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MAGNUM 1947 – 1987

07.12.2012 - 10.02.2013

Until today Magnum stands for documentary photography of the highest standard. Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David Seymour (Chim) founded the legendary photo agency in 1947, with the aim to work independently in a motivated cooperative of likeminded photographers - as reporters, commentators and poets with a camera. The decisive moment and Human Interest became the central paradigms of this group.

The exhibition IN OUR TIME opens a time window to the first forty years of Magnum with photographs of the five initiators and fifty other members, such as Werner Bischof, Ernst Haas, Erich Lessing, Eve Arnold, Marc Riboud, Elliott Erwitt, Inge Morath, René Burri, Bruce Davidson, Constantine Manos, Burk Uzzle, Hiroji Kubota, Bruno Barbey, Josef Koudelka, Gilles Peress, Mary Ellen Mark, Susan Meiselas, Raymond Depardon and Sebastião Salgado.

The photographs present strong contrasts, ranging from classic black and white reportage to abstract plays of colour that became icons of collective visual memory.

The show illustrates a retrospect view of events in world affairs and the different approaches of photographers. Moreover the images also show a change of meaning in the medium of photography itself, manifest in the varying circumstances of publication: From the great magazines of the first years, such as Life and Paris Match to monographic or thematic books to the exhibition hall.

The 145 large format prints were produced during the late 1980s for an exhibition carrying the same name and later got into private ownership. WestLicht managed to acquire this spectacular convolute and present it for the first time in Austria.

IN OUR TIME. THE WORLD AS SEEN BY MAGNUM PHOTOGRAPHERS was curated by Fred Ritchin and Robert Delpire. The exhibition was organised by the American Federation of Arts in cooperation with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Company it toured from 1989 simultaneously through the USA, Japan and Europe. The accompanying catalogue IN OUR TIME. THE WORLD AS SEEN BY MAGNUM PHOTOGRAPHERS was published by André Deutsch Limited and edited by William Manchester, Jean Lacouture and Fred Ritchin.

© René Burri, Rio de Janeiro, 1960
© Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos, In the Andes, near Cuzco, Peru 1954
© Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sport in a refugee camp, Kurukshetra, Punjab 1948
© René Burri, Che Guevara, Havanna 1963
© Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos, Children in a housing estate, Moss Side, Manchester 1986
© Martine Franck, Le Brusc, France 1976
© René Burri/Magnum Photos, Fête Forain, Zurich 1980
© Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos, The Kitchen Debate, Moscow 1959
© Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos, Martin Luther King Jr., after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Baltimore 1963
© Marc Riboud, Peace march, Washington D.C. 1967
© Gilles Peress, Paris 1978
© Bruce Davidson, Subway, New York City 1979