As an 18-year-old native of Budapest, Kornel Friedmann (1918-2008)—he would later follow his older brother, Robert Capa, and change his name—learned what he needed to know about the power of a camera from Robert’s Spanish Civil War images. “The times I grew up in became part of my conscience and my photography. I was not an artistic photographer and never became one,” he maintained. “I haven’t taken a landscape picture which was not part of a story. If I saw a peasant working in a field—which was very difficult for him to do—then I took the picture of a peasant with a field. But I didn’t take a field without the peasant.” On his approach to shooting, he once said, “The camera is an extension of yourself….Your story treatment may be subjective, but it is important to remain objective as to truth.” Cornell later went on to found the International Center of Photography in New York in 1974.
—Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers