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Magnum China - Read an Extract

Posted on 05 Oct 2018

Many of Magnum’s most renowned photographers have photographed China, returning time and again, their fascination growing in line with the country’s burgeoning accessibility and international influence. We take a look at some of the stunning photos from 'Magnum China'.

According to co-founder of Magnum Photos, Henri Cartier-Bresson, “Magnum is a community of thought… [with] a curiosity about what is going on in the world… and a desire to transcribe it visually.”

From their first assignment in China in 1930, Magnum photographers have returned time and time again, their fascination growing as the country changed. From the Mao Years to the rise of the global superpower we know today, Magnum photographers have captured China through candid, unflinching, iconic and truly representative photos.

Each photo in Magnum China gives a glimpse of day to life in China, of love, family, tradition, art, farming, of the people, and in retrospect, the people behind the history books and archived news reports. We take a look at some of the stunning photos below.

CHINA. Beijing. 1982. A group of Chinese watching "the Long Nose", a term which refers to all westerners, including the photographer. © Patrick Zachmann/Magnum Photos

CHINA. Guangdong. Shenzhen. Ancient and modern China come together in this new industrial town. 1992. © Ian Berry/Magnum Photos

CHINA. Beijing. 1973. Tiananmen Square. School girls prepare for the reception of French president Georges Pompidou. In the background: Mao portrait and slogans "Long live the People's Republic of China. Long live the Union of the people of the world." © Bruno Barbey/Magnum Photos.

CHINA. Beijing. 1973. Tiananmen Square. School girls prepare for the reception of French president Georges Pompidou. In the background: Mao portrait and slogans "Long live the People's Republic of China. Long live the Union of the people of the world." © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

CHINA. Hankou. March 1938. Boy soldier. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos

CHINA. Beijing. Tien An Men Square. 'The Tank Man' stopping the column of T59 tanks. 4th June 1989. © Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos.

CHINA. Jiangsu. Nankin. April 1949. One of the last war lords, General Ma Hung-kouei, came to Nanking just before its fall to give his support to General CHIANG KAI-SHEK. At the time this picture was taken, Ma Hung-kouei reigned supreme over northwest China. But shortly afterward his personal army abandoned him. On the wall behind him hang some ancient sayings, such as: "A good general should play a beautiful role in history. He should praised for a hundred generations. He should care for his troops and also for his people." © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos.

China. Yun Nan Province. Village school quite near Lu Gu Lake. It is the Ma Jia Qing Pre-school. It has 20 pupils. Many of the pupils do not have the family ID to allow them to go to the primary school in town. The teacher, Sha Er Bu was born in the village , and has been "temporary" teacher for 8 years because another teacher cannot be found. They are all ethnic Yi. This work was carried out with the support of Prospect Foundation China. (Yuan Ji Shi) © Chris Steele-Perkins/Magnum Photos.

China. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Hotan. White Jade River. 2013. A message about the soul of jade written by a Chinese jade carver. © Carolyn Drake/Magnum Photos.

HONG KONG. Happy Valley Racecourse. 2013. © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

CHINA. Guangdong. Shenzhen. Ancient and modern China come together in this new industrial town. 1992. © Ian Berry/Magnum Photos

While Magnum China allows us a glimpse of life in China over the years, Chinese Movie Magazines allows us a rare look at the “Hollywood of the East” before the Communist takeover.

Since the Chinese movie industry in 1920, over 300 movie periodicals were created; although little trace now remains of that once-flourishing print genre, Chinese Movie Magazines collates and contextualizes more than 500 full-colour covers, “from Charlie Chaplin to Chairman Mao”. Discover the forgotten magazines here.

Magnum China

Colin Pantall, Zheng Ziyu, Jonathan Fenby
£48.00

Chinese Movie Magazines

From Charlie Chaplin to Chairman Mao 1921-1951 Paul Fonoroff
£35.00

China (British Museum)

A History in Objects Jessica Harrison-Hall Out of stock