When Robert Capa’s photographs of D-Day finally reached the Life magazine offices in London, it was nearly deadline. The invasion of Europe on June 6 1944 was the story. The pictures needed to be developed fast, passed by censors, then flown to New York. Life’s picture editor, John Morris, told the darkroom: “Rush, rush, rush!” The negatives came out “fabulous”. “Rush me prints!” said Morris. But minutes later, young Dennis Banks, who was developing the prints, ran sobbing into Morris’s office: “Capa’s films are all ruined!” Banks had tried to hurry things along by closing the doors of the wooden locker where the films were drying. Without ventilation, the emulsion had melted.
Morris studied the four ruined rolls. Three were empty. But on the fourth, he found 11 grainy images. “That was it, all right,” wrote Morris later. “D-Day would forever be known by these pictures.”
'In Times Square on V-J Day, I saw a sailor running along the street grabbing every girl in sight. I was running ahead of him with my Leica looking back over my shoulder. Then suddenly, in a flash, I saw something white being grabbed. I turned around and clicked the moment the sailor kissed the nurse...I took exactly four pictures. It was done within a few seconds' (Alfred Eisenstaedt)
If you still don't know what to present to give meon my birthday, here's another idea: a signed copy of one of the most iconic photos ever taken, and the camera that took it, will both go on sale at the WestLicht Photographica Auction in Vienna. The photo is a signed print of the iconic V-J Day "Kiss in Time Square" photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, and the camera is the Leica IIIa rangefinder that he used right up until the day he died.
When your grandfather was Dr. Erhard Glatzel, one of the great lens designers of the twentieth century, it won’t come as too much of a shock to find out that you’ve inherited two lenses that, by all accounts, don’t officially exist.