Henri Cartier-Bresson & Magnum Photos

“Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

This morning I received my weekly email from Magnum Photos. For those that don’t know, Magnum Photos was set up in 1947 by four legendary photographers; Robert Capa, George Rodger, David Seymour and Henri Cartier-Bresson, each of whom had been adversely affected by World War II and founded the cooperative out of a shared curiosity to document a world which had somehow survived the conflict.

Paris. 1957. Magnum meeting. ©Magnum Photos

The four-piece’s desire to redefine photography – blending reportage and aesthetics to position the photographer as an artist as much as a journalist – could only have been possible under Magnum’s tutelage. As a professional body, it allowed them to develop techniques outside of print journalism, collaborate on essays and retain copyright over their own work. This was a monumental step.

Today, Magnum is a leading photographic agency, with offices in London, Tokyo, Paris and New York. It now represents 79 of the worlds’ most talented and respected photographers, including Eli Reed, Jim Goldberg and Martin Parr, and holds seminars across the globe inviting aspiring members to have their work examined by foremost professionals. They have an extensive online library of images, which I urge you to look at.

Back to my inbox, I was delighted to see that my ‘Magnum Photo of the Week’ was by Cartier-Bresson himself:

This image, taken in Paris, 1932, embodies Cartier-Bresson’s work and is a strong example of ‘decisive moment’ photography – a style which he championed. Looking at the image, there is a great deal of rhyme between the man jumping, his reflection in the water and the ballet poster on the wall. The muddy image plays to a sense of motion and romantic decay, the latter a powerful sentiment considering where this photo was taken.

Register with Magnum here to receive their emails, photos and links.



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