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Yoko Kameda looks at artwork by war photographer Robert Capa during a visit to the "Off War" exhibit at Yokohama’s Red Brick Warehouse Number One. The exhibit runs through Dec. 25.
Yoko Kameda looks at artwork by war photographer Robert Capa during a visit to the "Off War" exhibit at Yokohama’s Red Brick Warehouse Number One. The exhibit runs through Dec. 25. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The photograph brings people to a halt.

Many recognize it. The Spanish Civil War soldier reels, knocked earthbound by a bullet, his rifle flung from his hand, a fatal shot. Photographer Robert Capa (1913-1954) was standing right next to him.

“Many people have seen the photo before, but they’re surprised to see the real print,” said Red Brick Warehouse Number One staffer Keiji Hiraoka.

Capa photographed the falling soldier in 1936. His contemporaries were Ernest Hemingway, Ingrid Bergman and John Steinbeck. But though Capa has been dead for 51 years, his work is drawing a young, interested crowd to the Yokohama warehouse.

“Young people don’t know war. I myself don’t know war,” Hiraoka said. “But we think it’s good that young people see Capa’s photographs. I’ve also seen quite a few Americans and military personnel come to the show.”

About 10,000 people have seen “Off War” — an exhibit of Capa’s work — since it opened in late October. The show isn’t of battle scenes. It’s centered on the nonmilitary, human aspects of war. The first two exhibits showcased soldier portraits and Capa as a “stranger to war.”

The third phase of the show — “War and Children” — started Wednesday and features Capa’s pictures of youngsters through five wars and around the world. Capa’s living brother Cornell also has photographs in the exhibit.

Hiraoka gestures to his favorite — a 1938 shot of a Spanish child refugee collapsed on burlap sacks looking at the camera out of the corner of her eye.

“You can’t tell if she’s tired or angry,” Hiraoka said. “She just has this distant expression.”

Another shows an American serviceman in uniform laughing with some London kids in 1943.

“The serviceman is in the middle and the children are the sides,” Hiraoka said. “War is like that.”

Yoshiko Jin said she had seen Capa’s photographs in Life magazine but had not seen real photos. She was surprised that Capa took nonfighting photos, she said. One of the more famous portraits is a 1948 picture of Pablo Picasso holding a chubby-legged child.

“His viewpoint seemed to be close to mine,” said Jin after she went through the exhibit. “Although there were many servicemembers [around Capa] and it was natural for them to be around, he looked at things like an average citizen.

“Through the photos, especially the photographs of children, I could tell that that he cherished life.”

Capa was born Andrei Friedmann in Budapest, Hungary, in 1913. He was 40 when he stepped on a land mine in Thai Binh, Vietnam, in 1954, and was killed.

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