Magnum Photos was set up by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David ‘Chim’ Seymour in New York in 1947. All four photographers had been photojournalists in the Second World War and were profoundly affected by what they had seen.
These photographers believed that the most important job of a photojournalist is to record the human condition in the outside world as compassionately as possible. The agency was set up in order to give photographers the freedom to determine their own fate and not be beholden to magazine or newspaper editors with agendas that might compromise the integrity of the photographer. To fund this endeavour, photographers at Magnum retain the copyright of their photographs. Today the organisation is the most respected in the world and supports some sixty-four international photographers. It holds an extensive library of images recording major world events from the Spanish Civil War to the present day.