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Groundbreakers: seven great innovators from Magnum Photos' archive

By Anna Bonita Evans | 5 months ago

The World Photography Organisation has partnered with Magnum Photos to celebrate their annual Square Print Sales. Open for just five days, you can purchase signed or estate-stamped, museum-quality 6x6 inch prints for $100 (USD) from now until midnight (EST) Friday, June 14, 2019.

Click here enjoy the full selection and to purchase your favorite prints

To celebrate this partnership, we’ve delved into the 85 works available to buy as prints to discuss, examine and consider those innovators that pushed their photographic practice into new, experimental territory. For more than 70 years, Magnum Photos has been defined by its members’ sense of authorship over their work, its dedication to visual expression and exploration, and its diversity of approach. The selection below presents how members of Magnum Photos have continued to drive towards the heights of the photographic world. 

"It's a lot of work living the life that you want to live, but that's what I'm doing."

David Alan Harvey purchased a used Leica and began photographing his family and neighborhood in 1956. He is founder and editor of the award-winning Burn magazine, featuring iconic and emerging photographers in print and online. 

This image, taken in 1989, possesses a haunting quality thanks to its colour palette and almost spectral figure, obscured by the misted glass.

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"The power of our Muse lies in her meaninglessness. Even the style can turn one into a slave if one does not run away from it, and then one is doomed to repeat oneself. The only thing that counts is curiosity. For me personally, this is what creativity is about. It will express itself less in the fear of doing the same thing over again than in the desire not to go where one has already been."

Gueorgui Pinkhassov studied cinematography at the VGIK (The Moscow Institute of Cinematography), he went on to work at the Mosfilm studio and then as a set photographer in 1978. His book, Sightwalk, explores individual details, through reflections or particular kinds of light, often approaching abstraction.

Pinkhassaov captured this intriguing image while in Tokyo, in 1966, at Ueno tube station. 

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"I never thought I would become a photographer."

The great Rene Burri became an associate of Magnum in 1955 and received international attention for one of his first reportages, on deaf-mute children, Touch of Music for the Deaf, published in LIFE magazine. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. He traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East and then went to Latin America, where he made a series on the Gauchos that was published by Du magazine in 1959. It was also for this Swiss periodical that he photographed artists such as Picasso, Giacometti, and Le Corbusier. He became a full member of Magnum in 1959. 

This wonderfully graphic image was taken in Mexico City, in the San Cristobal de las Casas town, 1976. 

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"I was living in London at the end of the 1960s when I became aware of the brainwashing power of television…I became interested in making a portrait of England by photographing the TV screen."

Gruyaert started as a film director, creating some films for Flemish television before turning to color photography in his adopted Paris in the early 1960s. In the early 1970s, while he was living in London, he worked on a series of color television screen shots later to become the TV Shots, now part of the Centre Pompidou collections. Around the same time he photographed his homeland and produced two books, Made in Belgium and Roots.

An image all about dramatic shapes and seductive color, this is actually an aerial shot of a lounge in Roissy airport. 

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"I have the great privilege of being both witness and storyteller. Intimacy, trust and intuition guide my work."

Jim Goldberg has been exhibiting for over 30 years and his innovative use of image and text make him a landmark photographer of our times. 

Appearing as if a lightbulb has been superimposed on to a idyllic natural scene, Goldberg took this image at a bus stop in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey, in 1990.

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"I felt compelled to venture forth and explore the true face of the world. Leading a satisfying life of plenty had blinded many of us to the immense hardships beyond our borders."

Werner Bischof was born in Switzerland and studied photography with Hans Finsler in his native Zurich at the School for Arts and Crafts, where he then opened a photography and advertising studio. In 1942, he became a freelancer for Du magazine, which published his first major photo essays in 1943. He was one of the first Magnum Photos members in 1949. 

This stunning photomontage shows a close up of a flower, which Bischof photographed in Zurich, 1941. 

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"Emotion is really the only thing about pictures I find interesting. Beyond that it is just a trick."

Christopher Anderson joined Magnum Photos in 2005. In 2000, on assignment for the New York Times Magazine, he boarded a small wooden boat with 44 Haitians trying to sail to America. The boat sank in the Caribbean. The photographs received the Robert Capa Gold Medal.

This serene image shows a little girl, Pia, with a balloon, in Gracia, Barcelona. 

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The World Photography Organisation has partnered with Magnum Photos to celebrate their annual Square Print Sales. Open for just five days, you can purchase signed or estate-stamped, museum-quality 6x6 inch prints for $100 (USD) from now until midnight (EST) Friday, June 14, 2019. Click here enjoy the full selection and to purchase your favorite prints.

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