Magnum Contact Sheets shows the magic surrounding the all-encompassing 'decisive moment’ and how iconic images come to exist. This exhibition offers insight into the working methods of the world’s most famed journalistic photographers, by looking at their original contact sheets.
© Rene Burri
© Rene Burri
The exhibition consists of 60 contact sheets and associated single images and offers a chronological overview of outstanding historical moments from the 1930s to 2010. Work can be seen by renowned photographers such as Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David ‘Chim’ Seymour, Werner Bischof, George Rodger, Elliott Erwitt, Martin Parr, Jim Goldberg, Trent Parke, Paolo Pellegrin and Alec Soth. In Contact Sheets, the legendary agency Magnum Photos (established in 1947) shows for the first time the circumstances in which images by these photographers were created. Not only the moments before and after taking that one iconic photo are on show, but also the photographer’s notes, marking that decisive moment on the sheet, often long after the photo was shot.
The presentation in Foam offers insight into the socio-political context of the photos and the general history of photojournalism as well as the origin of the photos. Subjects range from reportages of WOII, Prague Spring, icons such as Che Guevara, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King to the Balkan Wars and conflict in the Middle East. In addition to many original contact sheets and vintage prints, part of the exhibition is comprised of documentation, in order to understand the context in which the chosen image ultimately was used. Starting in the 1990s, large-format images have been used more and more often for presentations other than in newspapers and magazines. Since then, documentary work has gained more artistic status, a turning point for the appreciation of journalistic photography.