Posted 20 hours ago

Magnum Contact Sheets

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I'm an amateur photographer who likes making images with pinhole cameras, smartphones and everything in between. Personally I'm fairly diligent with storage and back-up of digital files (touch wood) and still have many pictures from my college days, 15 years ago. Thus, contact sheets can provide a “sense of walking alongside the photographer and seeing through their eyes”, a “uniquely intimate glimpse into their working process” (p9). I think contact sheets allow the viewer to get more inside the head of the photographer and they provide so much more context to a moment.

contact sheets, representing 69 photographers, are featured, as well as zoom-in details, selected photographs, press cards, notebooks and spreads from contemporary publications, including Life magazine and Picture Post. Getting to handle and see amazing work up close and personal as well as being given the opportunity to look through the viewfinder after he composed a shot. I also think that there is a clear distinction between photojournalism (which the majority of the examples in this book are) and personal images. I’m going to jump forward to 1964 and an entry by David Hurn in which he was photographing the Beatles. Magnum Contact Sheets reveals the unseen pictures that led to the creation of some of the most iconic and historic images of the modern world, taken by photography's top names.But just in case, Magnum Photos, founded in Paris in 1947, is one of the world’s most famous photo agencies. In the foreground, a boy reclines on a hammock, idly contemplating the scene, just as we contemplate the scene with him.

This is a fascinating book, but overall the photographs selected for discussion create a dismal view of humanity. I think photographers should behave like him,” says Riboud, “he was free and carried little equipment” (p74). When you consider that the majority of this book is full pages of contact sheets or enlargements of individual images then it really isn’t so scary. Two shots just of him and his shadow, but then she recomposes to include the figures in the background. High above Paris, Marc Riboud’s Eiffel Tower Painter (1953) dances with his paintbrush – hat tilted at a jaunty angle, a cigarette dangling from his lips.

And conversely some of my father's negatives and transparencies from the 1970s-80s have deteriorated over time (though others, as you say, almost look new). I'm still not certain, though, whether it's an argument in favour of motor drives and taking more frames, or the opposite. Gives a sense of how closely skill and seat-of-pants intertwine, even for the greatest photographers. We hope you enjoyed this review; if you’re interested in reading about photography, you’re welcome to join our Facebook group, Photography Books and Theory.

I assumed he drew them with his contacts sheets as reference, but that’s not the case: “I sketch as soon as possible after taking a shot, usually at the scene itself. And at the end, I add my own less organised musings, somewhat mimicking my more random, lucky-dip style of interacting with the book. contact sheets, representing 69 photographers, are featured, as well as zoom-in details, selected photographs, press cards, notebooks and spreads from contemporary publications, including Life magazine and Picture Post. I also remember that I didn’t want to intrude too much, but at the same time I felt this obligation to shoot, to document. In this way, my ‘channel-surfing’ approach finds unexpected and unintended connections and contradictions.The contact sheets are mostly from black and white negatives like the one shown below, but we also get some colour negatives (like Jonas Bendiksen’s magic-realist Satellites) and transparencies (like Stuart Franklin’s iconic images of Tiananmen Square).

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