Luminous-Lint - for collectors and connoisseurs of fine photography
HOME  BACK>>> Subscriptions <<< | Testimonials | Login | FREE NEWSLETTER

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Magnum Founders, In Celebration of Sixty Years

Title • Introduction • First image • Lightbox • Checklist • PhV 


Magnum Founders, In Celebration of Sixty Years 

Magnum Founders, In Celebration of Sixty Years is a limited edition, hand-bound photography collection of iconic images by four visionary photographers who influenced the course of modern photographic history – Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David "Chim" Seymour. This collector’s book celebrates the 60th anniversary of Magnum Photos, a photographic co-operative founded by these four men.
Editions: 75 editions
Size: 14 x 16 inches
By Elliott Erwitt, renowned photographer and past president of Magnum Photos.
Materials and Processes:
Each portfolio contains twelve bound original platinum, estate-stamped prints, three by each artist, and one freestanding print by Robert Capa. Each photographic print is individually hand printed in platinum on Fabriano Artistico one hundred percent cotton printmaking paper by Stan Klimek.
The text is handset in Walbaum and Helvetica Neue by the Press & Letterfoundry of Michael & Winifred Bixler, and letter pressed on one hundred percent cotton Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper by Michael Russem at Kat Ran Press. Each book is hand-bound in quarter-leather by Mark Tomlinson featuring distinctive red Japanese crepe endsheets, red leather endbands and a unique cover construction of black and red laminated paper boards. The collection is encased in an English buckram clamshell and is presented in a custom-crafted walnut box. All seventy-five editions are signed in the back by current Magnum photographers.
The price for Magnum Founders is $14,500.
Magnum Founders was created for individual private photography collectors and institutions with an interest in the photographic genre. Each bound print bears the stamp of the photographer’s estate, and each book is signed by current Magnum photographers. The freestanding prints are individually numbered and estate-stamped.
A percentage of proceeds from Magnum Founders will be donated to the Magnum Photos Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides grants to photojournalists around the world working to make a difference through their photography.
Magnum Founders will be available through the publisher, Verso Limited Editions, Santa Barbara, California, 800-876-6425,,
About Magnum:
Magnum Photos is a photographic co-operative owned by its photographer-members. With powerful individual vision, Magnum photographers chronicle the world and interpret its peoples, events, issues and personalities. Through its four editorial offices in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, and a network of fifteen sub-agents, Magnum Photos provides photographs to the press, publishers, advertising, television, galleries and museums across the world.
Elizabeth Owen
Verso Limited Editions
813 Reddick Street
Santa Barbara, California 93103
805-963-0439 x239
Robert Capa
  • "The Falling Soldier," Cerro Muriano, Córdoba front, Spain; September 5, 1936.
  • The first wave of American troops landing on D-Day, Omaha Beach, Normandy coast, France; June 6, 1944.
  • Celebrating Carnival, Zürs, Austria; February 1950.
Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • The Allées du Prado, Marseilles, France; 1932.
  • Alicante, Spain; 1933.
  • Srinagar, Kashmir; 1933.
George Rodger
  • Life during the Blitz of World War II. A young boy wears his tin helmet with pride, London, England; 1940.
  • Hausa chieftains demonstrate their superb horsemanship in a "Fantasia," Chad; 1941.
  • The victor of a Korongo Nuba wrestling match Kordofan, Southern Sudan; 1949.
David "Chim" Seymour
  • An orphaned girl, Tereska, traumatized by her experiences in German concentration camps, makes a troubled attempt to draw a picture of her home, Poland; 1948.
  • Eliezer Trito shows parental pride with the "first child," Miriam Trito, born into the settlement, a daughter he had with his wife Miria, Italian settlement of Alma, Northern Galilee Israel; 1951.
  • Bernhard Berenson, American art collector of Lithuanian origin, looking at Pauline Borghese by Antonio Canova, Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy; 1955.

Robert Capa
American, b. Budapest 1913 - d. Indochina 1954
On December 3, 1938, Picture Post introduced "The Greatest War Photographer in the World: Robert Capa" with a spread of 26 photographs taken during the Spanish Civil War, at the battle of Ebro.
But the "greatest war photographer" hated war. Born Andre Friedmann to Jewish parents in Budapest, Hungary, he studied political science at the Deutsche Hochschule für Politik in Berlin. At the same time he was working part-time in the lab of the Ullstein magazine group, to which he sold his first published picture, of Leon Trotsky’s 1931 Copenhagen meeting. Driven out of the country by the imminent Nazi regime, he settled in Paris in 1933.
He participated in the founding of the agency Alliance Photo and met the journalist and photographer Gerda Taro. Together, they invented the "famous" American photographer Robert Capa and began to sell Friedmann’s prints under that name. Friedmann/Capa met many artists, including the painter Pablo Picasso and the writer Ernest Hemingway, and formed friendships with fellow photographers David "Chim" Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson and others.
Beginning in 1936, Capa’s coverage of the Spanish Civil War appeared regularly in the magazines Vu, Regards, Ce Soir, Weekly Illustrated and Life. His 1936 picture of a Loyalist soldier shot and falling to his death earned him his international reputation and became a powerful symbol of war. In Spain, Capa also shot newsreels for "March of Time," Time-Life’s film department.
After his companion Gerda Taro was killed in Spain, Capa traveled to China in 1938 and emigrated to New York a year later. From 1939 to 1945, as a correspondent in Europe for Life and Collier’s, he photographed World War II, covering the landing of American troops on Omaha Beach, the Liberation of Paris and the Battle of the Bulge.
In 1947, Capa founded Magnum Photos with Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour, George Rodger and William Vandivert. The following year he traveled to Russia with John Steinbeck, and from 1948 to 1950 to Israel with Irwin Shaw, completing the first of a number of stories for Holiday. In 1951, he became president of Magnum and initiated several group projects involving all of his colleagues.
On May 25, 1954, Robert Capa was photographing for Life in Thai-Binh, Indochina when he stepped on a land mine. The French Army awarded him the War Cross with Palm after his death. The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award was established by the Overseas Press Club in 1955 to reward photographers of exceptional professional merit.
Henri Cartier-Bresson
French, b. 1908 - d. 2004
Born in Chanteloup, Seine-et-Marne, France, Henri Cartier-Bresson developed early on a strong fascination for painting, with a particular interest in Surrealism. In 1932, after spending a year in the Ivory Coast, Cartier-Bresson discovered the Leica, his camera of choice ever since, and began a lifelong passion for photography.
In 1933, he had his first exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. His photographs were subsequently shown at the Ateneo club in Madrid, Spain. He pursued his photographic career in Eastern Europe and Mexico, and then became interested in movie-making. He was the assistant of Jean Renoir in 1936, and later directed a documentary on the hospitals of Republican Spain, Victoire de la Vie (Return to Life).
Taken prisoner of war in 1940, he escaped on his third attempt in 1943. He also worked during this period for Editions Braun, making portraits of artists such as Matisse, Rouault, Braque, Bonnard and Claudel. In 1944, he photographed the Liberation of Paris with a group of professional journalists before filming the documentary Le Retour (The Return) in 1945. Then, he spent a year in the United States putting together a "posthumous" exhibition that was initiated by curators at New York’s Museum of Modern Art who thought he had passed away during the war. The show opened in April 1947.
During his show at the MoMA, he founded Magnum Photos with Robert Capa, George Rodger, David "Chim" Seymour and William Vandivert, then spent three years travelling in the East. He was in India when Mahatma Gandhi was murdered, in Indonesia during its independence and, in 1949, in China during the last six months of the Kuomintang and the first six months of the People’s Republic of China. In 1952, he returned to Europe where he published his first book, Images à la Sauvette (The Decisive Moment) and, in 1954, was the first foreign photographer admitted into the USSR. Cartier-Bresson subsequently travelled to Cuba, Mexico, Canada, the United States and Japan among other countries. In 1968, he began to curtail his photographic activities, preferring to concentrate on drawing and painting. Cartier-Bresson was the recipient of an extraordinary number of prizes, awards and honorary doctorates. A great number of books have been dedicated to his work, which is also represented in the collections of all major institutions throughout the world.
As he explained, "For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to ‘give a meaning’ to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder.
This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression."
In 2003, he created the Fondation HCB in Paris with his wife and daughter. He passed away in Céreste, in the southeast of France on August 3, 2004, a few weeks short of his ninety-sixth birthday.
George Rodger
British, b. 1908 - d. 1995
Born in Hale, Cheshire, England, to a family of Scottish background, George Rodger initially wanted to be a writer but began using a camera to back up his travel stories. In both disciplines, his aim was to document truth and empathy in all that he saw. Finishing his studies at St. Bees College in Cumbria, Rodger served two years in the British Merchant Navy. By 1929 he had been twice around the world but had never seen London. After a spell in America during the Depression years where he held a series of non-photographic jobs, he returned to England in 1936.
On the strength of a small portfolio of self-printed landscapes and portraits, he was fortunate to find work as a photographer with the BBC, producing stories for their Listener magazine. Small, fast miniature cameras had just appeared in London, brought in by photographers fleeing a Europe threatened by war. Rodger soon changed from using the large plate glass cameras at the BBC to his first Leica, enabling him to photograph quietly on the sound stages, and, after hours, to freelance on the streets of London. His pictures were noticed by the Black Star Agency who sold them to Tatler, Sketch, Bystander, Illustrated London News and Picture Post.
Roger’s photographs of the London Blitz brought him to the attention of Life, and from 1939 to 1945, he was one of the magazine’s war correspondents. From covering De Gaulle’s entry with the Free French into North Africa, he went on to document the war front in Eritrea, Abyssinia and the Western Desert. He traveled to Iran, Burma, North Africa, Sicily and Salerno, Italy, where he met and befriended Robert Capa. Having covered the Liberation of France, Belgium and Holland, Rodger was the first photographer to enter Bergen-Belsen in April 1945. He photographed the concentration camp, and in May, the German surrender at Luneburg for Time and Life.
Traumatized by the experience of looking for "nice compositions" in front of the dead, Rodger decided he would never take another war picture. Disappointed by his post-war assignments, he eventually got himself fired by Life. In 1947 he was invited to join Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour and William Vandivert in founding Magnum Photos. His first major trip with Magnum was a 28,000-mile trans-African journey from Cape to Cairo, focusing on wildlife, tribal rituals and a way of life that exists in close relationship with nature. During this journey Rodger came across the Dinka and Nuer tribes of Southern Sudan, the Bachimbiri of Uganda and the Nuba of Kordofan. His Kordofan photographs appeared in National Geographic in 1951 and in the book Village des Noubas in 1955 with Rodger’s own text.
From the 1950s to 1980, Rodger made more than 15 expeditions to Africa. His work there included "People Are People the World Over" and "Generation Child," group projects inspired by Capa; and assignments for the Standard Oil Company and Esso in Egypt, Ethiopia and the Sahara. His travels produced color reportages on the Sahara, the Tuaregs, the Masai, big game and adventure stories, with text by his wife –the journalist Jinx Rodger.
It is the sense of the bigger picture, the complexity of the elements that contribute to every human predicament that makes Rodger’s work so richly humanitarian. Enormously successful during his lifetime, Rodger was published by all the major picture magazines from Life to Picture Post and by every British Times Sunday supplement. He had far more books made about him than he had the chance to do himself, and he exhibited in the world’s most prestigious galleries from Tokyo to New York, Switzerland to Spain, London and Paris to Sydney.
George Rodger died in Kent, England on July 24, 1995.
David "Chim" Seymour
American, b. Poland 1911 - d. Suez 1956
David Szymin was born in Warsaw, Poland to a family of printers and publishers of Yiddish books. His family moved to Russia at the outbreak of World War I, returning to Warsaw in 1919. Szymin had originally intended to enter the printing and publishing business, and with that goal in mind studied at the Leipzig Akademie der Graphischen und Buch Kuenste in 1931.
Between 1931 and 1933, he studied chemistry and physics at the Sorbonne. Then, after a downturn in the Polish economy, he was encouraged to stay on in Paris to try to support himself.
David Rappaport, a family friend, owned the pioneering picture agency Rap and loaned Szymin a camera, suggesting that he try his hand at taking pictures. One of Szymin’s first Paris stories, about night workers, was influenced by Brassai’s 1932 book Paris de Nuit, and was published in the French press.
Adopting "Chim" as his nickname, Szymin began working as a freelance photographer. From 1934, his picture stories appeared regularly in Paris-Soir and Regards, one of the first illustrated magazines. Through Maria Eisner and the new Alliance agency, Chim met Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa.
From 1936 to 1938, he photographed the Spanish Civil War as well as events in Czechoslovakia and other European countries. After the Spanish Republican government was defeated, Chim went to Mexico on assignment with a group of Spanish Republican emigrés. When World War II broke out, he moved to New York, where he adopted the name David Seymour. Both his parents were killed by the Nazi
Between 1942 and 1945, Chim served in photo reconnaissance and interpretation in the US Army, winning a medal for his work in American intelligence. In 1947, along with Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, Robert Capa and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum Photos and served as its first vice president.
By now, Chim had been absent from photojournalism for seven years and was relatively unknown in the reportage world, at least compared to Capa, Cartier-Bresson and Rodger. In 1948, though, he was commissioned by UNICEF to photograph Europe’s children in need. These pictures helped to re-establish his reputation and to define the look of post-war Europe for posterity. His best-known picture is probably that of an orphaned young girl, shell-shocked from the war, standing in front of a blackboard full of the scribbles she drew when she was asked to make a picture of her home.
In the 1950s, Chim gained prominence with his stories about Venice (Peggy Guggenheim), the Greek islands and the emergence of the new state of Israel. He photographed Hollywood stars on European film sets including Sophia Loren, Joan Collins, Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman. Other compelling portraits included Winston Churchill, Bernhard Berenson and Arturo Toscanini.
After Robert Capa’s death, Chim became the new president of Magnum. He held this post until November 10, 1956, when, traveling with French photographer Jean Roy near the Suez Canal to cover a prisoner exchange, he was killed by Egyptian machine-gun fire. 



Getting around


HOME  BACK>>> Subscriptions <<< | Testimonials | Login | FREE NEWSLETTER
 Facebook LuminousLint 
 Twitter @LuminousLint