Magnum Photobooks

26 November 2016

SIG: Contemporary

Magnum past-president Susan Meiselas has said that Magnum needs a new description now that much of the members work is more personal and long term. With Martin Parr's photographs of food, Alec Soth's wanderings along the Mississippi and Olivia Arthur's fictive story Stranger, it is obvious that Magnum outputs now represent a major strand of contemporary photography, alongside that of the fine art photographer. In 2013 Magnum held an exhibition of a large number of their member's photobooks at their London office. Now they have put together a complete catalogue (the catalogue raisonné). Published by Phaidon, it presents an illustrated bibliography of over 1300 photobooks. One of the earliest was The Decisive Moment, founder member Henri Cartier-Bresson's well-known publication. The catalogue ends with Stranger, by recent member Olivia Arthur and two books based on the Arab Spring and conflict in Libya: Discordia, self-published by Moises Saman and Libyan Sugar by Michael C Brown.

The catalogue has a main section dealing with a chosen example photobook and text of 1-2 pages about each Magnum member’s publication and a final section listing past and present members, giving their biographies and showing the covers of all their individual published photobooks.

Magnum Photobook Catalogue Raisonne, by Richin & Naggar

Stranger, by Olivia Arthur

Discordia, by Moises Saman


Cover image: Magnum photobooks at Magnum workshop June 2013

All images by Brian Steptoe FRPS