The June 2019 Magnum Square Print Sale will see Magnum photographers and estates
delve into their archives to select a single image that reflects the issues, working practices
and visual signatures which have obsessed the collective's members throughout their
From deep-seated beliefs that have driven career-long documentary explorations of political
and social issues by Eli Reed and Susan Meiselas, to aesthetic fascinations which pushed
the practices of photographers like Werner Bischof and Trent Parke into new, experimental
territory - the selection represents the great breadth of the Magnum collective's creative
motivations and output.
Harlem Street Scene, New York City, 1987 © Eli Reed/Magnum Photos
Some images open a window upon photographers' fascinations with form - as with
René Burri's penchant for brutal or minimal architectural edifices - while others capture
photographers' career-long adoration of more lighthearted visual tropes, like Elliott Erwitt's
love of photographing dogs. As he puts it, I am obsessed with dogs - because they remind
me of people, but with more hair.
New York City, USA, 2000 © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos
The curation explores - through the images themselves as well as these explanatory captions
- the personal motives and external influences which exert themselves upon photographers.
Christopher Anderson touches upon a proclivity for photographing his own family, Bruno
Barbey reflects upon the impersonal role of luck in any photographic career, while Alec Soth
credits Masahisa Fukase's book Ravens with propelling him to make work in Hokkaido,
A boy plays in the Rivière des Galets, Réunion, 1991 © Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos
The power of place is a key feature in many of the chosen images. Cristina de Middel's
text reveals the layers of historical and cultural exploration behind her portrait of Mexico - a
country she has chosen to live in, while Gregory Halpern describes the pervading allure of
Buffalo, NY, where he grew up and which he describes as a source of 'endless intrigue'.
Magnum has, for more than 70 years, been defined by its members' sense of authorship
over their work, its dedication to visual expression and exploration, and its diversity of
approach. 'Obsessions' presents the factors that have driven Magnum photographers toward
the heights of the photographic world.
About Magnum Photos
Stabel, horse, pool and house planned by architect Luis Barragán. Cuadra San Cristóbal, Maxico, 1976 © René Burri/Magnum Photos
Magnum Photos was founded in Paris in 1947 as an artists' co-operative by four pioneering
photographers: Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and David Chim
Seymour. The legendary photo agency continues to shape photographic practice and
maintains its original values of uncompromising excellence, truth, respect and independence,
representing an idiosyncratic mix of journalist, artist and storyteller. 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.
Photomontage, Zurich, Switzerland, 1941 © Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos
Marilyn Monroe during the filming of the Misfits. Nevada, USA, 1960 © Cornell Capa/International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos