Gerda Taro, The Forgotten Photojournalist

Who was Gerda Taro?

Well, she is regarded as the first female to shoot on the front lines of conflict (as well as the first to die while doing so). Today, Google is honoring Gerda Taro’s 108th birthday for the recognition of her  time as a female wartime photographer with a Google Doodle as shown below!

As the first female photographer killed in action, Gerda Taro originally known as Gerta Pohorylle was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1910. In 1933, as Ms. Taro was Jewish, after the election of Adolf Hitler as chancellor, she moved to france. In Paris, she was known as “the little red fox” for her ginger hair and small stature.

The city of love is where she met fellow refugee Andre Friedmann, of which taught her the basics of photography. As their friendship grew, the pair decided to shed their original names to reinvent themselves and create a new identity. Andre Friedmann became Robert Capa and Gerta Pohorylle changed to Gerda Taro.

Gerda Taro and Robert Capa 

As lovers and friends, they worked as a team together to produce black-and-white photographs of the resistance fighters for the newspaper Ce Soir during the Spanish Civil War in Barcelona when it broke out in 1936. Once confident enough, Taro began working on her own, which she did for the last 5 months of her life. However, in July 1937, at the age of 26, Gerda Taro was crushed by a tank while covering the Republican offensive in Brunete.  She later died from her injuries. 

After her passing, her photographs were unable to be recovered and a large part of work was missing. But in 2007, 4,500 negatives that were taken during the war by Taro and lover Robert Capa were discovered in Mexico City. This shed a completely new light on the female photographers amazing scarifice and career. The photos were exhibited at the International Centre of Photography. 

A quote that Gerda Taro embodied in her career: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”


Some of her famous work: 

Gerda Taro

The Battle of Brunete, July 1937


Gerda Taro

 Republican soldiers on the Segovia front, 1937


Gerda Taro

Refugees from Malaga in Almeria, 1937


Gerda Taro

Barcelona at the outbreak of war, 1936


01 Aug 2018 by Lisa Scarpa

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