Born as Gerta Pohorylle on Aug. 1, 1910 in Stuttgart, Germany, Taro was in her early twenties when Adolf Hitler became chancellor. It was Japanese artist Tarō Okamoto who inspired her to change her name.
In 1933, she was detained for campaigning against the Nazi government and was forced to leave the country. Taro and her family moved to Paris, where she met photographer Robert Capa, also a refugee, and fell in love with both him and his work.
According to the International Center of Photography, Capa and Taro teamed up on an assignment for Vu magazine in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War. As Capa gained fame and Taro “emerged as an independent photojournalist in her own right,” the duo continued to cover the struggles of Spanish refugees in Spain’s Almeria and Mucia. Taro eventually became the image editor at France’s Alliance Photo.
According to famousphotographers.net, Taro, who was known as “the little red fox” for her ginger hair and fearless spirit, refused Capa’s marriage proposal and instead focused on her burgeoning independent career.
During her professional years, Taro met with European fascist intellectuals, George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway, published her photography in leftist newspaper Ce Soir and developed her own label, Photo Taro.
Some of her most iconic work documented the bombing in Valencia and Spain’s Battle of Brunete near Madrid, Spain, where she ultimately died on assignment.
“While covering the Republican offensive in Brunete in July 1937, she was crushed by a Loyalist tank in the confusion of retreat, and died several days later,” the International Center of Photography noted on her bio page.
“Here’s to Gerda Taro, who had a photographer’s eye, a journalist’s soul, and a warrior’s courage,” Google’s doodle team wrote in its blog.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.