Skip to content

Tag: Agency

Young Magnum: The hotshots ready to take their place in history

Peter Popham views the work of four young photographers at various stages of the harrowing selection process. Independent

For more than 60 years, Magnum photographers have been giving the world lessons in how to see: from the piles of corpses inside the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp to the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam, from the burka-clad women of Srinagar to the teddy boys of Southend, their work opened our eyes to what was going on in the world around us like no one and nothing before.
Collectively, randomly, with fierce and fiercely differentiated gifts, they painted the history of the post-war world with their Leicas, Nikons and Pentaxes. The work was so compelling that having seen, say, Vietnam through the lens of Philip Jones Griffiths or James Dean through the lens of Dennis Stock or a starving Bihari peasant through the lens of Werner Bischof, those subjects and the ideas and debates that surrounded them would never be the same again: without resorting to hyperbole, they materially affected the discourse of our times.
All that?s in the past tense, in the same way that one talks of Stalin or Watergate in the past tense: Magnum put its stamp on an era ? a long one ? with such unforgettable gusto that it became part of that era. Yet the founders of Magnum had the foresight to organise themselves in a way that allowed the brand (to use a word many of them would probably cringe at) to survive beyond that long wave of greatness. That is why today we are able to offer? you Young Magnum: four photographers in their late-twenties and early-thirties with the spark of brilliance, the individuality of eye and the ferocious commitment for older members of the co-operative to recognise them as fellow spirits, and haul them inside.