Black Star Rising

Manuel H. Rodriguéz: The Colombian Capa

Sept 25--Manuel H. Rodriguéz, 89, died last week after a long illness. Manuel H. was the Colombian Capa: a man who for more than half a century captured the history and “moments” of his country with his emblematic Rollei. And like Capa, his career in photojournalism was born out of chaos and violence.

25 de septiembre de 2009

Call it circumstance, or destiny — but life has an uncanny way of sweeping certain people into the “moment.” For Robert Capa, undoubtedly the greatest war photographer of our time, that moment came when he photographed the Spanish Republican militiaman falling after being shot in his hills of Andalusia on September 5, 1936.

For Manuel H. Rodriguez, his moment erupted on the morning of April 9, 1948. “It was a Friday, and the day was clear,” recalled Manuel when I spoke with him last year. “I had just left the Café Colombia where I was talking with my brothers about bullfighting. It was around one o’clock when I heard on Radio Santafé that [Liberal presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer] Gaitán had been shot,” he recalled with painful detail. “Gaitán was a leader of my medio (class).”
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