Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Magnum Photos

You probably know about Magnum Photos or if not you will have heard of some of the photographers who are associates of this world important photo agency.

As the Magnum website says: Two years after the apocalypse that was called the Second World War ended, Magnum Photos was founded. The world’s most prestigious photographic agency was formed by four photographers – Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David “Chim” Seymour – who had been very much scarred by the conflict and were motivated both by a sense of relief that the world had somehow survived and the curiosity to see what was still there. They created Magnum in 1947 to reflect their independent natures as both people and photographers – the idiosyncratic mix of reporter and artist that continues to define Magnum, emphasizing not only what is seen but also the way one sees it. If you would like to read more of the history go here

Henri Cartier-Bresson said of the starting of the agency: “Back in France, I was completely lost,” legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson explained in an interview with Hervé Guibert in Le Monde. “At the time of the liberation, the world having been disconnected, people had a new curiosity. I had a little bit of money from my family, which allowed me to avoid working in a bank. I had been engaged in looking for the photo for itself, a little like one does with a poem. With Magnum was born the necessity for telling a story. Capa said to me: ‘Don’t keep the label of a surrealist photographer. Be a photojournalist. If not you will fall into mannerism. Keep surrealism in your little heart, my dear. Don’t fidget. Get moving!’ This advice enlarged my field of vision.” We are so lucky he didn’t end up working in a bank.

FRANCE. Paris. Place de l’Europe. Gare Saint Lazare. 1932.
The list of great photographers encompasses the very best in the world
Abbas,  Christopher Anderson,  Eve Arnold, Olivia Arthur, Micha Bar Am, Bruno Barbey, Jonas Bendiksen, Ian Berry, Werner Bischof, Rene Burri, Henri Cartier-Bresson Chien-Chi Chang, Antoine D’Agata, Bruce Davidson, Carl De Keyzer, Raymond Depardon, Thomas Dworzak, Nikos Economopoulos, Elliott Erwitt, Martine Franck,
Stuart Franklin, Leonard Freed, Paul Fusco, Cristina Garcia Rodero, Jean Gaumy, Bruce Gilden, Burt Glinn, Jim Goldberg, Philip Jones Griffiths, Harry Gruyaert,
Philippe Halsman, Erich Hartmann, David Alan Harvey, Tim Hetherington, Thomas Hoepker, David Hurn, Richard Kalvar, Josef Koudelka, Hiroji Kubota, Sergio Larrain,
Guy Le Querrec, Erich Lessing, Herbert List, Alex Majoli, Constantine Manos, Peter Marlow, Steve McCurry, Susan Meiselas, Wayne Miller, Dominic Nahr, Trent Parke,
Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Gilles Peress, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Mark Power, Raghu Rai, Eli Reed, George Rodger, Moises Saman, Alessandra Sanguinetti ,Lise Sarfati,
Ferdinando Scianna, Jerome Sessini, David Seymour, Marilyn Silverstone, W. Eugene Smith, Jacob Aue Sobol, Alec Soth, Chris Steele-Perkins, Dennis Stock,
Zoe Strauss Mikhael Subotzky Nicolas Tikhomiroff Larry Towell Peter van Agtmael John Vink Alex Webb Donovan Wylie Patrick Zachmann Cornell Capa
Robert Capa, Inge Morath,
Magnum are good at showing their work and the website is a joy, I would definitely bookmark this and go back there regularly to see what is new, I visit their site at least once a week, go here to see what is on offer today
Magnum also publish excellent books and I would recommend any of them, these are some of my favourites
This special and important photography book presents, for the first time, the very best contact sheets created by Magnum photographers. Contact sheets tell the truth behind a photograph. They unveil its process, and provide its back story. Was it the outcome of what a photographer had in mind from the outset? Did it emerge from a diligently worked sequence, or was the right shot down to pure serendipity a matter of being in the right place at the right time? This landmark publication provides the reader with a depth of understanding and a critical analysis of the story behind a photograph, the process of editing it, and the places and ways in which the selected photographs were used. For anyone with a deep appreciation of photography and a desire to understand what goes into creating iconic work, Magnum Contact Sheets will be regarded as the definitive volume. With 435 illustrations in total, 230 in colour, including over 3,600 frames on 139 contact sheets.
Here the photographers of Magnum, 50 years after the legendary group began its documentary mission, address the world following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989; a period which has seen the triumph of US capitalism at one extreme and the resurgence of ancient blood feuds at the other. The book is built around photo-essays selected and introduced by the photographers, many shot especially for the book. From Henri Cartier-Bresson to Magnum’s newest recruits, each photographer navigates the issues of history in their own way – some tackling the dramatic changes in the world head-on in the traditional manner of the “concerned photographer”, others choosing subjects and aesthetic viewpoints which are entirely personal. The result is an album of contemporary photography about the world today. “Magnum” is introduced by historian, broadcaster and cultural commentator Michael Ignatieff, linking the substance and pace of change in the post-Cold-war world with the historic role of the Magnum witness and image-maker. This is a book about history and humanity, journalism and art, and revealing the photographers of Magnum entering a new era.
Founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Magnum Photos is an iconic international photographic cooperative whose members have captured the major historical events of their times, as well as private and intimate moments. A year’s worth of these images is offered in this beautiful book that features full page reproductions organized to reflect what Cartier-Bresson himself declared a ‘community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.’ Nearly 70 photographers are represented with five to six images and the current Magnum members have selected the photographs that they consider to best represent their own output. Opposite each photograph is a page reserved for special dates, reflections, and notes. Published in an appealing and impressively-sized format, running more than 700 pages, this book includes images that make history both individual and universal.
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