Magnum Photos: One Archive, Three Views

A Photoworks, Magnum Photos and De La Warr Pavilion co-commission for Brighton Photo Biennial 2014

3 October – 2 November 2014

For the first time in its history, the iconic photography agency Magnum has opened its prestigious print archive to three contemporary practitioners for Magnum Photos: One Archive, Three Views.  Guided by the former Magnum Photos archivist, Nick Galvin, visual anthropologist Elizabeth Edwards, artist Uriel Orlow and photographer Hannah Starkey were invited to reinterpret how social, cultural and political inclinations have shaped the content of the archive.

Leonard Freed, Women’s Liberation, 1970 © Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos
Leonard Freed, Women’s Liberation, 1970 © Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos

Edwards, Orlow and Starkey chose 130 rarely seen photographs from 68,000 resin prints that as well as reflecting their individual interests, collectively present an imperfect history of photography between 1950 to 1995.  All three selected their images based largely on visual intuition, rather than referencing the photographer or the captions on the reverse of the photograph.  The twenty-five photographers whose work is presented in Magnum Photos: One Archive, Three Views include Abbas, Eve Arnold, Ian Berry, Rene Burri, Elliott Erwitt, Stuart Franklin, Leonard Freed, David Hurn, Peter Marlow, Inge Morath, Martin Parr, Chris Steele-Perkins and David “Chim” Seymour.

Edwards has approached the archive by asking, ’how are the experiences of people, their engagement with the world in which they find themselves, inscribed in the photograph?’.   The images she has chosen are of people absorbed in their worlds, internalising its possibilities and making sense of that experience, often those in which the action lies beyond the frame as in Carl de Keyzer’s Ladbroke’s Betting Shop, 1991 and Martin Parr’s Rusholme, Manchester, England, 1972.

Starkey’s interest in the female perspective and how work is subsequently engendered has resulted in an intimate narrative linked across the decades in photographs including Eve Arnold’s Self-portrait, 42nd Street, New York City, 1950 and Leonard Freed’s Women’s Liberation March in NYC, 1970.  Her selection is chosen from a period in Magnum’s history when women accounted for only five per cent of the photographers they represented.

Martin Parr, Rusholme, Manchester, England. 1972 © Magnum Photos
Martin Parr, Rusholme, Manchester, England. 1972 © Magnum Photos

Orlow’s interdisciplinary practice teases out the blindspots of history in the margins of crisis.  His installation for the exhibition explores the materiality of the archive presenting juxtapositions of images that though they depict vastly different events, have strong visual relations, and include Philip Jones Griffiths’s Marines landing on beach, Danang, Vietnam, 1970 and Rene Burri’s Craters left by US bombing raids along the Cambodian border from their bases in South Vietnam, 1973.

Formed in 1947 as a photography collective, Magnum Photos built its global reputation on representing photographers and preserving their authorship and creative control. Over its 67-year history Magnum photographers generated a rich archive of prints and material that in the pre-digital age, was the mainstay of its image licensing business. Magnum’s archive has now moved from analogue to digital and its online archive comprises over 600,000 images.

Rene Burri, Bomb Craters Near the Cambodia Border, South Vietnam, 1973. © Rene Burri/Magnum Photos
Rene Burri, Bomb Craters Near the Cambodia Border, South Vietnam, 1973. © Rene Burri/Magnum Photos

Saturday 4 October, 3-4pm. Magnum: One Archive, Three Views.  An introduction to the approaches behind the exhibition by Elizabeth Edwards, Hannah Starkey and Nick Galvin.  Free, but booking recommended on 01424 229111.

Magnum Photos: One Archive, Three Views at De La Warr Pavilion is part of this year’s Brighton Photo Biennial, which takes place 3 October – 2 November 2014 | bpb.org.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnum Photos: One Archive, Three Views