Art Term

Magnum Photos

Magnum Photos is a New York based photographic co-operative founded in 1947 by four photographers, including Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, that aims to give photographers the freedom to record what they see without having to work to the agendas of magazines and newspapers

Bruce Davidson Girl Holding a Kitten

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.

related terms and concepts

Photography

Photography refers to the process or practice of creating a photograph – an image produced by the action of light ...

Documentary photography

Documentary photography is a style of photography that provides a straightforward and accurate representation of people, places, objects and events ...

Photojournalism

Photojournalism is a form of journalism which tells a news story through powerful photography which traditionally are black and white ...

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