Exhibition Dates: May 10 - June 14, 2003
“Chim, Bob and I never spoke about photography, about technique or about good and bad shots. We used to talk about life, about the world, which is far more interesting.”
It seems fitting that Henri Cartier-Bresson, in talking about two of its co-founders, is able to capture so articulately the spirit of Magnum. He is speaking of Robert Capa and David (Chim) Seymour, who, along with HCB, George Rodger, Maria Eisner, and William & Rita Vandivert, are responsible for what has become perhaps the most respected, and certainly the most renowned collective of photojournalists. Its inception in 1947 came at a time when photojournalists were suffering under the rigid rules of the publications that directed their work, and often left them with no copyrights to their images. The co-operative functions to protect and preserve the photographers’ rights, including the ownership of their own negatives. Perhaps of greater importance is the support that Magnum offers to its members to pursue their own self-driven long-term projects, independent of the influence of the media.
The photo essay, as mastered by W. Eugene Smith (a one-time Magnum member himself), demands that the photographer immerse him- or herself in their subject, and often takes years to complete, if completion is even possible. This ethic precludes the idea that the news, especially as we understand it in the west, grows out of a vacuum, existing only when we care to notice it. Thus, Magnum photographers are not only found at the scene of current events, they have likely been photographing there for many years. They are active in all parts of the world, in areas of conflict and of peace, photographing the famous and the unknown, capturing defining moments of history and quiet moments of everyday life.
We are proud to reinforce the spirit of Magnum with a group show that celebrates the photojournalist as a witness to change and as a visual chronicler of diversity in the 20th and 21st centuries. Our images include seminal moments of war (Robert Capa, Fallen Soldier, Spanish Civil War) and conflict (Larry Towell, Man Reading Paper, NYC, 09/11/01); civil unrest (Stuart Franklin, Tianamen Square, 1989); excerpts from essays that introduce us to the unusual suspects (Bruce Davidson, The Dwarf, 1959); to glimpses of small moments of beauty (Henri Cartier-Bresson, Boy with Wine Bottles, Paris). Our exhibition will also include images by Abbas, Eve Arnold, Werner Bischof, Rene Burri, Elliott Erwitt, Paul Fusco, Jim Goldberg, Burt Glinn, Steve McCurry, Susan Meiselas, Wayne Miller, Inge Morath, Martin Parr, Eugene Richards, Marc Riboud, George Rodger, Marilyn Silverstone, Dennis Stock, and Alex Webb.