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Magnum Contact Sheets

November 9th  to January 27 2012

Produced in conjunction with the publication Magnum Contact Sheets (Thames & Hudson, Nov 2011) the Magnum Print Room is delighted to present a complementary exhibition featuring early and original contact sheets by Magnum photographers.

A landmark new book, Magnum Contact Sheets presents an unparalleled wealth of unpublished material, revealing the story behind many iconic and historical images of modern times taken by the world’s most celebrated photographers. The book shows their creative process and also acts, in the words of Martin Parr, as an ‘epitaph to the contact sheet’ as it marks the end of the analog era as we move to a digital generation.

Often compared to an artist’s sketchbook, the contact sheet, a direct print of a roll or sequence of negatives, is the photographer’s first look at what he or she captured on film, and provides a uniquely intimate glimpse into their working process. It gives a behind-the-scenes sense of walking alongside the photographer and seeing through their eyes.

The images featured in the book – both celebrated icons of photography and lesser-known surprises – encompass over seventy years of history: from the D-Day Normandy landings by Robert Capa, the 1968 Paris riots by Bruno Barbey and war in Chechnya by Thomas Dworzak, to René Burri’s filmic sequence of close-ups of Che Guevara, classic New Yorkers by Bruce Gilden, and Eve Arnold’s iconic portrait of the charismatic and image-savvy Malcolm X. Further insight into each contact sheet is provided by texts written by the photographers themselves or by experts chosen by members’ estates.

Magnum Contact Sheets includes 139 contact sheets together with the accompanying final image, representing 69 photographers, as well as zoom-in details, selected photographs, press cards, notebooks, annotations and spreads from important publications, including Life magazine and Picture Post.

The accompanying exhibition features over 30 intriguing contact sheets. Some are displayed alongside their final images, such as Thomas Hoepker’s vintage contact sheet featuring Muhammed Ali jumping and Susan Meiselas' powerful Carnival Strippers. As well as classic Magnum material the exhibition features a variety of diverse contemporary photographers, such as the large format contact sheets of Alec Soth & Stuart Franklin and medium format contact sheets by Mark Power.

This unequalled book and exhibition provides a unique insight into the inner workings and though processes of some of the world’s greatest photographers.

A special edition book consisting of a clothbound copy of Magnum Contact Sheets placed in a presentation case is available. It contains an individual 16 x 12” contact sheet selected from a series of 10, with each contact sheet printed in editions of 50. Each contact sheet is numbered, embossed with ‘Magnum Photos Collection’ on the white border, and hand-stamped with the photographer’s copyright on the verso. All contact sheets have been produced at Magnum’s own print room as archival Giclée prints and to Magnum’s exacting standards.

For further details visit agency.magnumphotos.com/Magnum-Contact-Sheets

Magnum Contact Sheets: The Symposium (26th November) is a one day event which will discuss the issues and topics raised by Kristen Lubben’s book foreword. The symposium is hosted by the Photography Department at London College of Communication and features high profile speakers such as Simon Baker (Photography Curator, Tate), Martin Barnes (Senior Curator, Photographs, V&A), David Campany (writer, artist and critic), Francis Hodgson (writer and critic) and Colin Jacobson (author and former picture editor).

Tickets available from: www.magnumcontactsheets.eventbrite.com

Magnum Contact Sheets, published 7th November, is edited by Kristen Lubben, Associate Curator of the International Center of Photography, New York. Among her previous books are Susan Meiselas: In History and Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon, both published by Steidl.

Magnum Photography
63 Gee Street
London EC1V 3RS