Alt-J Writes Entire Song About Two Photographers Dying In War

Alt-J Writes Entire Song About Two Photographers Dying In War

Chances are you've heard of Alt-J or could recognize several of their hit songs currently being played on every indie rock station. What you may not know is that their song Taro was written about the first female war photojournalist and her life partner who both died doing what they love.

The English rock  group Alt-J was by far my favorite music group of 2013. Alt J, which literally is a computer command for the mathematical symbol Delta, mixes together multiple genres and is best described as "geek rock." Alt J made it big off of their first and only album "An Awesome Wave," which should have just been named "An Awesome Album." As I listened to the album over and over I still had almost no idea what front man Joe Newman was saying in some of the songs. This wasn't because the lyrics were so deep, it was simply becuase it sounds like he isn't speaking English in a lot of the songs. Further investigation was indeed needed.

So I did a little bit of research and found that the song "Taro" describes the life of Gerda Taro and her life partner Robert Capa who both died separately covering wars in the mid 20th century. Gerda died during Battle of Brunete on July 26, 1937 while Robert died several years later in 1954 by stepping on a land mine. The song Taro describes the events and the reunion of the two in the afterlife. Click on the links of their names for their full biography.

Who doesn't love a good mid 20th century photographer's love story?

Lyrics of  "Taro," from the Album "An Awesome Wave:"

Indochina, Capa jumps Jeep, two feet creep up the road

To photo, to record meat lumps and war,

They advance as does his chance – very yellow white flash.

A violent wrench grips mass, rips light, tears limbs like rags,

Burst so high finally Capa lands,

Mine is a watery pit. Painless with immense distance

From medic from colleague, friend, enemy, foe, him five yards from his leg,

From you Taro.

Do not spray into eyes – I have sprayed you into my eyes.

3:10 pm, Capa pends death, quivers, last rattles, last chokes

All colours and cares glaze to grey, shrivelled and stricken to dots,

Left hand grasps what the body grasps not – le photographe est mort.

3.1415, alive no longer my amour, faded for home May of ‘54

Doors open like arms my love, Painless with a great closeness

To Capa, to Capa Capa dark after nothing, re-united with his leg and with you, Taro.

Do not spray into eyes – I have sprayed you into my eyes.

Hey Taro!


There currently is no music video to Taro, but are several very well done and beautifully shot videos below.

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Gary Winchester Martin's picture

Gary W. Martin is a commercial photography producer and founder of PRO EDU. His company creates documentary style Photography and Photoshop tutorials with some of the best photographer/instructors in the world. Gary has spent 20% of his life abroad and once made a monkey faint in Costa Rica. He speaks English and Romanian.

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This is one of my most favorite bands!! they are awesome!!!

Found this in Normandy. Thanks for pointing this out.

Found this in Normandy. Thanks for pointing this song out. I would have missed it otherwise and as you can tell by my username/job I'm an admirer of Capa.

I just found this video with some great visuals to match the song.

Alt-J are awesome :)
had the opportunity to shoot them at a show in Zurich, Switzerland :)
Check out the photos here:

If he died several years later, he would have died in 1947, not 1957. You might want to fix that, otherwise it might confuse other readers.