Originally Posted by peterm1
(...) But following developing and washing comes drying..............
(...) And if anyone has used Contax they will understand they were just as fiddly to load as other cameras of that era - including if memory serves me correctly, removing the back and baseplate. Not a trivial matter with shaking hands and when wet cold, frightened as well as ducking for cover.
So it seems clear to me that at least according to accounts given by Life staff who were directly involved, Capa partly or wholly exposed 4 rolls as claimed, only to lose most of them as described in the lab. Capa may have a motive to lie if he had done a funk and run away from Omaha beach with no more than a handful of blurry shots. But why would those who were involved at Life magazine wish to make themselves look foolish if they were not telling the truth. They had no stake in upholding Capa's reputation - their loyalty was to Life magazine.
The drying accident cannot be hold different than a total mystification. Come on ! You have - like many of us - developed enough B&W rolls to know that too hot a drying will just not make the negatives totally blank. Too hot a drying would make the negative curl and get distorted with random stains on the photos at the very worst but it would not make the image disappear. No way !
I have a Contax II and can very well confirm that the use of modern film cartridges the same size of the Kodak cassettes of Capa's era, without the trick of small rubber washers glued on the film cartridge and take-up spool seats at the camera back, will make the film sprockets be in the exposed frame at the top of the shutter gate (and visible, on the horizontally framed photos, at the bottom of them).
So, no melting emulsion having slided down the film base here, neither.
To reload a Contax II you remove the camera back like on a Nikon F. The use of reloadable cassettes made it way easier but doing this in the cold tide under the enemy's fire wasn't a garden-party for sure.
About the truth and telling the truth : thas was a darn bloody war and that was the third one for Capa (he had photographed horrors in Spain and China before 1941 and had also been on bloody battlefields in North Africa and Italy in 1943 and the only woman he had really loved ever had been killed while photographing a war in 1937).
On June 6th 1944, where was the "truth" located in Capa's mind ? Who can tell this ?