Monday, September 24, 2012


Last month, Magnum reported the death of member Martine Franck, widow of Henri Cartier-Bresson, a founder and its most famous member. The organization now has no direct link to its patriarchs for the first time in 65 years—and operates in a world of journalism far different from the one Magnum confronted in 1947.
In that year, four photojournalists got together to report on stories that the conventional press might not care about, and to share the profits. They called themselves Magnum. Over the years, more photographers were admitted to their elite crew.
[image]Succession Willy RONIS/Diffusion Agence RAPHO/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Martine Franck, the late widow of Henri Cartier-Bresson, date unknown.
Their romantic, impossible project came with obvious problems. Magnum photographer Werner Bischof despised reporters "who see only what might shock the world press," calling them "vultures of the battlefield." At the same time, founder and war photographer Robert Capa, with his genius for selling Magnum stories to the press, told another colleague, "if you want to do sad stories, you have to get nearer the news."
That constant tension has driven the profession of photojournalism since it began. While those beginnings are murky, the industry was well under way by the end of World War II, as picture magazines like Life and Paris Match appeared all over the world. Some Magnum members defended their great, unsalable work as art. And some dismissed the artists as self-righteous jerks. (Every family has its quarrels.) But the argument was not so much between journalism and art as between good pictures and the good pictures that someone would pay to publish. Capa and Cartier-Bresson both made great pictures that sold, setting an example difficult to match. Though it didn't stop anyone from trying, and even succeeding. And Magnum kept all its members' photographs in an ever-growing archive.
For more than two decades, even after the advent of television, there was lots of work. Magazines had big glossy pages and space to fill with pictures telling stories. (The tradition still survives in People and National Geographic.)
When the U.S. magazine market declined in the 1960s, Magnum members, like all photojournalists, found new publications. They developed the lucrative specialty of working for corporate clients in the days when corporate reports were new. And they could always shoot ads.
Magnum survived the death of Life magazine thanks to Cornell Capa, younger brother of Robert, who had died in Vietnam in 1954. In 1967, Cornell arranged an exhibit of 200 photographs by his brother and five others for the eclectic Riverside Museum in New York. In those days most museums and the public didn't consider photography art. Unlike Abstract Expressionist paintings or ironic Pop Art, photographs had clear subjects. Fine prints were made in limited editions, but a photographer could print more pictures any time he liked.
The last qualifier didn't apply to four men in Cornell Capa's show. Robert Capa, Bischof, David Seymour and Dan Weiner had all died on the job. He also included André Kertész, a star photographer in Paris before the war, who was then working for New York shelter magazines, and Leonard Freed, then in his 20s, who created long picture essays on Little Italy, Jews in Germany, and the Civil Rights movement, and had just returned from Israel's Six Day War. Capa called them all "Concerned Photographers." The New York Times called it an "unusually articulate visual definition of what photojournalism means in our time." As Capa later said, the show proved that when "the work is genuine and deals with the human condition" it could succeed on a gallery wall as well as on the printed page.
Overnight, Cornell Capa invented a new photographic genre. Even though Edward Steichen had mounted his blockbuster exhibition, "The Family of Man," at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955, Cornell Capa proved that Concerned Photography extended beyond that single show, and even beyond the membership of Magnum. The Concerned Photographer traveled around the world. The genre became the seed for an entire museum, the International Center of Photography, which opened in 1974.
With Concerned Photography Cornell Capa also increased the value of Magnum's ever-growing archive. The work of all members, old and new, was Concerned Photography. And such photographs could be exhibited over and over. In 2010, having digitized every photograph in its files, Magnum placed its collection at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. The price, still undisclosed, was enough to keep the organization afloat.
For more than half a century, Magnum photographers showed us the importance of picturing the human condition alongside reporting the news. An unintended consequence of their success has been to reduce news stories to a strikingly similar set of images: brave soldiers, weeping mothers, hungry refugees, dirty children, happy election conventioneers, candidates reaching for a wall of hands.
That's not the fault of Magnum. What does photojournalism mean now when everybody with a cellphone can upload pictures for the world to see, or when surveillance cameras provide the most reliable way to document a crime?
More troubling is the fact that with the decline of the press and its demand for relevance, and the rise of the gallery where everything can sell, we have lost the tension between good and good-enough-to-show-the-world. When there were fewer photographers, Magnum admitted only the best to its club, and we trusted it to be our gatekeeper. Now we live in a world without Life magazine, but with too many pictures. What form of photojournalist will emerge from these conditions? Who can make images for the digital world that will show us something we can't see without them?
Ms. Panzer is a photography writer in New York.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Top 100
1. Richard Avedon American 1923-2004Avedon was the epitome of the modern photographer – a charming, sophisticated man-about-town and a photographer who was able to cross photographic genres. It did not matter where he was, which format he chose to work with or who his subject was, the image would be an Avedon image. It would have that unmistakeable elegance and confidence that marked him out, not just as a great photographer but as a highly successful commercial photographer, who was able to create instantly iconic and memorable images. So what’s his influence? His large-format portrait style with the stark white background, his use of two images to tell one portrait story, his use of strobe lights in fashion, the book In The American West? Of course it’s all this and more.Avedon is a photographer whom every photographer should get to know via his books. They cover his whole career and not only chart his own photographic and personal development but also, that of commercial photography over the last half of the twentieth century. Quite simply he is our
2. W. Eugene Smith American 1918-1978
Intense and at times obsessed with his work. He helped establish the photo story and the power of black & white printing.
3. Helmut Newton German 1920-2004Newton created erotically charged and powerful images of women, and developed the use of ring flash in fashion images.
4. Irving Penn American 1917- 2009Every portrait shot in the corner of a room or simple symbolic still life owes something to Penn. He is the established genius of American Vogue
5. Guy Bourdin French 1928-1991
No one has been more imitated over the last few years in fashion and art photography than Bourdin. Erotic, surreal and controversial.
6. Henri Cartier-Bresson French 1908-2004The creator of ‘The decisive moment’. He never cropped his images and only shot in black & white. A Leica-wielding legend.
7. Diane Arbus American 1923-1971Freaks, loners and people on the edges of society’s norms were Arbus‘s subjects. Her direct and simple portrait style and subject matter have inspired ever
8.Elliott Erwitt French 1928-Magnum member and humorous observer of everyday life. His juxtapositions of form and images of dogs show art is where you find it.
9. Walker Evans American 1903-1975The chronicler of American life who brought a detached observer’s eye to all of his images. He created order and beauty through composition where there was none.
10. Martin Parr British 1952-Parr’s use of intense colour and his ability to raise the snapshot to the level of art has led to him being recognised as the master chronicler of the every
11. Juergen TellerGerman 1964-The master of ‘non-photography’, Teller’s images are anti-technique and blow apart the establishment’s view of photography.
12. Nick Knight British 1958-The most influential fashion photographer in the world and one of the most sought-after. Knight’s openness to new forms, techniques and processes keeps on the cutting edge.
13. David Bailey British 1938-For the portraits, the fashion, the wives, the wise cracks, the Olympus ads in the eighties, Blow-up, there is only one Bailey.
14. Cindy Sherman American 1954-The ultimate self-portraitist, Sherman’s use of herself as the model was at the forefront of photography being recognised as art.
15. Andreas Gursky German 1955-The concept of documentary/landscape photography being accepted as contemporary art stems from Gursky’s images.
16. Edward Weston American 1886-1958Weston’s experiments with shape, form and light, the female nude and natural forms influenced a whole century of photographers who followed him.
17. Garry Winogrand American 1928-1984A pioneer of street photography, Winogrand’s approach of not looking through the viewfinder became his trademark which led to his fluid and innovative compositions.
18. Bruce Weber American 1946-Weber is so influential in the worlds of fashion and portraiture that company brands are based on the world which he creates with his images: The All-American
19. Man Ray American 1890-1976Surrealist and painter. Lee Miller was his muse but it was with his darkroom experimentation that his influence was strongest, creating his ‘rayograms’ and solarized images.
20. Paolo Roversi Italian 1947-The Italian master of the 10x8in Polaroid fashion image. His use of low light and soft focus combined with muted intense colour is often imitated but never
21. Herb Ritts American 1952-2002
The prince of eighties Californian glamour and celebrity. His work inspired Madonna in her videos and filled magazines for over a decade.
22. Annie Leibovitz American 1949-She started out as the staff photographer at Rolling Stone and is now at Vanity Fair. She’s shot everyone and her portraits define our times.
23. Ansel Adams American 1902-1984The king of wilderness landscape photography and the deviser of the ‘zone system’ for metering and exposure.
24. David LaChapelle American 1963-LaChapelle uses post-production techniques combined with an ability to create fantastical ‘pop photography’ images.
25. William Klein American 1928-The anarchic rebel of fashion, reportage and film making. His wide-angle ‘in your face approach’ lives on, as does his attitude.
26. Bill Brandt German 1904-1983 The master of the distorted female nude and surrealist portrait. Brandt’s world was a dark one filled with menace.
27. Ralph Gibson American 1939-Gibson was a hero to photography students in the seventies and his nudes and graphic images were much imitated.
28. Stephen Shore American 1947- Shore’s work is a visual record of a never-ending American road trip. His images seem deceptively easy to replicate, which has led to many photographers
29. Robert FrankSwiss 1924-One of the true innovators in the cross over between stills and film. Frank would be included in this list just for his book The Americans.
30. Andre Kertesz Hungarian 1894-1985Kertesz brought a reflective eye to street photography and showed how portraiture can be an extension of reportage.
31. Chuck Close American 1940-Close is all about detail and the greater whole. His oversize images have influenced many to exhibit big.
32. Robert Mapplethorpe American 1946-1989His erotic images of male nudes caused controversy but it was his portrait and still-life work that made the most impact.
33. Steven Meisel American 1954-The darling of the fashion world and the great American stylist. His images reference the history of photography and style.
34. Peter Lindbergh German 1944-Lindbergh has helped create the concept of the supermodel with his fashion images for Harper’s Bazaar and Italian Vogue.
35. August Sander German 1876-1964Sander’s ambition to use photography to document not only created an incredible archive of portraiture, it also brought a scientific approach to the art of photography.
36. Nan Goldin American 1953-The queen of grunge, Goldin turned her lens on her drug-using and transvestite friends to create shocking images that saw personal reportage
37. Weegee Austrian 1899-1968He had a police radio in his car and got to crime scenes before they did, creating the archetypal image of a news photographer.
38. Don McCullin British 1935-McCullin’s images of war and suffering not only took a heavy toll on him, they also helped influence political decisions.
39. Slim Aarons American 1916-2006Aarons’ social reportage of the glamorous, rich and famous of the fifties and sixties have become historical documents and stylistic touch points.
40. William Eggleston American 1939-Eggleston’s use of intense colour, uneasy composition and disconcerting subject matter bought him to prominence and gained acceptance for colour photography as art.
41. Joel-Peter WitkinAmerican 1939-The master of the macabre, Witkin’s still life tableaux are some of the most shocking photographic images ever created.
42. Anton Corbijn Dutch 1955-Corbijn’s images of Joy Division and U2 have influenced the approach of rock photographers for over 20 years with his cross-process colours and atmospheric black & whites.
43. Brassai French 1899-1984Brassai’s images of Paris at night and his experimental use of location lighting defined the art of night photography.
44. Erwin Blumenfeld German 1897-1969Blumenfeld’s work in fashion and beauty focused on techniques such as solarization, wet silk, and elaborately contrived shadows and angles. He was way ahead of his time.
45.Duane Michals American 1932-Michals use of text and collage in his images brought an intellectual dimension to his work. A photographer and communicator.
46. Mario Testino Peruvian 1954-Mario Testino’s images are the epitome of glamour and high fashion. He lives the life and photographs it. Every fashion photographer’s dream.
47. Mary Ellen Mark American 1940-Mary Ellen Mark started photographing the streets she lived in and developed into one of the world’s leading reportage photographers.
48. Larry Clark American 1943-Following a similar road to Nan Goldin, Larry Clark took his experiences in Tulsa to creating startling images that influenced the grunge
49. Mert & Marcus Turkish and British 1971-Based in London this photographic partnership fully embraced the digital photographic relationship with post production and took the fashion world by
50. Corinne Day British 1965-Influenced by Goldin and Clark and a close friend of Kate Moss, Corinne Day’s fashion images and personal reportage create controversy and commercial
51. Cecil BeatonBritish 1904-1980The ultimate social photographer, diarist and friend to the social, fashion and rock ‘n’ roll aristocracy. He brought elegance to all.
52. Eric Boman American 1938-Boman shot the first two Roxy Music covers and encapsulates his glamorous lifestyle in all he shoots for Vogue.
53. Patrick Demarchelier French 1943-Where Testino brings glamour to fashion, Demarchelier brings sophistication and understated glamour to all of his images.
54. Bert Hardy British 1913-1995In post-war Britain, Hardy documented the country at work and at play with a reporter’s eye.
55. Tim Walker British 1970-Over the last few years Walker has achieved incredible success with his highly innovative, stylised and propped images for both editorial and commercial
56. Terry Richardson American 1965-Richardson’s fashion and portrait images push sexual boundaries and challenge conservative taste with an American trash aesthetic.
57. Norman Parkinson British 1913-1990The gentleman of British photography who brought a debonair, slightly caddish, flair to all that he photographed.
58. Snowdon British 1930-Snowdon’s portraits and reportage for The Sunday Times Magazine broke boundaries and asked questions of society.
59. Horst P. Horst German 1906-1999
Horst’s classical approach to nudes, portraits and fashion is less influential now than it once was but his work still offers much in formal lighting and
60. Philip Jones Griffiths British 1936-2008
Jones Griffiths horrifying and compelling images from Vietnam inspired countless war photographers and showed them how it should be
61. Jeanloup SieffFrench 1933- 2000The French David Bailey, Sieff modelled for Avedon, shared a studio with Horvat and perfected his photographic approach with one light, a Nikon camera and a grey backdrop.
62. Bob Carlos Clarke British 1950-2006Carlos Clarke took Helmut Newton’s super powerful dominatrix woman and added a graphic, erotic approach creating iconic images in black and white
63. Mick Rock British 1949-The rock photographer’s rock photographer, Mick Rock hung out in the seventies with Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop and created seminal images that summed up the era.
64. Sebastião Salgado Brazilian 1944-Salgado’s black and white social reportage photography brings to light social injustice and ecological disasters.
65. David Loftus British 1963-Loftus’s natural approach to shooting food has led a revolution in food photography with the new emphasis being on honesty and ingredients over perfection and unreality.
66. Brian Duffy British 1933-One of the ‘Cockney Three’ along with Bailey and Terry Donovan. Duffy gave up photography to restore furniture but his legacy is powerful.
67. Simon Norfolk British 1963-A self-described landscape photographer, Norfolk’s use of the large format camera in war-ravaged areas has seen a resurgence of large format.
68. Araki Japanese 1940-Araki’s controversial images of bound women, flowers and food have created a worldwide following for this driven photographer.
69. Ellen Von Unwerth German 1954-Model turned photographer, Von Unwerth’s work brought a new approach to shooting women’s fashion, with a female sexuality brought to the
70. Leni Riefenstahl German 1902-2003The controversial photographer and film maker whose images from the 1936 Nazi Berlin Olympics have inspired photographers every where 
71. Edward Steichen Luxembourger 1879-1973A pioneer of photography and sensitive photographer. He helped create commercial photography in the twentieth century
72. Alfred Stieglitz American 1864-1946Another photographic pioneer, but Stieglitz was also a craftsman who used natural elements to inform his platinum prints.
73. Roger Fenton British 1819-1869Fenton’s images created during the Crimean War mark him out as one of the first true great war photographers.
74. George Hoyningen-Huene Russian 1900-1968From an aristocratic Russian background, Huene became a seminal fashion and portrait photographer for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in
75. Sarah Moon British 1940-Moon’s fashion and personal images have influenced every photographer who’s seen her work and marvelled at her use of colour.
76. Frank HorvatItalian 1928-Horvat shared a studio with William Klein in New York and went on to create some of the most iconic fashion images of the fifties and sixties.
77. Alexander Rodchenko Russian 1891-1956Rodchenko was one of the founders of constructivism and brought the arts of photo montage, analytical documentary and innovative angles to his work.
78. Julia Margaret Cameron British 1815-1879One of the few female photographic pioneers, Cameron photographed her family with very little technical expertise and created soulful sepia portraits that still inspire today.
79. Angus McBean British 1904-1990The surrealist who made the photographing of actors his personal domain. McBean’s photographic wit and personal charm is in every image.
80. Deborah Turbeville American 1938-Turbeville bought a magical quality to her fashion and interiors work and popularised the use of grain to create atmosphere.
81. Tim Page British 1944-His work and images forged in the Vietnam war reportedly inspired Dennis Hopper’s character in Apocalypse Now.
82. Harri Peccinotti British 1938-The legendary art director of Nova magazine turned fashion photographer who used graphic forms to define photography.
83. Eve Arnold American 1912-As a member of Magnum, Arnold used her gentle manner to create iconic images of the greatest movies of the last century.
84. Jane Bown British 1925-The quiet newspaper photographer for The Observer who only uses one camera and takes exposure readings off the back of her hand. An inspiration and still shooting today.
85. Michael Thompson American Thompson is the archetypal New York fashion and beauty photographer. His clean lines and attention to detail make him the commercial photographer to
86. Oliviero ToscaniItalian 1942-Toscani created the Benetton brand image and has worked to include a political message in commercial images ever since.
87. Pierre et Gilles French 1950- & 1953This French duo’s work, before the advent of Photoshop, took photomontage and retouching to new levels of camp perfection.
88. Robert Doisneau French 1912-1994Doisneau went walking and took pictures every day of the everyday in his beloved Paris, France. The ultimate street photographer.
89. Joel Sternfeld American 1944-Sternfeld’s use of a large format camera to create documentary images of seemingly ordinary landscapes is one of the most imitated fields of photography
90. Richard Billingham British 1970-Billingham burst onto the contemporary art photography scene with his college project of family images titled Ray’s a Laugh. His following success inspires all students today.
91. Paul Strand American 1890-1976 Not only was Strand a photographic pioneer he also saw the connection between the still and moving image over his long career.
92. Chris Killip British 1946-Killip works photographing rural communities, the working class and the North East of England. He was one of the main figures in revitalising British reportage in the eighties.
93. Tony Ray-Jones British 1941-1972Ray Jones is another photographer’s photographer, despite his short life and minimal output he is regularly noted as an influence by photographers in all genres.
94. Helen Levitt American 1913-2009Levitt only worked as a photographer for a short time over two specifically intense periods. The images she created then of children playing and the street life of New York are timeless.
95. Robert Capa Hungarian 1913-1954Hard drinking and living, Capa not only helped found the Magnum agency, he also captured the most moving images of World War II.
96. George Hurrell American 1904-1992Hurrell was the undoubted master of the Hollywood star portrait. Lighting, composition and printing all were perfect in his world.
97. Jacques Henri Lartigue French 1894-1986An amateur photographer who started as a young boy, Lartigue’s images of everyday aristocratic French life makes him the ultimate social
98. Bert Stern American 1929-Stern is a great commercial photographer but it is for his contact images of Marilyn Monroe with ruffled hair, silk scarf and wild abandon that he makes the
99. Peter Beard American 1938-With his love of Africa, lions, beautiful women and collage, Beard has created a unique body of work which inspires through its energy and
100. Rankin British 1966-Controversial he may be, but with his media persona to the fore, his influence on young photographers, and public recognition, definitely earn him the final place in our 100.