Cornell Capa, a pioneering photojournalist who shot arresting pictures for Life Magazine that included the Six Day War in israel, and the brother of legendary photographer Robert Capa, died May 23, 2008, at his Manhattan home. He was 90.
According to the New York Times obituary:
Born Cornel (with a single l; he later added a second) Friedmann on April 10, 1918, in Budapest, he was the youngest son of Dezso and Julia Berkovits Friedmann, who were assimilated, nonpracticing Jews. His parents owned a prosperous dressmaking salon, where his father was the head tailor. In 1931 his brother Robert, at 17, was forced to leave the country because of leftist student activities. In 1935 his eldest brother, Laszlo, died of rheumatic fever.
Cornell initially planned to be a doctor, joining Robert in Paris in 1936 to start medical studies. But first he had to learn French. Robert, who had become a photojournalist in Berlin before settling in Paris, had befriended two other young photographers, Cartier-Bresson and Seymour. To support himself, Cornell developed film for the three and made their prints in a makeshift darkroom in his hotel bathroom. Soon he abandoned plans to be a doctor. He also adopted his brother’s new last name, a homage, in variation, to the film director Frank Capra.
In 1937 Mr. Capa followed his mother to New York City, where she had joined her four sisters. When Robert came for a visit and established connections with Pix Inc., a photography agency, he helped get Cornell a job there as a printer. Soon after, Cornell Capa went to work in the Life magazine darkroom.