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March 9, 2024

Wonderful Color Photos Capture People Skiing at Ski Resorts in Switzerland and Austria in 1949-1950

Robert Capa is synonymous with black and white documentation of conflict, from the Spanish Civil War to World War II. Also largely monochrome were the major Capa collections that followed: studies of the Soviet Union and Israel. But the photographer did make extensive use of color, which gradually seeped into his work from 1941 right up until the end of his life. His glossy coverage of high-society European ski resorts are a notable departure from black and white, even if the backdrop to all the color-saturated human activity is the most monochrome of natural landscapes.

In 1948, Robert Capa proposed a story on the grand ski resorts in France, Switzerland and Austria to Holiday magazine. He loved skiing and visited Klosters, the Swiss resort, every year. It was carnival when he arrived in Zürs, and the Austrians took costumes seriously. One skier dressed head to toe as Charlie Chaplin and another transformed them self into a cello. The festivities continued into the evening with fancy dress parties.

In the story, published in the January 1951 issue, Capa wrote about his escapades for the magazine and his troubles with finding a place to stay: “None of [the hotels] had rooms, but every one of them had a gala night, and to enter you had to dress in costume…I rolled up my trousers, turned my vest inside out, put my tie around my head, and went to the Zürserhof.”

(Photos by © Robert Capa / Magnum Photos)


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