A new Yorktown-based education and photography exhibit organization dedicated to advancing peace, equality and justice will have its debut show starting later this week.
The Capa Space will open on Friday featuring an exhibit of images by well-known photographer William Abranowicz. The show, entitled “This Far and No Further,” is a collection of contemporary pictures from Abranowicz’s trip in 2018 to ordinary places in the South that helped shape the civil rights movement.
Founder Elise Graham said with nearly everyone today carrying a camera when they leave home and able to post picture for others to see, it’s not just world-renowned photographers capturing iconic images that can have an impact in the 21st century.
“Our mission is to kind of inspire the community to get involved in photography and see it as a powerful tool for their own engagement with social action and advancing peace and equality and social justice, feelings about the community, how they can help and how photography can do that,” Graham said.
The Capa Space recognizes Robert Capa, a highly acclaimed Hungarian-born photojournalist and considered the world’s best war photographer during his time. He was killed covering the French-Indochina War in Vietnam in 1954. His brother, Cornell Capa, while less well-known, was a major photographer for Life magazine and established the International Center for Photography in New York. Cornell Capa also promoted his brother’s work after his death.
The inspiration for Graham wasn’t just that Robert Capa gave his life documenting some of the biggest military conflicts of his day, including the D-Day invasion at Normandy, but captured how war destroyed lives and property as well as the survivors who tried to overcome unimaginable adversity.
Graham decided to work toward launching an organization that embodied the spirit of the Capas after she discovered that Robert and Cornell are buried in the Quaker Meeting House Cemetery in the Amawalk section of Yorktown, although having no apparent connection to the area when Robert was alive.
After Robert Capa was killed, his family didn’t know where to bury him. They eschewed an offer of a military burial at Arlington National Cemetery because he was a man of peace, Grahama said.
Although the brothers were Jewish, John Morris, co-founder and a member of the Quaker Meeting House in Purchase at the time, heard of Capa’s story and suggested to his family that he be buried in a Quaker cemetery. There were no available plots in Purchase, but there was space at the cemetery in Yorktown.
When Capa’s mother, brother and sister-in-law passed, they were also buried at the cemetery.
“When I discovered that, because I’ve lived in this town for over 30 years, I’m an artist myself, and there was never anything here for the community that was looking for that kind of thing,” Graham said. “Lots of sports and lots of other kinds of things in Yorktown but no real cultural institution or place where like-minded people can kind of come together and see things and do things that they would enjoy and benefit from.”
The Capa Space’s first exhibit, which will run through Saturday, Jan. 29, will be at the Bethany Arts Community in Ossining. Moving forward, Graham said she would like to find a permanent home for The Capa Space closer to home.
“We want to find a space in Yorktown, but first we need money and we’re just starting the process of fundraising, and that’s going to be a big effort for us,” Graham said. “We have a board, not a complete board, but we’re working on a board and we do have other things planned.”
The organization will also offer discussions, films and classes that support the artistic and documentary endeavors of the community.
The exhibit will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bethany Arts Community is located at 40 Somerstown Rd. in Ossining.
For more information about The Capa Space, visit www.thecapaspace.org.