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936 : Birth of the Modern War Journalism ", written by José Manuel Serrano Esparza.
Everybody expresses his/her most sincere love and recognition to Lisl Steiner, a 94 year old woman who has made a huge effort and has been eight hours within a New York-Madrid aircraft and two further hours inside a Madrid-Córdoba high speed AVE train, that´s to say, a trip of 8,000 km and twelve hours, to be in Cerro Muriano.
Partial view of the Assembly Hall of the Municipal Office of Obejo Town Council in Cerro Muriano.
The emotional intensity starts exponentially to rise up, because Susy Gómez (librarian of the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Obejo Train Station Town Council), with wise criterion, has put the oldest inhabitants of Cerro Muriano village in the first row,
It is a highly representative area, occupied by living legends in the history of Cerro Muriano like Rafael Obrero Jurado (son of the mythical Encarnación Jurado and author of the endearing book " Morriones, 1938 : Esfuerzo y Tesón en Cerro Muriano " ), Manuel Gómez Parra (a legendary miner, number one together with the also well-known Mr Caracoles of the Cerro Vértice fluorite mine, the reference-class one in terms of fluorspar quality throughout seventies and eighties, who was congratulated some months ago by his great level as a miner by Stuart Wilensky, the most important collector of minerals in the world and owner of a big shop in New York), Tere de los Ríos (an exceedingly beloved person in Cerro Muriano, featuring a great heart and the famous charm of Cordoban women), Antonia Loaisa Blanque (Queen of Cerro Muriano, the kindness itself and who lived the Spanish Civil War when she was a little girl), Lola Domene Corral (daughter of Silveria Corral Loaisa), Rafael Centeno Cobos (who went away on foot with his parents and brothers on September 5, 1936 and thirty-three years later, in 1959, met Herminia López Romero, his lifetime illuminating beacon), Engracia García (who put the first chemist´s in Cerro Muriano) and Juan Antonio Caler (an alchemist of masonry and the diachronic reference-class man of Cerro Muriano in this realm along with the unforgettable Antonio Sastre Candelario and Manuel Zoilo).
It was also very present the remembrance of Antonio Martín Cabanillas (1911-2010), a highly respected and yearned person in the village, who had to fight as a combatant during the Spanish Civil War, subsequently becoming one of the most legendary characters in Cerro Muriano history.
Besides, the event was also attended by Juan Manuel Fernández Delgado (Commercial Director of Mercedes-Benz Covisa Córdoba, a great enthusiast of classic black and white photography and currently one of the most important collectors in Spain regarding this field), Alfonso Cuadro Romero (son of the illustrious railman of the Obejo Train Station Pedro Cuadro Calvente, who couldn´t attend because of illness), Patricio Hidalgo Luque (top world expert on military topics related to the Spanish Civil War in Córdoba) and José Luis Caballano Alcántara (President of the Industrial Organization Professional Association of Engineers in Spain).
Speakers table within the Assembly Hall, a few seconds before the beginning of the book presentation.
Standing up, from left to right : Adela Romero Blanque (Culture Town Councillor of the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Council), Ramón Hernández Lucena (Delegate Deputy of Democratic Memory and Cooperation to Development in Córdoba), Pedro López Molero (Mayor of Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Council), Juan José Obrero Castro (President of Cerro Muriano Entrepreneurs Association). Sitting : Lisl Steiner (international photographer) and José Manue Serrano Esparza (photo historian, member of the Leica Historical Society of America and author of the book).
Another image of the speakers table inside the Assembly Hall, a few minutes before the book presentation. Standing up, from left to right : Higinio Gálvez Capitán (a great expert on digital technology and all kind of electronic devices, as well as having been the person who made an excellent layout of the book), Susy Gómez (librarian of the Municipal Library of Obejo Town Council in Cerro Muriano, a very efficient and experienced person, sporting a great knowledge on Cerro Muriano village and whose labour was invaluable in the organization of the event), Juan José Obrero Castro (President of Cerro Muriano Entrepreneurs Association), Pedro López Molero (Mayor of the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Council) and Alfonso del Barrio (Director of FV photoraphy magazine). Sitting: Adela Romero Blanque (Culture Councillor of the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Hall), Lisl Steiner (international photographer) and José Manuel Serrano Esparza (photo historian, member of the Leica Historical Society of America and author of the book).
Alfonso del Barrio (Director of FV photography magazine) during his speech in which he highlighted the importance of this book, fruit of 26 years of toil, the huge photographic dimension of Robert Capa being still utterly present and the huge significance of the images he made in Cerro Muriano, which meant to practical effect his fire baptism as a war photojournalist, and the landmark presence of Lisl Steiner during the book presentation.
Ramón Hernández Lucena (Delegate Deputy of Democratic Memory and Cooperation to Development of Córdoba) perusing with Juan José Obrero Castro (President of the Cerro Muriano Entrepreneurs Association) some pages of the book " Robert Capa in Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936 : Birth of the Modern War Photojournalism " written by José Manuel Serrano Esparza.
The speech pronounced by Ramón Hernández Lucena was another of the most important aspects of the day, insisting on the timeless relevance of Robert Capa figure in the History of Photography, and also on the endeavour made by the Delegation of Democratic Memory of the Córdoba Province Council to finance the book, a key factor to turn it into reality.
The deputy Ramón Hernández, visible touched, clearly perceives the significance of this book presentation and says that among all the books he has introduced until now, this is the one having gathered more people, something that in his words must make very proud the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Council, its Culture Councilorship and the Córdoba Province Government, because having the Assembly Hall almost full a Friday at 19:00 p.m in such a cold evening and in the middle of the longest holiday weekend of the year is an unprecedented success.
He also states that it is an honour to have Lisl Steiner in the event and thanks her for the huge effort made to attend the presentation of the book.
Ramón Hernández Lucena explains the genesis of the Democratic Memory Delegation, whose goal is to create grants enabling the town halls the economic viability of studies, researches and books highlighting events that took place during the Spanish Civil War.
Ramón Hernández´s enthusiasm increases more and more every second as he speaks, until reaching its top peaks on stating with remarkable certainty and thrill that this book could be instrumental to put Obejo, Cerro Muriano and the Obejo Train Station in the world map and will make the area known to a lot of people from both Spain and other countries, since Robert Capa´s images and the huge impact attained by his labour as a war photographer were something very important during the Spanish Civil War.
Picture made by Julius Huisgen to Oscar Barnack inside his office at Ernst Leitz Wetzlar in 1934. Here we can see the genius holding with his left hand a cardboard with two 13 x 18 cm prints, each one with its corresponding 24 x 36 mm contact, while he keeps a third print of the same size in his right hand. The synergy between the Leica II Model D (one of the milestone 24 x 36 mm cameras created by Oskar Barnack and first one sporting a built-in rangefinder), the tiny Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 lens designed by Professor Max Berek and Capa´s tremendous talent for getting pictures from very near distances going unnoticed proved to be amazing in Cerro Muriano during the first week of September 1936.
© Leica Camera AG
And he finished his major speech proclaiming that the pictures made by Capa in Cerro Muriano were an advance and meant the coming into life of a new war photojournalism being much more agile and dynamic than the previous one, in addition to making up an open door to get international prestige for Cerro Muriano, Obejo and the Obejo Train Station.
On his turn, Pedro López Molero (Mayor of Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Obejo Station and likewise another key person to turn the book project into a reality, supporting it from scratch) also underscored the importance of Robert Capa as a war photographer and particularly his huge importance in the history of Cerro Muriano.
Adela Romero Blanque during her address. The Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Culture Councillor, a highly cherished person in the village, which she knows deeply, elaborated on the bet for culture that has always been a hallmark of the Town Council and also underlined the awesome relevance of the pictures made by Robert Capa in Cerro Muriano on September 5, 1936 and the birth in it of the modern war photojournalism.
Partial view of the Assembly Hall of the Obejo Town Council in Cerro Muriano, which had a great attendance of people and was almost filled up.
Juan José Obrero Castro during his speech. The efficient work and tenacity of the Cerro Muriano Association of Entrepreneurs President, a great lover of his village, was fundamental for the fulfilment of the book project.
He explained how the book project started its path one year and a half ago when Juan Manuel Fernández Delgado sent him an article written by José Manuel Serrano Esparza and published by FV photography magazine including some photographs made by Capa in Las Malagueñas hill with a Leica II (Model D) and Alfonso del Barrio sent him different FV magazines where a number of José Manuel Serrano Esparza´s articles on the pictures created by Capa in Cerro Muriano on September 5, 1936 had been published.
He quickly made contact with José Manuel Serrano Esparza, began to see what could be done with all of that information, the Battle of Cerro Muriano, many new photographs, and so forth.
He emphasized that the images captured by Capa in Cerro Muriano tell a very important story, so he started looking for funding to pay the pictures rights, a first-rate printing house to manufacture the books in a handcrafted way, etc. There was a meeting with Pedro López Molero (Mayor of the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Council), which took a lot of interest in the project and thought how to ask for a grant, which was finally bestowed by the Córdoba Provincial Council.
He had to become managing director of the book project, to be able to make the necessary arrangements with the Córdoba Provincial Council and the Obejo-Cerro Muriano-Estación de Obejo Town Council.
On the other hand, Juan José Obrero Castro commented the great gift displayed by Capa handling that very small and light Leica camera he had, getting extraordinary pictures in which he masterfully captured what each person felt at the moment.
He likewise spoke about the experiences he had on visiting the places where Capa made the photographs between Cerro Muriano and El Vacar, and the unforgettable remembrances, after which he mentioned the great empathy with people achieved by Capa and Taro with the people they photographed.
Moreover, he expressed his conviction that there are perhaps living people who were photographed by Capa and don´t know it, so the pictures appearing in this book could be very useful to find them.
Subsequently, Juan José Obrero Castro thanked Lisl Steiner for her visit, and explained that from her arrival at Cerro Muriano on December 2, 2021, Lisl had been asking if her visit would be good for Cerro Muriano, because that would be her greatest wish, as well as supporting the book presentation.
Lisl Steiner with José Manuel Serrano Esparza, author of the book (who has published a raft of articles on pictures made by her, both in Spanish and foreign ones), with whom she had had a great and sincere friendship for nine years.
Higinio Gálvez Capitán handling the images projection with his laptop. You can see the great quantity of attending audience who almost filled the large Assembly Hall.
Lisl Steiner on her seat at the speakers table, with her 24 x 36 mm format Leica Q digital camera coupled to a Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH lens that was given away to her by Andreas Kaufmann (CEO of Leica Camera AG) in 2019.
Partial view of the Assembly Hall while Robert Baldridge beholds a just captured image.
José Manuel Serrano Esparza, author of the book, during his speech in which he highlighted Robert Capa´s figure not only as an immensely talented war photojournalist but also as an unflinching defender of the photographers regarding the pictures made by them.
Furthermore, he went into detail about the key role played by
Cornell Capa´s grave at Amawalk Cemetery (New York). © jmse
Cornell Capa (Robert Capa´s brother)
Edie Schwartz´s grave at Amawalk Cemetery (New York). © jmse
and his wife Edie Schwartz, whose indefatigable search made possible to preserve new pictures that appeared between 2008 and 2021, so the situation has taken a complete turnabout, in such a way that Cerro Muriano has presently become the most imporant place in the world to understand the birth of Robert Capa as a war photographer and his subsequent evolution.
Lisl Steiner holding the book between her hands. Almost ninety years separate the analogue Leica II (Model D) manufactured in Wetzlar (Germany) in 1932 with which Capa got his pictures in Cerro Muriano from the 24 x 36 mm format Leica Q digital camera that Lisl Steiner has on the table and which was given away to her by Andreas Kaufmann (CEO of Leica Camera AG).
Lisl Steiner during a moment of her speech in which she mentioned her great friendship with Capa family in New York, specially with Julia Friedmann (Robert Capa´s mother), Cornell Capa (Bob´s borther) and his wife Edie Schwartz.
She also underscored the difficulty to create iconic images that has nowadays brought about the culture of everything very fast and running, in spite of the impressive technological breakthroughs of the photographic industry and the launching into market of professional digital cameras in different formats thay yield exceptional image quality, with formidable capabilities that were a dream a dream only twenty years ago.
SIGNATURE OF BOOKS
Robert Baldridge (New York Times) showing one of the images he captured with his smartphone and in which can be seen one of the long queues made up for the signature of books by José Manuel Serrano Esparza (author of the book) and Lisl Steiner (author of the prologue). © jmse
After the end of the book presentation, which took place between 19:00 h and 20:00 h of December 3, 2021, most people waited standing up in long queues for the signature of books by both Lisl Steiner (author of the prologue) and José Manuel Serrano Esparza (author of the book).
Lisl Steiner signing copies of the book " Robert Capa in Cerro Muriano, September 5, 1936 : Birth of Modern War Photojournalism ", written by José Manuel Serrano Esparza and of whose prologue she is the author.
Another of the most moving and impressive instants of the day : Robert Baldridge shows the moment in which Rafael Centeno Cobos has just received his book, and on watching the cover goes into deep introspection, remembering the September 5, 1936 day, when being only four years and a half old, was forced to flee from Cerro Muriano with his parents and siblings. It is one of the very few still alive survivors of that historical day in which modern war photojournalism was born in this small village being 15 km in the north of Córdoba City.
Lisl Steiner at Amawalk Cemetery (New York) in 2013, getting pictures of the graves of Robert Capa, Julia Capa, Cornell Capa and Edie Capa. © jmse
´ To be a good photojournalist you must love human beings ´. Gisèle Freund
´ Seeing is not enough, you must feel what you are photographing ´ . André Kertesz
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