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Robert Capa’s ‘lost’ D-Day photos may never have been shot at all, says his former editor

November 12th, 2014
01:01 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

Legendary war photographer Robert Capa may have never shot the supposedly lost photos of the D-Day landings in Normandy, his former editor, John G Morris, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Tuesday.

Until now, it was widely accepted that Capa had taken 106 pictures on that day but only 11 iconic ones survived, thanks to a mistake in the darkroom.

But Morris, who was Capa’s editor at Life Magazine at the time and responsible for getting the pictures onto the frontage, told Amanpour this may not have been the case after all.

“It now seems that maybe there was nothing on the other three rolls to begin with. Experts recently have said you can't melt the emulsion off films like that and he just never shot them,” Morris said.

“So I now believe that it's quite possible that Bob just bundled all his 35 together and just shipped it off back to London, knowing that on one of those rolls there would be the pictures he actually shot that morning.”

“So we may not have lost anything at all that he had shot. That remains to be seen.”

Morris, who has just turned 98, has just published his own book of war photography - “Quelque part en France” - from that summer of 1944.

“I was a little crazy. So for four weeks, I carried a camera. I never felt that I - I never thought of myself as a photographer. After all, I'd worked with the best photographers in history.”

“And you don't go around shooting pictures beside Cartier-Bresson if you're working with him. So anyway, but I shot the - I just shot things that interested me. And the result is this book and an exhibition.”

It was also under Morris’s editorship that shocking pictures from the Vietnam War made it to the front page of “The New York Times”, including Eddie Addams’s shot of an execution, and the picture of a young naked girl covered in napalm running down the street.

Such decisions were made, Morris said, “to build public pressure for peace” during a war he was “totally opposed to.”

“I never fooled myself that I had the power to stop war. But all I had to do - I had the compulsion to try to stop war. That's all. That is all I could try to do.”


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