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Magnum Manifesto

Clément Chéroux


The official publication celebrating Magnum Photos’ 70th anniversary: a totally fresh and perceptive view of the legendary agency’s history and archive

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This landmark book celebrates the 70th anniversary of the world’s greatest photographic agency, Magnum Photos. Offering a fresh and insightful view of the agency’s history and archive, it takes an analytical look at the work of Magnum’s photographers, and provides an understanding of what it is that makes Magnum Photos so different, so special and so great.

Author and curator Clément Chéroux, together with Clara Bouveresse, demonstrates how Magnum Photos owes its pre-eminence to the ability of its photographers to encompass and navigate the points between photography as art object and photography as documentary evidence. A Magnum photograph can be expressive and bear witness at the same time.

The book is organized into three main parts: Part I (1947–1968) views the Magnum archive through a humanist lens, focusing on post-war ideals of commonality and utopianism. Part II (1969–1989) shows a world fragmenting, with a focus on subcultures, minorities and outsiders. Part III (1990–2017) charts the ways in which Magnum photographers have captured – and continue to capture – a world in flux and under threat.

Featuring both group and individual projects, the book includes magazine spreads, newspaper articles, excerpts from books, and other valuable material, putting some of the world’s most recognizable images in creative context. Complete with extensive texts, an anthology of correspondence and an agency timeline, Magnum Manifesto is an expertly curated, essential collection of images and commentary for anyone seeking the very best in photography.

A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year

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'From the wake of the war, through the Cuban revolution to the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11, the history of Magnum is the history of our world. Here are the images to prove it'
The Herald

'An epic tome that charts the history and cultural impact of this legendary organization'
Amateur Photographer

'An immense visual record of the second half of the 20th century … many-faceted, contradictory, yet utterly compelling'
Black & White Photography

'A vital compendium of documentary photography from the past seventy years'
RA Magazine

'An absolutely essential book on the most important photographers collective the world has ever seen'

'Magnum Manifesto, published to mark the 70th anniversary of an organisation which, as the book reminds us, was named after both champagne bottles and revolvers. The pictures capture the past seven decades with a violence and effervescence worthy of that name'
Daily Telegraph

'Essential reading for anyone wanting to get beyond the myths and find out the inside story on this inspirational organization'
RPS Journal

'An important read for anyone interested in Magnum’s beginnings and development, indeed anyone interested in photography in any way'

'The epitome of top-drawer photography'
Irish Times

'An absorbing insight to the career of some of the greatest exponents of the camera art'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: PLC with acetate jacket

Size: 29.5 x 24.5 cm

Extent: 416 pp

Publication date: 18 May 2017

ISBN: 9780500544556

Contents List

Preface: May 22, 1947 • Part I, 1947–1968: Human Rights and Wrongs • Part II, 1969–1989: An Inventory of Differences • Part III, 1990–2017: Stories About Endings • Epilogue: 'Magnum Is…'

About the Author

Clément Chéroux is senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He was formerly head curator of photography at the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Clara Bouveresse is a photography historian, with a PhD in art history from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University.

List of Contributors

Clara Bouveresse