They are among the most iconic images of the Second World War—blurred, grainy and, the best of them, as stirring and in-the-moment as any battlefield photographs ever taken.
There are only 11 pictures—and nine surviving negatives—from that early morning of Tuesday, June 6, 1944, on Omaha Beach, the bloodiest of the D-Day landings, the one depicted in the movie Saving Private Ryan. But two of Hungarian photojournalist Robert Capa’s images, taken for the weekly Life magazine, stand out.
The most reproduced is that of an American soldier wading neck-deep through the surf, his face resolute, the familiar GI helmet strapped to his head, a pack hanging from his back. German hedgehog obstacles loom around him. The water is icy grey.
The image detail is obscured by motion, lack of...