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Magnum Print Room features photographs that span a crucial 50-year period of the 20th century
USA. North Carolina. 1950 © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos.

LONDON.- This new exhibition is named after the influential photobook and exhibition, In Our Time: The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers (1989) and brings together key photographs from the Magnum Photos archive over a crucial 50-year period of the 20th century. The prints in this exhibition are drawn both from the 1989 Hayward Gallery exhibition of In Our Time, and vintage and period prints used in production of the book. Collectively, these images document a range of human experience through both war and peacetime, and demonstrate the continued resonance and relevance of the work of the legendary agency over the past 70 years.

‘This stirring volume of extraordinary photographs, presenting our times in all their elegance, squalor, courage, hope, betrayal, agony, sacrifice, heroism and majesty, is as unsparing of its audience as it was unsparing of its photographers… These pictures demand involvement.’ - Historian, William Manchester, from the foreword of In Our Time.

From the historic to the poignant, the exhibition of over 30 photos taken between 1936 and 1987, includes well-known images such as Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of a Gestapo informer at Dessau transition camp (1945), alongside Elliott Erwitt’s simple image of segregation in North Carolina (1950), Eve Arnold’s candid shots of Marilyn Monroe on the set of the Misfits (1960) and Susan Meiselas’s ‘Carnival Strippers’ (1973). These photographs were taken before the advent of the home computer, the internet, mobile phones and citizen journalism, and represents what many term as the ‘golden age’ of photojournalism. The landscape of photojournalism has since changed rapidly, and although Magnum Photos has had to adapt to these changes, it’s idealistic core remains the same. ‘In Our Time’, originally produced to mark Magnum Photos 40th anniversary, remains an influential publication, and was the first introduction to the agency’s work for many, including Magnum’s current president, Thomas Dworzak.

Magnum Photos was founded as a collective in 1947 to give photojournalists artistic freedom and control over the rights to their work. The founders, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David (Chim) Seymour, and George Rodger – a Hungarian, a Frenchman, a Pole and an Englishman - had in various ways survived the dangers of the Second World War and decided to work together for their common good. Magnum Photos changed not only the way photographers did business, but also our perception of what photography might be. 70 years later, the agency’s archives of over half a million images are a repository for masterpieces of photography from the 20th Century. To mark the contribution of the Founders of Magnum, a series prints of the photographers themselves, will be displayed alongside quotes from the book’s text to highlight the ideas and thinking behind In Our Time.

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