Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: David Hurn

Magnum Photos at 70: London Events Program

This year Magnum Photos is celebrating 70 years of contribution to photography and world history with a global events program. Public events across New York, London, Paris and in Asia will give people the opportunity to get closer to Magnum. Through engagement with its archival and contemporary work, the agency is committed to connecting more people to the importance of the image and the need to continue telling the world’s most important stories.

As part of these celebrations, a special fortnight of events will be taking place across London from May 8 to 21, 2017. Ranging from an experimental two-week artist residency to a capsule collection of t-shirts, as well as a series of exhibitions and talks throughout the two weeks. Full details here

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David Hurn The Beatles during filming of ‘A Hard Days Night’. The Beatles film was primarily shot on a moving train. Beatles during shooting. London, England. 1964. © David Hurn | Magnum Photos

Magnum and Me: A Personal View

As the agency turns 70, Magnum’s Executive Director David Kogan offers an intimate perspective on photography and why it matters

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Robert Capa US troops assault Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings (first assault).June 6th, 1944. Normandy, France © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos

David Kogan is Magnum’s Executive Director and a collector of photography, most notably of Robert Capa. Today we accompany this article with a collection of Robert Capa prints on the Magnum Shop.

Magnum Photos is 70 this year. Seven decades of great work, arguments, financial chaos, more arguments, loves, hatreds and big egos. It is a miracle of survival and commitment that has supported generations of talented photographers to do their work.

As someone who only joined the agency three years ago I’m often asked what makes Magnum worth it? What’s the point of keeping it going after 70 years in a world when so many images are created everyday?

It’s partially a personal commitment to photography itself. It’s also a belief that Magnum occupies a place of critical importance in the modern world of photography and photojournalism.

I started collecting magazines and newspapers when I was in my teens; reading Picture Post and Life magazines from the 1930s to the 1960s. The use of photography dominates these journals as does the skill of the photographers. However, my interest was the history. You get a true sense of another world by reading and looking at a magazine published months before the Second World War, when the writers and photographers have little idea what is going to happen. One of those Picture Posts in 1938 featured “the world’s greatest photographer,” Robert Capa, who had covered both the flood of refugees from the Spanish Civil War and the Japanese invasion of China. This was nine years before he helped create Magnum…….

So, why Magnum and why now?

People say that the world of photography has been radically altered by the digital revolution. There are billions of images uploaded every year from millions of smart phones. Everyone can be a photographer.

This is nothing new. Since the earliest cheap cameras were produced photography has been a mass medium. In the 1920s and 30s every household recorded family snaps on mass-produced cameras. We shouldn’t be surprised that the desire to see a single moment frozen in time appeals to the human eye and emotion. We all want a record of what is important to us. The image or photo gives us the easiest way to get it.

But if you believe that in a world of mass production there is still room for quality and talent then you will always have the great artists, the great singers and the great photographers whose work is different. It speaks to a higher level.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson Muslim women on the slopes of Hari Parbal Hill, praying toward the sun rising behind the Himalayas. Srinagar. Kashmir, India. 1948. © Henri Cartier-Bresson | Magnum Photos

Go here for full details of these events celebrating Magnum 

Magnum Live Lab (May 8 – 21, 2017)

Magnum Photographers Olivia Arthur, Carl De Keyzer and Mark Power will work alongside each other in a two week residency in the Magnum Print Room, responding to the local area. Transforming the space into a working lab, the resulting work will create an exhibition that stands as a celebration of and an inquiry into the medium of photography and the creative process of making.

Find out more here.

Magnum Photos at 70: 7 Decades of Advertising (May 8 – 20, 2017)

Magnum Photos and G.F Smith Photographic have collaborated to explore Magnum’s long history with the advertising industry, featuring notable archival and contemporary examples of Magnum’s work in this area over the last 70 years. The exhibition will recreate work on corresponding historical papers from G.F Smith and feature work from pioneers of the photographic advertising industry such as Burt Glinn.

Find out more here.

Magnum Photos Now: What is Magnum? (May 10, 2017)

Throughout Magnum’s seventy year history there have been many attempts to define the agency, its members’ vision of photography, its values and its history. This lively discussion chaired by photography critic Sean O’Hagan, and featuring the agency’s Executive Director David Kogan alongside Magnum photographers Jonas Bendiksen, David Hurn and Olivia Arthur, will ask the question, ‘What is Magnum?’ and what is the future of this historic agency?

Find out more here.

70 at 70 in London (May 15 – June 15, 2017)

The 70 at 70 exhibition at London’s Kings Cross charts a potted history of Magnum. The exhibition features 70 pictorial and historical photographic icons, celebrating the diversity of the Magnum Photos agency and how its photographers have borne witness to major events of the last 70 years.

Find out more here.

The Magnum Home (May 17 – 21, 2017)

A London pop-up in collaboration with Plinth and publisher Thames & Hudson will explore youth culture, through an exhibition curated by Ekow Eshun, installations, talks and events, as well as the opportunity to purchase limited-edition products by Plinth that incorporate the work of Magnum photographers.

Find out more here.

Magnum at Photo London (May 17 – 21, 2017)

At this year’s Photo London, Magnum is showing a combination of early and contemporary work. This will include both modern and vintage prints alongside period works from Magnum’s 40th exhibition ‘In Our Time’. Magnum is also presenting a unique installation on Japan by Max Pinckers, in which he juxtaposes his own work with vintage prints by Werner Bischof.

Find out more here.

Magnum Photos x Richardson at Dover Street Market London (May 18 – 21, 2017)

Magnum Photos’ extensive archive has been curated by Andrew Richardson on the theme of resistance and protest to create a project at the intersection between fashion and documentary photography in collaboration with Dover Street Market. The capsule collection of 5 t-shirts will be sold exclusively via Dover Street Market.

Find out more here.

David Hurn’s Swaps (May 18 – 21, 2017)

To celebrate the community of photographers of which he is a part, Magnum’s current President Martin Parr has curated a selection of the print swaps from which David Hurn has built an extraordinary collection for an exhibition at Photo London.

Find out more here.

Join us in celebrating Magnum’s 70th anniversary throughout 2017. Bookmark our anniversary hub to find seminal stories, new work, and discover what Magnum events are happening near you.

View and licence some of the our most iconic pictures from our dedicated 70th anniversary page on Magnum Pro.

 

 

The best advice for a photography beginner

“The book “On Being a Photographer” by Magnum Photographer David Hurn and Bill Jay (this only seems to be available as a Kindle download unless you are prepared to spend about £140 for a paperback! Worth buying the Kindle)  helped me more than any other book about photography I have read. One of the main things I learned is the importance of picking a project rather than just walking around looking for pictures. And it is important that the subject matter you choose be continuosly accessible. This translates for most people into picking a subject close to home. It is harder photographing your own day to day life. You don’t need exotic places — and often they are deterrent because the photographer does not know the exotic place well enough to capture its essence. Showing what is beautiful (or not beautiful) in your day-to-day environment is infinitely more interesting.

Decide on one or two qualities that you will search for. Perhaps that quality is “symetry”. Find all the photographs that use symetry as a dominate quality. Churches are often symetrical. People can be symetrical. The ocean can be symetrical. A car can be symetrical. So, spend a day just looking for this one quality. That is alot cheaper than spending money on taking pictures, at first!

When you use your camera, try to emulate or use this quality of “symetry”. After looking at symetrical objects in magazines, go outside and find an object, like a sign or a newspaper rack or a telephone, or an apple, and make a symetrical photograph of it.

 

Is that exciting? Nope. But either is playing on a piano with 1 note. But now you really know where that 1 note is. You can pull it out and use it anytime you need to in the future.

I took a course in photography for 3 weeks. This is how I learned. We were given assignments like: “shadows”, “near and far”. We did about 5 different qualities. As a result, I was somewhat equipped to do assignments for the college newspaper and I did PR for the college as well. Therefore, I became professionally almost immediately. All I knew was 4-5 qualities. But I knew the qualities that would help me as a beginning professional, and I didn’t fail.

Decide what it is you like in life. Having a *passion* for old motorbikes, landscapes, flowers … is the real driver to making good photos. I find it almost impossible to shoot good images of things I have no interest in, but I can happlily spend a whole day photographing what I love.

I suggest to you that you would concentrate on one quality of a good photograph at a time. Spend a week just looking for this one quality, and take about 40 pictures of things or events that have this one quality. A good picture usually has 4-5 good qualities. However, there may be 100 good qualities out there to choose from. The rule of 1/3rds is one quality.

Another, is “diagonals”.

Another quality is “near and far”.

Another quality is “shadows”.

The way I started, my first picture was of stairs. I pictured the stairs diagonally across my frame. And with that, I learned the first quality. You must spend one week on your assignement to learn about each quality. Then after a month or so, you can combine qualities.”

My advice echoes this, to get better at photography always consider composition, you could even take our composition course and practise one feature at a time, spend hours or even days just looking for and photographing using one compositional device like rule of thirds. When you start seeing images even when you do not have a camera with you then you are on the right road

The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera”
Dorethea Lange

Working to projects rather than just aimlessly wandering around with a camera sharpens your eye, helps you see better and if you come across the slim paper back “On Being a Photographer” by Bill Jay and David Hurn snap it up

EDWARD VAN HERK . PHOTOGRAPHER

György László and his impressive site has become a firm favourite of mine. I think it is so important to understand the motivation behind a photograph and therefore the motivations of a photographer. Of course not all photographers would claim to have ‘motivations’ but they make the dullest pictures. An image is a visual representation of an idea and the more clearly understood the idea the better the photograph. As Ansel Adams said “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” 

György László finds images he likes and then interviews the photographer to understand the concept, the motivation and today we have Edward Van Herk, no I hadn’t heard of him either but I do like his pictures.

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EVH: Travel comes with a bag full of expectations and clichés to some extent. When I got an opportunity to stay in Buenos Aires for a few days, I immediately had to think about Tango music. When visiting a new place, I always search for authenticity. Tourist dance performances, Tango dinner shows and so on didn’t interest me. When I found out the porteños (locals) passionate about music and dance came together at Milongas, I knew right then I wanted to get inside and connect. I bought a newspaper to search for locations. This particular picture was made in a traditional Buenos Aires Milonga salon, where passionate Milongueros come together to escape everyday life. Time seemed to freeze there and it felt really exciting.

GL: What are you most ‘sensitised’ to? Light? Motion? Emotions? Stories?

Edward van Herk Milonga 2EVH: Mostly emotions. A Milonga night is filled with passion, drama, beauty, grace, tenderness, love, desire, envy, romance, tension, and of course music. This couple immediately drew me in. The age difference between them simply seemed to fade. Generally a photographer’s first choice is what to photograph. David Hurn once said ‘You don’t become a photographer because you are interested in photography’. He meant that photography is only a tool for expressing a passion in something else. A desire to become famous, to get many likes on the Internet or to fall in love with cameras as desirable objects doesn’t improve your photographs. Mostly it requires practice, getting out there and going to work and not letting failed attempts set you back. Therefore is important to do some research and find an accessible subject and start a project or story. When your subjects become most important, your heart opens up and you will respond and discover and develop your own style. It will allow you to enhance your level of perception and get involved in the world around you. I mostly develop a strong desire to connect to people during my projects. The greatest gift I have received through my work is the connection with my subjects.

Read the rest of the interview