MAGNUM FOUNDERS In Celebration of 60 Years
Limited Edition Platinum Prints of Iconic Images by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson,
George Rodger and David Seymour to be Published in Unique Hand-Bound Collector’s Book
Magnum Founders, In Celebration of 60 Years
Provides Collectors Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity to Own Part of Photographic History
Santa Barbara, California, June 6, 2007 – Verso Limited Editions, a publisher of handcrafted books that celebrate the work of significant photographers, announced the September 2007 publication of Magnum Founders, In Celebration of Sixty Years. Magnum Founders will include twelve bound and one free-standing rare platinum, estate-stamped prints 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.
The collector’s book celebrates the 60th anniversary of Magnum Photos, a photographic co-operative founded by these four men and owned by its photographer-members. Capa, Cartier-Bresson, Rodger and Seymour created Magnum in 1947 to reflect their independent natures as both people and photographers – the idiosyncratic mix of reporter and artist that continues to define Magnum today. The first copy of Magnum Founders will be privately unveiled on Thursday, June 21 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York – birthplace of Magnum Photos – during the “Magnum Festival,” a month-long series of events celebrating the art of documentary photography.
“Verso Limited Editions is proud to partner with Magnum Photos to recognize its founders – and in essence celebrate the art of documentary photography,” said Glen Serbin, president, Verso Limited Editions. “We are also very pleased that a portion of the book’s proceeds will go to the Magnum Photos Foundation, which will help to support Magnum’s tradition of enabling the independent vision of today’s great photojournalists.”
Seventy-five editions of Magnum Founders will be produced, each containing twelve bound, original 14 x 16 inch platinum prints, three by each photographer, as well as one freestanding platinum print by Robert Capa. The images selected for the book are some of the most important of these photographers’ careers, and each print bears the stamp of the photographer’s estate. The Cartier-Bresson prints in Magnum Founders are the only estate-stamped prints issued since his death in 2004.
Commissioned by Magnum Photos, the book was published in cooperation with the estates of the four photographers and contains a foreword by Elliott Erwitt, renowned photographer and past president of Magnum Photos.
“We commissioned Verso Limited Editions because of their commitment to creating a great photographic art book of the highest quality,” said Mark Lubell, managing director, Magnum Photos. “Magnum Founders is our first limited edition book, and an important milestone in our 60-year history.”
A percentage of proceeds from the book will be donated to the Magnum Photos Foundation. Pre-publication price for Magnum Founders is $12,500 before February 2008. Books purchased during the pre-publication period will also include an additional freestanding 14×16 inch numbered and estate-stamped platinum print by George Rodger.
Each handcrafted book presents some of the most defining images of each photographer’s oeuvre. Robert Capa earned the title “The Greatest War Photographer in the World” after his photographs of the Spanish Civil War. The book features Capa’s famous “Falling Soldier” image taken in 1936 on the Córdoba front during this conflict, as well as his World War II photograph documenting the first moments of the Americans landing on Omaha Beach.
Cartier-Bresson was fascinated with painting, and particularly interested in surrealism. The prints in Magnum Founders include his playfully subversive group portrait of Valencian entertainers taken in 1933, as well as a stunning view of Muslim women on the slopes of Hari Parbal Hill, praying toward the sun rising behind the Himalayas.
George Rodger’s pictures of the London Blitz brought him to the attention of Life magazine, and from 1939 to 1945 he was one of the magazine’s war correspondents. The book includes one of his London Blitz photographs of a young boy wearing his tin helmet with pride. The collection also features two photographs from Rodger’s work in Africa where he spent decades documenting tribal life.
Known for his compassionate treatment of his subjects, David “Chim” Seymour photographed children particularly well. Magnum Founders features a 1948 portrait of a young Polish orphan who was traumatized by her experiences in German concentration camps making a troubled attempt to draw a picture of her home.
Process and Materials
Verso Limited Editions has employed the finest traditional materials and processes in the creation of Magnum Founders. Platinum prints, which are rare due to the expense and labor intensive process, were chosen for their exceptional warmth and tonal detail. The platinum print utilizes a negative that is the size of the final image. The light-sensitive platinum solution is brushed on by hand and exposed to ultra violet light. The image becomes part of the paper itself to create a velvety matte surface. Historically many great photographers have printed with platinum, including Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Edward S. Curtis, Irving Penn and Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Platinum prints also have superior archival quality. All prints in Magnum Founders will be individually hand printed in platinum on Fabriano Artistico one hundred percent cotton printmaking paper by Stan Klimek.
The text of Magnum Founders 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. Each of the seventy-five editions will be signed in the back by current Magnum photographers.
About Magnum Photos and Magnum Photos Foundation
Magnum Photos is the world’s premiere photographic co-operative founded by the forefathers of documentary photography Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David “Chim” Seymour, and George Rodger. Since its conception in 1947, Magnum photographers have collectively taken the iconic photographs that have defined the most historical and cultural milestones of the past century. The history of Magnum and its impact on the public discourse is immeasurable. The legacy of truthful, concerned photographic story telling set forth by its founders are carried out today by the agency’s nearly 80 photographers around the globe.
In honor of its 60th Anniversary, Magnum Photos has launched the inaugural year of The Magnum Festival: Celebrating the Art of Documentary. Throughout the month of June, Magnum will host dozens of exhibits, events, panels and celebrations in some of New York’s most famed locations including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Lincoln Center, New York Public Library and The National Arts Club. The Magnum Festival will embrace the groundbreaking work done by documentarians in the worlds of photography, film and journalism. Highlights of the Magnum Festival include: Werner Herzog Film Series, “New York Genius” curated by Lou Reed, Photographers and the Moving Image at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, Exhibits by Bruce Davidson, Martin Parr, Alex Webb, Paolo Pellegrin and much more.
Additionally, during the Festival, Magnum Photos will be launching the Magnum Foundation-a 501 (c)3 organization created to provide grants to photographers who will continue to document the world with responsibility, concern, and integrity which are the cornerstones of storytelling in the Magnum style. The Magnum Foundation will also work to preserve the historic archive of Magnum Photos for student education and academic research.
About Verso Limited Editions
Verso Limited Editions draws on the traditional, handcrafted book form to celebrate the work of significant photographers. Verso projects emulate the finely printed, rare editions of the 1900s of artists like Picasso, Chagall, Dali and Matisse. Born out of reverence for great photography, Verso Limited Editions are designed for individual private photography collectors, galleries with permanent collections, and institutions with an interest in the photographic genre.
In Fall 2008, Verso will introduce its next publication, Bruce Davidson: Central Park in Platinum. One of America’s most influential documentary photographers, Davidson intuitively discovers a multiplicity of mysteries, eccentricities and characters that together reflect the vibrant and complex city of which the park is the heart and soul. The fifty-edition, signed portfolio will contain twelve original, hand-printed platinum prints and one freestanding platinum print. Each handcrafted book will be handset and letter pressed on one hundred percent cotton-rag paper, hand-bound and encased in a custom clamshell and solid walnut box.
For more information on Verso Limited Editions please visit http://www.versoeditions.com.
Press Release Contact: Amy Wentz / Ruder Finn Arts & Communications Counselors
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