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New Yorkers: As Seen by Magnum Photographersby Max Kozloff
Synopses & Reviews
Magnum Photos, established in April 1947, summoned "concerned" photojournalists to unite in defense of free expression and individual copyright in an era of nascent magazine conglomerates who demanded total ownership of their correspondents pictures. Steeped in the euphoria of Europe's liberation from wartime terror, Magnum's founders envisioned a cooperative venture that would guarantee a truly independent media.
It was this dream, tethered to the political foundations of social democracy, which brought together Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, Robert Capa, and David Seymour. More than fifty years later, the calling of Magnum's peer-selected members has not changed. They continue the struggle to represent history through the lens of personal experience, competing against all odds in an age of media giants. Differing from other picture books about New York, New Yorkers: As Seen by Magnum Photographers introduces a gallery of eye-catching, untamed images of the metropolis taken by Magnum photographers. Known for their independent spirit, they proffer scenes that can be best described as bouncy, cryptic, melancholy, droll, and glamorous, often bringing these clashing possibilities together, against great odds, in a single image. For these pictures to have been on target, they had to be off-kilter — as charged with contradictions as the realities of their subject. The photographers featured here come from many countries and armed with a range of purposes, united only by their membership in Magnum Photos, the renowned photo agency.
As the New York Yankees are respected for the depth of their bullpen, the Magnum photographers are admired for the sharpness of their eye. Though best known for reportage of global wars and crises, they have created a New York archive of great magnitude documenting the last sixty years of New York's — and Magnum's — history. Of the roughly one hundred and forty photographs in New Yorkers, less than ten percent have been previously published. Widely published art critic Max Kozloff selected these pictures more for their pungency than for their unfamiliarity. Mindful of their story potentials, but with an eye to their visual rhythm of faces and gestures, he sequenced them to imply various overlapping themes — for example, the fizz of parties and the momentum of streets, or the hard sell of Times Square and the anger of political demonstrations. While the images retain their original captions, they ricochet with multiple meanings.
Leafing through the book is like walking the streets of New York, beguiled by the implausible and mixed energies, renewed at each turn of a corner. Through New York's cafeterias, barbershops, fish markets, subways and taxicabs, Chinese and Italian weddings, gyms, protest parades, and fancy balls, these photographers have roamed, snapping the city's denizens with a realism that stings and a wit that sparkles. Featured here is surprising work by legends Bruce Davidson, Inge Morath, Dennis Stock, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ferdinando Scianna, Leonard Freed, Richard Kalvar, Burt Glinn, Elliott Erwitt, Eli Reed, Raymond Depardon, Eve Arnold, and many more. New Yorkers: As Seen by Magnum Photographers emphasizes the color work of the Magnum photographers, much of it surprisingly early, and contains an essay by Kozloff, who tackles his offbeat selection with relish.
New Yorkers: As Seen by Magnum Photographers is a tour-de-force through the city that never sleeps, documenting its denizens as they go about their lives in typically idiosyncratic New York style, edited by famed art critic Max Kozloff.
New Yorkers introduces a gallery of eye-catching untamed images of the metropolis, taken by Magnum photographers — including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Inge Morath, Bruce Davidson, Dennis Stock, Ferdinando Scianna, Leonard Freed, Richard Kalvar, Burt Glinn, Eliott Erwitt, Eli Reed, and Raymond Depardon, among many other notable Magnum members.
Known for their independent spirit, they proffer scenes that can best be described as bouncy, cryptic, melancholy, droll, or glamorous, often bringing these clashing possibilities together against great odds, in a single image. For these pictures to have been on target, they had to be off-kilter — as charged with contradictions as the realities of their subject. Culled from Magnum's vast archive, 90% of the 152 photographs selected for New Yorkers have never been published before.
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