Photographing 1948: Robert Capa’s Absent Palestinians
Robert Capa
Palestinian refugees

Visually speaking, Robert Capa made Israel. Through that act he erased Palestine. The vision Capa developed of Israel is captured in the 303 published photographs that he took over the course of three trips in 1948–50. This article explores the ideological frameworks that shaped Capa’s understanding of Israel/Palestine and probes the concealed context of his images. The analysis shows that Capa covered his topic through an ideologized lens that depicted Israel as a heroic nation of Holocaust survivors and victors of war, while the Palestinians and the Nakba were hidden from view. Capa’s vision was important because he was an internationally renowned photographer who was not an official Israeli propagandist, yet his images served that function.

Author biography: 
Jørgen Jensehaugen is senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo. He holds a PhD in history from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He has published extensively on the international engagement with Palestine, including the book Arab-Israeli Diplomacy under Carter: The U.S., Israel and the Palestinians (London: I. B. Tauris, 2018).