July 2nd, 2014

Magnum Photos Names Nominee, New Member, Appoints New Executive Director

At the annual meeting of Magnum Photos last week, members of the photography collective voted to make Moises Saman, a long-time Magnum associate, a full member of the agency. Bieke Depoorter and Jerome Sessini were elevated from nominees to associate members. One nominee to the agency was named: Sohrab Hura, who is based in New Delhi and was selected for PDN’s 30 in 2010. The announcements were made after the conclusion of the meeting, held in New York City.

Also at this year’s meeting, Magnum named a new executive director: David Kogan, a journalist who had previously worked as global managing director of Reuters Television.  Photographer Martin Parr, who was elected the new president of the collective, said in a statement, “I am confident that David Kogan’s experience as a successful media executive and entrepreneur, and his sensitivity as an important collector of photographs, brings the right mix of competence and vision to open this new chapter of Magnum’s history.”

Related articles
Photo Agencies Test Consumer Market with Prints and T-shirts

Magnum Announces Just One Nominee, Welcomes Olivia Arthur and Peter van Agtmael as Full Members (2013)

PDN’s 30 2010

June 17th, 2014

What We’re Following on Instagram This Week

Here’s what the @pdnonline folks are checking out this week on Instagram.

© Cengiz Yar (@hfwh)

© Cengiz Yar (@hfwh)

Cengiz Yar, Jr @burndiary
Burn, the online magazine for emerging photographers founded by David Alan Harvey, has been using Instagram to post photo essays: one photographer sharing photos from somewhere in the world for seven days. This week: Cengiz Yar, Jr., (@hfwh) posting from Syria, mainly the Kurdish-controlled region, and from a refugee camp for Syrians in Lebanon.

 

© Patricia Lay Dorsey (@patricialaydorsey)

© Patricia Lay Dorsey (@patricialaydorsey)

@socphotogallery
Thanks to PDN’s 30 photographer Zun Lee (@zunleephoto), whose work we featured last week on PDN Photo of the Day and on the @pdnonline Instagram feed, for introducing us to this one. Social Photography is using Instagram as a virtual gallery and online forum in connection with its physical gallery exhibition this month at Indy India Art Gallery in Indianapolis. Social Photography is fostering a dialogue about how social media and the sharing of images is changing both photography and how we view our daily lives. In addition to Zun Lee, contributing photographers have included Samantha Box, Lauren Bohn and Patricia Lay Dorsey.

© Daro Sulakauri (@darosulakauri)

© Daro Sulakauri (@darosulakauri)

Daro Sulakauri for @opensocietyfoundations
Daro Sulakauri (@darosulakauri) is taking over the IG feed of Open Society Foundations, posting from Tchiatura, a manganese-mining town in the Republic of Georgia. The story is brutal, the images beautiful.

© Carl De Keyzer/Magnum Photos (@carldekeyzer of @magnumphotos)

© Carl De Keyzer/Magnum Photos (@carldekeyzer of @magnumphotos)

Carl De Keyzer for @newyorkerphoto
Magnum photographer Carl De Keyzer (@carldekeyzer) is taking followers of the New Yorker Photo Booth to an exotic locale called his backyard. All week he’s posting from his home and garden. De Keyzer lives in a restored castle “somewhere between Ghent and Brussels in Belgium.” This proves, yet again, that you don’t have to venture too far to make great photos, especially if you live in a restored castle and have a garden with peacocks and geese and a big white dog.

March 4th, 2014

Trunk Archive Acquires North American Licensing Rights for Magnum Photos

Image licensing company Trunk Archive announced today that it has acquired North American licensing rights to the image library of Magnum Photos.

Statements from both Magnum and Trunk focused on the possibilities for Trunk to do a better job generating revenue from the archive than Magnum has.

In a statement, Magnum CEO Giorgio Psacharopulo said the agency is “confident that this partnership will allow Magnum’s iconic imagery to reach a new audience of creative professionals. There exist many hidden gems within the Magnum collection and we anticipate that these will be rediscovered through our association with Trunk Archive.”

Trunk Archive CEO Matthew Moneypenny said his company is “proud to be representing this prestigious collection and very excited to find new licensing opportunities for these exceptional images.”

The news comes just a few days after Trunk announced its acquisition of rep firm Bernstein & Andriulli, and Gallery Stock, its sister company.

Trunk Archive represents more than 250 photographers around the world for secondary image sales. Founded seven years ago by Moneypenny, a former Art + Commerce image licensing agent, it has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Sidney, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.

Related: Trunk Archive Buys Bernstein & Andriulli, Gallery Stock
(Re)Sales Opportunities: A variety of creative licensing opportunities exist for photographers interested in capitalizing on their existing imagery. (subscription required)

December 4th, 2013

What Does Robert Capa’s “Close Enough” Rule Mean Today?

Photos © Robert Capa (left) and © David Goldblatt

Photos © Robert Capa (left) and © David Goldblatt

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,” Robert Capa famously said. But was he right?

To celebrate the 100th birthday of Robert Capa and the upcoming show “Capa in Color” at the International Center of Photography, Magnum Photos has been asking photographers to reflect on the great photojournalist’s legacy—and his famous adage— in an online project called Get Closer 100.

Every day since Capa’s birthday, October 22, the agency has posted  a photo from Capa’s archive and invited the public to upload a photo of their own that mirrors it. They’ve also asked renowned photographers to share their response to the Capa image in the form of a single photo and a short written text. Photographers who have to date shared their thoughts on Capa include David Goldblatt, Richard Renaldi, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Thomas Ruff, Benjamin Lowy, Gideon Mendel, Stefano De Luigi, Thomas Hirshorn and many members of Magnum. Their thoughtful critiques on Capa’s “get closer” rule are as individual as the photographers themselves.

Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur notes that when she’s photographing people in intimate settings, she is often struggling to put more physical distance between herself and her subjects in order not to make them uncomfortable. She explains, “Being close for me is about being inside someone’s world, when they feel relaxed about my being around. I try to let people have their space.”

Micha Bar-Am of Magnum adds to Capa’s quote, “But if you’re too close to the grindstone, you lose perspective.”

Several photographers said that over time, they decided that Capa’s adage is a demand not for proximity but for empathy. Agnes Dherbeys, who won the Robert Capa Medal from the Overseas Press Club in 2011, paired a 1944 photo by Capa of a French woman accused of collaborating with the Germans with one of her own images from her series on the Red Shirts Crisis in Thailand in 2010. Dherbeys writes that she tried to empathize with the terror of the protester crouching in a street to take cover from Thai Army gunfire.

Ashley Gilbertson, another Robert Capa Medal winner, questions the image Capa inspired of the “swashbuckling photojournalist.” Gilbertson, who pairs a photo he shot in Falluja, Iraq in 2004 with one of Capa’s images of the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy, says, “For the record, as hard as I tried, I never got that swashbuckling thing.”

The wide selection of Capa images underscore that he was much more than a conflict photographer.  Photojournalist Ed Kashi, who paired Capa’s photo of himself (seen in a mirror) photographing author John Steinbeck with a photo of Kashi’s father looking in a mirror, notes, “Conflict photographers of today are obsessed with only the agony, graphic violence and misery. Capa recorded those qualities with a quiet dignity, but he was also able to capture happiness. He was capable of portraying life in it’s full range of emotions, not just misery and death.”

There are 56 days left to the project. You can see Capa’s images—and upload your own response– at getcloser.magnumphotos.com.

November 19th, 2013

ICP Appoints Mark Lubell New Executive Director

The board of trustees of the International Center of Photography (ICP) has named Mark Lubell to be its new executive director. He replaces Mark Robbins, who left the job as director of the museum and school after 19 months to become President and CEO of the American Academy in Rome.

Lubell was Director of Magnum Photos from 2004 until 2011. During his tenure, he negotiated the sale of the Magnum press print archive to Michael Dell and his investment firm, MSD Capital, and its placement at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. In 2008, he lead the “Access to Life Project,” in which eight Magnum photographers documented the work of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and also lead initiatives to bring new revenue to the photo agency. Since leaving Magnum, he has been working as a consultant.

In a joint statement announcing Lubell’s appointment, Caryl S. Englander, board chair, and Jeffrey A. Rosen, board president, said, “Mark’s deep experience with photography, his aptitude with digital technology, and his managerial skills qualify him especially well to lead ICP forward, as we prepare to celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2014. Mark is a forward thinker whose vision of ICP’s central role in photography in the digital age builds on the spirit of our founder, Cornell Capa.” ICP has had three previous executive directors. Willis “Buzz” Hartshorn, who succeeded founder Cornell Capa in running the museum and school, stepped down in 2012 for health reasons.

Related article

ICP Executive Director Leaves After 19 Months

ICP Director Hartshorn to Step Down

 

July 1st, 2013

Magnum Announces Just One Nominee, Welcomes Olivia Arthur and Peter van Agtmael as Full Members

Magnum Photos has announced that just one photographer, Michael Christopher Brown, will join the agency as a nominee this year. Olivia Arthur and Peter van Agtmael will become full members of the agency, and Alex Majoli will continue as president of Magnum Photos.

The announcements were made this afternoon following Magnum’s annual general meeting last week in London.

Michael Christopher Brown, who is from Washington State, has recently worked in Libya and Congo and his clients include The New York Times, GEO, Time and The Atlantic. He was one of the subjects of HBO’s “Witness” documentary series on conflict photography.

Olivia Arthur joined Magnum in 2008 and was made an associate of the agency in 2011. Her recent work is focused on Saudi Arabia, particularly the lives of women. In 2012 she published a book of her work, called Jeddah Diary.

Like Arthur, Peter Van Agtmael joined Magnum in 2008 as a nominee and was voted an associate in 2011. A winner of the W. Eugene Smith Grant and an ICP Young Photographer Infinity Award, Van Agtmael’s work has focused on the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the legacy of those wars in the United States.

June 17th, 2013

Look3: Josef Koudelka on the Measure of a Photographer, Courage, and Controlling Your Own Destiny

©Tristan Wheelock

©Tristan Wheelock

Legendary photographer Josef Koudelka packed the house at the Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville during the Look3 Festival of the Photograph over the weekend, and the audience greeted him with a standing ovation after master of ceremonies, photographer Vince Musi, announced that Koudelka had been reluctant to participate. Koudelka, who has a reputation as a lone wolf among a group of peers known for their independence, has rarely granted interviews during a career that spans more than 40 years.

“Of course I don’t feel very comfortable to be here. I am not a good speaker,” said Koudelka, who was nevertheless gracious to Anne Wilkes Tucker, curator at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, who was also on stage to interview him. “I don’t know what she’s going to ask me, [but] I gave her assurance I would answer everything…I will try to be as honest as possible.”

Koudelka also told the audience at the outset that he “never listened much to what [other] photographers say,” and recounted how Henri Cartier-Bresson had asked him to read and comment on the text of The Decisive Moment before that book was published. “I said to Bresson I’m really not interested and I’m not going to read it.” Koudelka added, “I think the best portrait of a photographer are his photographs, so please judge me on my photographs.” (more…)

February 22nd, 2013

Paolo Pellegrin and His Subject At Odds Over Photograph

Pellegrin-Shane-Keller

© Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos

In response to allegations that he staged a photograph and plagiarized captions for his prize-winning story about the underside of Rochester, New York, Paolo Pellegrin has defended the work in a statement distributed by Magnum, his agency. The full text of the statement is below.

On the BagNews Notes blog, Pellegrin was accused of staging the photo shown above and plagiarizing the captions for the story, which recently won prizes in both the World Press Photo and POYi competitions. In the POYi competition, Pellegrin was named Freelance Photographer of the Year for a portfolio of images that included the Rochester story, called “The Crescent. Rochester USA 2012.” The Crescent is a section of Rochester where crime rates are high.

The subject of the photograph in question, Shane Keller, told PDN that he raised questions about the photograph in an e-mail to Loret Steinberg, a professor Keller had while studying photography at RIT. Steinberg approached Michael Shaw, editor of the BagNews Notes blog, who posted an article that quoted extensively from Keller’s original e-mail.

Keller told PDN today that it is not clear that the photo was staged. Pellegrin had asked him to pose for portraits with firearms, and Keller agreed to do that. Keller went on to say that he’s not sure he was in the act of posing for the portraits when Pellegrin took the photograph above.

“It looks like he happened to be there, in the right place, at the right moment. It looks like spot news photograph,” says Keller, who now lives in Dover, Pennsylvania. “It’s in a gray area, where if we don’t view it as a portrait photograph, then it’s on the gray line: Would it be considered a staged photograph?”

Brett Carlsen, a friend and former RIT classmate, was on the scene as Pellegrin’s assistant. He told PDN that Pellegrin had asked Carlsen to help him find gun owners to photograph in Rochester. “He was trying to find the underbelly of Rochester. He wanted to look at gun culture, and [photograph] gun owners,” Carlsen says.

Carlsen knew that Keller had guns, and called him up to ask on Pellegrin’s behalf if they could come over to take pictures. After shooting some portraits against a wall in Keller’s apartment, Pellegrin asked if he could photograph them at a shooting range where Keller was a member.

Keller says he agreed, and that Pellegrin asked if he could take more portraits once they entered the garage attached to Keller’s residence. According to Carlsen, when they entered the garage, “The light caught [Keller], Paolo told me to get out of the way, and he started taking pictures.”

Keller believes the photograph misrepresents him, and he would like to see it removed from the series.

“What bothered me more [then the question of whether it was staged] was my being associated with the Rochester Crescent. I lived in a nice and safe neighborhood. That photograph goes with a story talking about the gang and drug violence. It’s associating me with these problems in Rochester, when in reality I had nothing to do with that situation. It paints me in a bad light. I don’t look at a photograph of person with a firearm and assume they’re a bad person, but in a collection of other photographs about violence and drug issues, it paints me in a bad light.”

But Carlsen sees it differently. He acknowledged that Keller doesn’t live in a violent, crime-ridden area, but he lives a few minutes’ drive away, Carlsen says. Pellegrin’s images, he continues, “Shows that people keep guns to keep violence out of their homes. From an ethics standpoint, I think it fits. I don’t see a problem. Those  guns are in [Keller's] house to keep other people in the story out of his house.”

Pellegrin did not respond directly to a request for an interview, but the statement he provided through Magnum is reproduced below:

I’m sorry that Michael Shaw, Loret Steinberg and Shane Keller don’t like
my pictures from Rochester.  It’s not uncommon for people living in a
community to disagree with an outsider’s take. We all know that.  They
find my work “heavy handed.”  I found many of the things I witnessed in
Rochester shocking.  Part of a documentary photographer’s job is
sometimes revealing things that local elites would rather not have
discussed quite so openly.  In my experience, it was particularly true
in Rochester that certain portions of the population were disinclined to
have an open conversation about race, poverty and crime.

Shane doesn’t like the caption of the portrait I made of him.  (He does
acknowledge, however, that this picture was a portrait, and I’ve never
indicated otherwise.)  Here is the caption for that picture:
“Rochester, NY, USA.  A former US Marine corps sniper with his weapon.”
Shane agrees that he is a former Marine and that he is standing with his
weapon in Rochester.  My firm recollection is that Shane described
himself that day as a sniper.  He may have misspoken; I may have
misunderstood; or he may have used the word “sniper” in a manner that
was not meant to imply formal status as a Marine Corps Sniper (he spoke
for a long time about sniping).  In any event, if Shane was not actually
a Sniper in the Marine Corps the caption should be changed to read
“Rochester, NY, USA.  A former US Marine Corps member with his weapon.”

Shane also points out that I took his portrait.  This is true, and his
account of how we were introduced by Brett, who was assisting me, is
also substantially accurate.  I had been spending the majority of my
time riding along with the Rochester police in the Crescent and
otherwise interacting with the community there.  I approached the work
through a combination of reportage, portraiture, and even landscapes.  I
also realized that to tell more fully the story of gun violence in
Rochester, as exemplified by what I was seeing in the Crescent, I wanted
to make some portraits of gun aficionados.  Like any journalist, I
worked with my assistant to locate such people, and Shane was one of the
people we located.  I think his portrait, and even his reaction to it,
add an interesting dimension to the story.  Shane thinks he and his guns
have nothing to do with the violence in the Crescent; I disagree.  (For
what it’s worth, there is no firm agreement in Rochester as to what
constitutes the “Crescent;” it sometimes seems to be a conceptual
designation as much as  a geographical one.  I actually didn’t know
where precisely Brett had driven me to meet Shane, which is one of the
reasons I captioned the picture simply, “Rochester.”)

I have no idea why Shaw et al. appear to think there is something wrong
with making a portrait, or that making a portrait is not “authentic”.
As photojournalists, we make portraits all the time.  Are my portraits
from Gaza any less “authentic” because they’re portraits?  Of course
not.  It’s ridiculous.

There is one element of the Bag News Notes story that is worthy of
discussion in the face of a changing photojournalistic landscape,
however:  The relationship between my captions, such as, “Rochester, NY,
USA.  A former US Marine corps sniper with his weapon,” and the
background text about the story that accompanies them.  Traditionally,
when photographers like me produced work freelance, our agencies – in my
case, Magnum – would distribute the photographs to publications with a
background or “distro” text and a series of captions.  The captions were
meant for publication; the distro text was for editors, who, if they
took the work, would assign a writer to produce a text that would
accompany the captioned pictures.

In Rochester, I produced the work directly as part of a collaborative,
freelance project with a number of my colleagues, and the work ended up
winning awards without ever having been mediated by the English-language
press.  (Some of the work did appear in Zeit in Germany, although
Shane’s picture did not.)  Thus, my photo captions are accompanied on
the World Press Photo and POYi sites by the kind of background text that
ordinarily would not be published. (Zeit, for instance, didn’t publish
it.)  This distinction between captions and background information is,
in my mind, quite important.

My picture captions are my authored work, based on my individual work in
the field, and I stand fully behind them.  (If a small correction
sometimes needs to be made — like clarifying that Shane was a Marine
but not a sniper in the Marine Corps — so be it.)

The background text, which traditionally would be for internal uses, and
not for the public, is something I gathered from various sources in
Rochester and from the internet, including the New York Times.  Factual
background sentences like, “The Crescent is home to 27 percent of the
city’s residents and 80 percent of the city’s homicides” are frequently
repeated in the neighborhoods I was working in; I believe I first
encountered the statement in connection with the House of Mercy and the
amazing Sister Grace, with whom I spent a considerable amount of time.
(The sentence is on House of Mercy’s facebook page, for instance.)  I
confirmed my background information in various interviews with the
Rochester police, the House of Mercy, and many others – but that doesn’t
change the fact that it was intended as background information, i.e.,
the starting point for someone else’s authored work.  I’m a
photographer, and I produced a body of photographic work.

Looking at the presentation on the World Press Photo and POYi sites, I
do regret the formulation, “where these pictures were taken” in the
background text in relation to Shane’s picture.  Shane’s picture is not
captioned the Crescent, and I wouldn’t have captioned it the Crescent,
because I wasn’t sure it was taken there (as stated above:  I wasn’t
sure exactly where in Rochester Brett had driven me to meet Shane).  I
captioned the picture “Rochester, NY, USA.”  But the juxtaposition with
the background text is confusing and should be fixed.  The story is
about the Crescent, and I continue to believe that Shane’s picture tells
an important part of the story about Rochester, guns, and gun violence
(whether Shane agrees or not), but I don’t want there to be any
confusion.  For purposes of clarity, I don’t have any problem with the
picture itself, how it was made, or its inclusion in my story.

One final thought:  Neither Shaw, Steinberg nor Keller ever attempted to
contact me.  They do not quote Brett, anyone in the Crescent, the police
officers I spent so much time with, etc.  It seems somewhat strange to
me that while mounting a purported journalistic high horse they
themselves did not follow the basic tenets of fair and professional
journalism.

July 5th, 2012

Magnum Photos Announces 3 Nominees

Members of Magnum Photos held their annual general meeting this week at the Rencontres D’Arles photo festival in France, and selected three new nominees for the photo collective. The three are varied not only in their experience but in the kind of work they do.

They are:
Zoe Strauss, a photographer based in Philadelphia who describes her work as focusing on “the beauty and struggle of everyday life.” This year Strauss was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. From 2001 to 2010, Strauss hosted an annual, one-day exhibition, installing her work on pillars below an I-95 overpass in her neighborhood in South Philadelphia.

Jerome Sessini, a documentary photographer based in Paris. Previously represented by Reportage by Getty Images, Sessini has covered conflict and humanitarian crises in the Balkans, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. He won the 2010 F Award for Concerned Photography for his work on drug related violence along the Mexico-US border.

 Bieker Depoorter, a Belgian photojournalist who got her masters in photography in 2009. Accepted to the 2012 Joop Swart Masterclass, Depoorter produced a project, “Ou Menya,” while traveling via the Trans Siberian railroad and staying in strangers’ homes. She is working on a similar series in the US.

The work of these three photographers might represent the different kinds of work now produced by Magnum members. Two years ago when we reported on Magnum’s choice of two news photographers as nominees,  Alec Soth, a Magnum photographer, wrote us to say: “One of the reasons I wanted to be in Magnum is because of the diversity of approaches to the medium. There is such a broad spectrum within the agency that these lines between ‘art’ and ‘photojournalism’ have blurred beyond recognition.”

It’s interesting that women make up two thirds of this year’s nominees. That’s a much higher proportion of women than in Magnum’s current roster: (A list of Magnum members and associates is here.)

Magnum also announced that Jacob Aue Sobol has become a full member of the cooperative; Moises Saman is now an associate member.

More information on the annual general meeting can be found on the Magnum Photos web site.

Related Articles:
Magnum Adds Two News Photographers as Nominees

January 5th, 2012

Photographer Eve Arnold Dies, Age 99

© Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos. Photo: Eve Arnold with Marilyn Monroe during filming of The Misfits.

Magnum photographer Eve Arnold, recognized for her stories about the ordinary lives of the poor and downtrodden all over the world as well as for her unvarnished portraiture of Marilyn Monroe and other celebrities, has died in London. She was 99.

Arnold took up photography in the late 1940s, and first studied under Harper’s Bazaar art director Alexei Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research. From the start, she defied boundaries, documenting a fashion show in Harlem–then a segregated ghetto–for a school assignment an assignment. That led to a long to a long-term documentary project about the Black Power movement. She attracted the notice of Henri Cartier-Bresson, and in 1957, she became the first female photographer to join Magnum Photos in the US (Inge Morath had previously joined Magnum’s Paris office).

To read the full obituary, including reflections on her work by Arnold herself and comments by Magnum member Susan Meiselas, see our news story on PDNOnline. (more…)