Magnum Manifesto at International Center of Photography, May 26 – September 3, 2017

“What is Magnum? A cooperative of renowned photographers, created in Paris and New York in 1947; an innovative economic model, enabling its members to become owners of their images and independent authors in their own right; a place for debates, founded on ethical and aesthetic ambitions, gathering diverse and sometimes contentious approaches.

Ever since its creation, Magnum has been affiliated with photographers as diverse as Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, advocating for the documentary value, as much as the creative potential, of photographs. The agency is defined by this symbiosis between art and document, but also by enduring tensions between commissions and creative freedom, Europe and the United States, the elder and younger generations, or black-and-white and color processes.

Together, Magnum members have helped to shape the cultural evolutions of the second half of the twentieth century through today, bringing their concerned, amused, critical, and original perspectives to our contemporary world. This exhibition moves beyond the myth and frames the agency within a broader historical context, thanks to extensive documentation. It presents the multiple approaches and activities developed over the years through three main periods: ‘1947–1968: Human Rights and Wrongs’; ‘1969–1989: An Inventory of Differences’; ‘1990–2017: Stories about Endings.’

The final section, ‘Magnum Is . . .,’ gives voice to the photographers and staff in a tentative definition of the manifold ‘Magnum spirit,’ forged by images as much as by words.” — Introductory Wall Text

Installation photographs by Corrado Serra.

The exhibition is a co-production between ICP and Magnum Photos. It is curated by Clément Chéroux, with Clara Bouveresse and ICP Associate Curator Pauline Vermare.