In the Bag: Contax, lens, Burberry raincoat and pocket flask
Magnum co-founder Frank Capa had a reputation as a charismatic, hard-drinking, chain-smoking American war photographer. During the Spanish Civil War he was acclaimed as the greatest war photographer in the world. He was one of the first to appreciate the opportunities presented by "miniature photography" as epitomised by two brands, Leica and Contax. For the first time, the new 35mm format could be shot hand-held and produce sharp high-quality pictures for publication.
Bellamy Hunt of Japan Camera Hunter gives us a fascinating insight into Capa's life and finest moments. One of his worst moment's though, was a lab mishap in London after he had risked his life recording the D-Day landings in 1944:
When he reached England, the film was couriered to LIFE magazine’s London bureau. In the rush to get the pictures out, a fifteen-year-old lab assistant called Dennis Banks set the dryer too high and melted the negatives in three complete rolls and over half of a fourth. Capa had risked his life for eleven frames of film.
Bellamy, famous for his "In the Bag" series, adds a wry aside:
In the bag: Two Contax II bodies with uncoated Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 5cm f/2 lenses, Burberry raincoat and Dunhill silver pocket flask.