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The Magnum Square Print Sale: Precedents

Posted on March 14, 2022 - By Magnum Photos
The Magnum Square Print Sale: Precedents
The Magnum Square Print Sale: Precedents

March 14 - March 20, 2022

Over 70 signed or estate-stamped, museum-quality 6x6" prints by Magnum photographers for £100/€110/ $100+tax. Available for one week only.

Magnum photographers will be donating 50% of their proceeds from the sale to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). These proceeds will help fund the ICRC's humanitarian mission to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance in Ukraine as well as other fragile contexts.

2022 sees Magnum Photos celebrate its 75th anniversary and launch a series of three square print sales. For the first time, the sales will allow collectors to build a triptych of images, curated by photographers or estates, over the course of the year.

The first sale is titled "Precedents". It will be followed by two sales in June and October titled "Magnum 75" and "Vital Signs". Each photographer and estate has curated their selection so that the images work alone, or in dialogue with each other. The stories behind each image and the selection will be shared by Magnum across its website and social media platforms

For "Precedents", participating photographers and estates have searched their personal archives in search of images that signal the start of something new. The beginning can be literal-an origin- or the moment that everything changed. The chosen images might bring the early career of the photographer to light, or it could be a photo that commenced a project, prompted an obsession, or started a journey.

Featuring work by over 70 Magnum Photographers, the photos on sale span six decades and, together, create a compelling survey of the agency, history, and photojournalism. The sale sees images from famous events in history such as Stuart Franklin's photo of a defiant young protester at Tiananmen Square in 1989 appear alongside Peter Marlow's image of seemingly carefree children eating ice cream while surrounding a soldier in Londonderry/ Derry in 1979. Elsewhere, we see famous faces such as The Beatles captured by David Hurn as they dash along a train platform while filming "A Hard Day's Night" and Marlene Dietrich photographed mid-song by Eve Arnold at the Columbia Records studio in 1952. Other photographers introduce less familiar landscapes and places. Alec Soth's image of a cemetery looming above a gas station in Wisconsin and Hannah Price's photo of huge presidential busts provide a perspective of the quotidian or the uncanny.

Olivia Arthur, president of Magnum Photos said: ICRC does such important work in conflict areas across the world. Magnum photographers are united in supporting that work at such a critical time.

The ICRC has seen many conflicts start and escalate in recent years, but too few of them end, and in each one it is the civilian populations that bear the consequences., Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC

Eve Arnold

Unretouched Women: Marlene Dietrich at the recording studios of Columbia Records. New York City, USA. 1952. © Eve Arnold / Magnum Photos

"The traditional Hollywood still was to try to flatter and titillate as much as possible, so that in lighting you would light as if you were lighting up a cigarette pack. You would light for the eyes and the legs and the breasts. And so each little bit became something special. You never got a sense of the person. It was just that commodity that was being sold.
In the early 50s I was just beginning as a photographer and I got a crack at trying to get away from that traditional look. I got a call from Marlene Dietrich asking me to come to Columbia Records where she was recording all those songs that she made famous during the Second World War. I walked in and the studio was very stark. It was like a big barn. There was no lighting. She was sitting on a stool singing away. And I just wanted the reality of that situation. I didn't want to flatter her."
- Eve Arnold, Omnibus: Eve Arnold. BBC TV documentary, 1977

Patrick Zachmann

Once Upon a Night. Royal Castle, Warsaw, Poland. 2005. © Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos

"I've always been drawn to night-time atmospheres. Like many other photographers, I guess, I like the world of Brassai and Weegee. In the past I've photographed, in black and white, many parts of the underworld at night. Today, it is with colour that I explore it, staying awake throughout the night, even though I am not a sleepwalker, insomniac or even really a nocturnal person. Simply put, I like photographing nocturnal atmospheres and lighting. I just love the artificial colours, a light upon a face, or even the shadow projected upon a wall that then becomes a screen.
My images move away from reportage and become impressionist. Ugly and grey during the day, a city becomes attractive at night, or sometimes frightening. The lights change, hot or cold, colliding prettily into a mix of colour temperatures. They make faces smooth, mix up ages, blur signs of belonging and allow silhouettes lit by a street lamp or a car headlight to be discovered. Scrutinising the city in obscurity and solitude, the photographer hesitates between entering into this nocturnal universe or staying outside it. My photographs are the story of this double attraction."
- Patrick Zachmann

Alex Webb

From the book, The Suffering of Light. Bombay, India, 1981. © Alex Webb / Magnum Photos

"As a young photographer, I worked solely in black and white. In the 1970s, I traveled to Haiti and along the U.S.-Mexico Border: experiences that changed me not only as a photographer, but as a human being. Ultimately, the searing light, the intense color, and the vibrant street life of these places - so different from the gray-brown reticence of my New England background - inspired me to start working in color. Guided by my newfound obsession with this medium, I traveled to India in 1981. Overwhelmed by the hot light, the vivid hues, and the chaotic streets of Bombay, I wandered incessantly, trying to make visual sense of this complicated and often confounding culture. Walking one morning, I glimpsed a pair of enormous eyes across the street. As I raised the camera to my eye, a child emerged from the shadows. I clicked the shutter." - Alex Webb

Chris Steele-Perkins

Tower blocks in West End. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. 1969. © Chris Steele-Perkins / Magnum Photos

"This landscape is important to me as it was taken while I was a student in Newcastle studying psychology and wondering if I could make it as a freelance photographer. I understood I needed to find my own 'voice' to be the kind of photographer I wanted to become, and one way to learn was from copying the work of those photographers I admired. In this photo I think there are traces of André Kertész, Cartier-Bresson, Paul Strand and René Burri. The question now was, 'Was there room for my own voice to be found too?' With this photo I took the first steps towards answering, 'Yes'."
- Chris Steele-Perkins

W. Eugene Smith

'Sticks and Stones, Bits of Human Bones'. U.S. Marine Demolition Team, Battle of Iwo Jima, Japan. 1945. © 2022 The Heirs of W. Eugene Smith / Magnum Photos

"W. Eugene Smith first became famous for his gripping photographs of World War II, notably covering the Pacific invasion from 1942-45, including Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Saipan. Embedded with Marines on Iwo Jima, Smith captured this stunning image, which appeared on the covers of both LIFE magazine on April 9, 1945, and the definitive Smith biography Shadow & Substance by Jim Hughes.
According to the LIFE caption in Smith's photo essay about the capture of Iwo Jima, this shot displays Marines blowing up a cave connected to the blockhouse that served as Japanese headquarters on Hill 382, known as 'Meat Grinder'. The photo's title came from Smith's own handwritten caption. Preparing to send his Iwo Jima photos to LIFE, Smith described this image: 'A striking picture which is about the best I have made since the year's beginning, which still leaves me cold and unsatisfied and yet I do like it for what it is worth.'
Barely one month later, on May 22, 1945, Smith himself received life-threatening injuries while hit with mortar fire on Okinawa. He recuperated in New York State for a year before taking his famous photograph 'The Walk to Paradise Garden', depicting his two children walking into the woods. Smith viewed that image as an antidote to the brutalities of war he had witnessed first-hand. Sadly, the precedent of war is still carrying the day nearly 80 years later.."
- Kevin Eugene Smith, Estate of W. Eugene Smith

Emin Özmen

Mersin, Turkey. 2016. © Emin Özmen / Magnum Photos

"I am often told that I look like I am ‘elsewhere'. It's true, I get lost in my own memories, I travel in the mists of my mind. This photograph resonates with me because it shows how I feel in those moments when my head is clouded." - Emin Özmen

Khalik Allah

From the 125th & Lexington series. Harlem, New York City, USA. 2012. © Khalik Allah / Magnum Photos

"This image represents my beginnings on 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in Harlem, New York. I was beginning to find my voice as a photographer and at that point I was shooting black and white film. I stopped this couple. I could tell that they had experienced a lot together and I could infer that they had become comforters to each other. To me this image represents perseverance, endurance and love."
- Khalik Allah

Magnum Photos represents some of the world's most renowned photographers, maintaining its founding ideals and idiosyncratic mix of journalism, art and storytelling. Magnum photographers share a vision to chronicle world events, people, places and culture with a powerful narrative that defies convention, shatters the status quo, redefines history and transforms lives.

For 75 years Magnum Photos has been providing the highest quality photographic content to an international client base of media, charities, publishers, brands and cultural institutions. The Magnum Photos library is a living archive updated regularly with new work from across the globe.

Magnum has documented most of the world's major events and personalities since the 1930s; covering industry, society and people, places of interest, politics and news events, disasters and conflicts.

With presence in Paris, London and NY, Magnum Photos reaches a global audience and has established itself as the authentic, storytelling photographic brand. It remains loyal to its original values of uncompromising excellence, truth, respect and independence.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC responds to humanitarian needs worldwide through its network of delegations and as part of the wider International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Established in 1863, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and employs over 20,000 people in more than 100 countries. The ICRC is funded mainly by voluntary donations from governments, supranational organizations, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and private sector audiences.

Steve McCurry

Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. 2007.. © Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos

"At the foot of the vast Mehrangarh Fort, in Jodhpur, India, one can find a quarter of the old city painted in this shade of blue. I photographed this young boy dashing through the narrow alleyways with handprints on the walls. Handprints are an ancient form of folk art, which I have found and photographed in many places around the world."
- Steve McCurry

Peter Marlow

New York City, USA. 1979. © Peter Marlow / Magnum Photos

Ten years after the arrival of British troops in the province, the barricades are once more dividing Catholics and Protestants in areas of Belfast and Londonderry/Derry. Northern Ireland. 1979.
This image captures the reality of the constant grinding presence of conflict in the daily lives of that time. The casualness of the interaction between the children and soldier appears simple but tells a deep and complex story.
- Peter Marlow Foundation
All income the Estate receives from this sale will be donated to the Peter Marlow Foundation, contributing towards our charitable mission, supporting photographic education among diverse groups of young people.

Elliott Landy

Bob Dylan with son Jesse Dylan outside his Byrdcliffe home. Woodstock, New York, USA. 1968. © Elliott Landy / Magnum Photos

"In early summer '68, I was asked to come to take photos of Bob at his home in Woodstock, for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Although he was comfortable with me, he seemed nervous in front of the camera and his uneasiness made it difficult for me. I was never the kind of photographer to talk people into feeling good: I let them be the way they were, and I photographed. Usually it worked out because I flowed with whatever mood they were in, without resistance, until things lightened up.
His young son Jesse was around while we were taking pictures, and at one point, his toy truck got seriously stuck in a doorway. I began to go over to help him but Bob just encouraged him, 'C'mon, Jesse, you can do it, just keep trying.' And Jesse, with a big smile of satisfaction, did it. I was very impressed by how Bob instinctually taught him self-reliance. Afterwards, we had a modest lunch outside his house.
Bob was a very special person. He intuitively understood what was going on in a situation. There was a feeling you got when you were with him that was exciting. I believe it was the flow of creative energy surrounding him that sort of spilled over onto you.!"
- Eliott Landy

Eliott Erwitt

New York, New York, USA. 1974. © Eliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos

"The dogs are both an excuse and reason for taking these pictures. They give me an excuse because they make good subjects. I like them, people want to see them, I can't resist!"
- Eliott Erwitt

Ernest Cole

Contract-expired miners are on the right, carrying their discharge papers and wearing 'European' clothes while new recruits, many in tribal blankets, are on the left. South Africa. 1966. © Ernest Cole / Magnum Photos

"Apartheid was often misleadingly described as ‘separate development’. Lived apartheid was rarely as dystopian as it first appeared nor as benevolent as a racist ideologue might imagine. The devil was in the detail and the detail was the clunky kragdadigheid (brute force) of Afrikaner bureaucracy."
- Ernest Cole

Christopher Anderso

Vice President Joe Biden descends Air Force 2 at Andrews Air Force Base. Maryland, USA. 2012.© Christopher Anderson / Magnum Photos

"In 2012, I spent a few days with then Vice President Joe Biden on Air Force 2 as he made several campaign stops around the USA to help re-elect Barack Obama to the presidency. We had dinner at a spaghetti restaurant and got ice cream one evening at Dairy Queen. I made this photograph at the end of our trip as we returned to Andrews Air Force Base. It looked very presidential in the moment - like something out of time. It didn’t occur to me that it would precede the moment he became the actual president of the US."
- Christopher Anderson


New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. 1968 © Abbas / Magnum Photos

"It was in New Orleans that I produced my first photographic essay, a portrait of the city. I did not know it at the time, but the importance I attach to the sequencing of my work started there and then. When I discovered this street shot of the African American family on the porch of their house on my contact sheets, I instinctively knew that I had become a real photographer. My future aesthetic, 'the suspended moment', was already present, even though I would only fully formulate it some years later. But it was only in 1998 when Magnum published and exhibited this photo in the collective book 1968: Magnum throughout the world that I realized that, thirty years earlier, I was the same photographer that I am today. The only difference is that today I would probably use a 35mm lens instead of the 28mm lens to avoid the slight distortion at the edges. But I would certainly take the same picture."
- Abbas, from the photographer's notes

Antoine d'Agata

Mala Noche. Puerto San José del Pacifico, Guatemala. 1993. © Antoine d'Agata / Magnum Photos

"This portrait is among the most significant of the images from Mala Noche, my first documentary work. I was never able to give these women as much as they gave me. I had to pay the price, I had to prove I was not just there to take and to receive, but in the end I didn't give as much as they gave me. I chose to live this life, they didn't. They never had a chance to choose another path."
- Antoine d'Agata

Matt Black

Modesto, California, USA. 2014. © Matt Black / Magnum Photos

"I was to spend six years and thousands of miles looking to see how many other places there were in America like my home region, the Central Valley in California. The precedents were in my own place: too many people living in poverty, and not enough recognition that this was happening here and everywhere across the country. This image helped set the stage for a long journey, looking for those connections."
- Matt Black

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