Magnum Photobooks of 2019
A list of photobooks published by Magnum photographers and estates this year
For many, the photobook is the best way to engage with a photographer’s work, whether in the form of a single-project monograph, or a career-spanning retrospective. The meticulous attention that can be afforded to details of presentation, design, sequencing of images, print reproduction and of course the edit means that books can be the truest way to see a photographer’s work in the purest sense – the way they see it, and the way they want it to be seen.
Below, we share the books that Magnum photographers and estates have released over the past year. Many of the below can be explored further through articles on Magnum, linked to within each listing.
A number of the photobooks of 2019 are available, signed, on the Magnum Shop, here.
Magnum Streetwise explores the history of Magnum Photos in the realm of street photography, from the early work of the collective’s founder-members through to classic works of the genre, and more recent new projects. Edited by Stephen McLaren, Streetwise looks at the work of 30 photographers in dedicated chapters, as well as looking at the Magnum archive on New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. You can read an extract from McLaren’s introduction to Magnum Streetwise, here.
You can buy Magnum Streetwise here.
Hachette’s Magnum Photographer series
In 2017, to celebrate 70 years of Magnum Photos, publisher Hachette commenced a long-running and ongoing series of Italian-language publications looking at the work of individual Magnum member photographers. The books offer an introduction to each photographer’s practice and best-known images.
Learn more about this series and purchase the books on Hachette’s site.
Abbas – Vietnam, Forget ME Not
Vietnam, Forget ME Not, published by Delpire Editeur, draws on Abbas’ work made in Vietnam from 1972 to 1975, as well as his coverage of concurrent anti-war protests in the United States.
Abbas arrived in Vietnam in 1972, expecting the conflict there to be drawing to an end. In actuality it was only with the fall of Saigon in 1975, and the establishment of a new Communist regime in the South, that any semblance of peace came to the region.
Vietnam Forget ME Not, is unique in capturing the final years of the war from the perspective of all sides involved, with Abbas photographing within Southern and Northern Vietnam, and documenting the activities of the Vietcong in the South.
You can see more images from the work here.
You can buy the book on Delpire Editeur’s site, here.
Antoine D’Agata – Diagonale du Vide, S.T.A.S.I.S.
In early 2019 Antoine d’Agata drove 1500 kilometers through the region of France known as the diagonale du vide. Stretching across the nation – from the Belgian border in the north-east to the Pyrenees in the south-west – the disparate geographies of the area are unified by a low-density of industry, population and media coverage. The project looks at this under-represented region in the context of the nation’s ongoing gilets jaunes protests through D’Agata’s photographs, and French author Mehdi Belhaj Kacem’s text. Digonale du Vide was published by Diaphanes.
S.T.A.S.I.S. is made up of 430 pages of D’Agata’s images, many aranged in grids and matrixes, where the repeated forms and alternating colours become abstracted en masse. As Belhaj Kacem wrote of this collection of work,
“…Like Artaud, d’Agata seeks to portray, ‘the bones of the soul’s music as they lie recumbent within Pandora’s box, bones that exhale beyond their own box and blow upon the conjoined earthen boxes (…) that beckon for the soul that is still nailed through holes in both feet.'”
You can purchase S.T.A.S.I.S. on Studio Vortex‘s site.
Christopher Anderson – COP
COP, published by Stanley/Barker is the result of Christopher Anderson’s photographing police in his hometown of New York since 9/11. In the years that followed the attacks he witnessed the increasing militarization of the police and the growth of defensive architecture in the city, and was unsettled by both. Following numerous events – including high profile police shootings, and Trump’s election – Anderson started photographing the NYPD anew.
Bruno Barbey – Color of China
This Chinese-language publication of Bruno Barbey’s monograph on the country was published in April, 2019, by Beijing United Publishing Co., Ltd & Post Wave Publishing. The product of decades of work in China – designed and edited by Barbey’s wife, Caroline Theinot-Barbey – the book’s release was accompanied by 69 images from the series being acquired by The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC).
You can read an essay by the book’s editor, Jean Loh, on Magnum.
Miguel Rio Branco – Maldicidade
Maldicidade was first released in 2014 by Brazilian publisher Cosac Naify, and saw Miguel Rio Branco sequencing and pairing photographs he had made in metropolises around the world. The disparity of geographical locations in the images he included was overpowered by his cohesive vision of the baseness of the human condition exemplified in the inhabitants of cities worldwide. Maldicidade was re-issued this year in large, hardback format, by Taschen.
Henri Cartier-Bresson – Henri Cartier-Bresson en Chine 1948-1949, 1958
In 1948, Magnum co-founder Henri Cartier-Bresson traveled to China on assignment for LIFE magazine. Over what turned out to be a ten-month stay he photographed some of the most spectacular moments in the country’s history: including regime change in the capital. In 1958 Cartier-Bresson returned to China to document the myriad changes the country had undergone since his last time working there.
Henri Cartier-Bresson en Chine 1948-1949, 1958 collects many of the best-known and most important images from these two periods long with ephemera and documents: contact sheets, correspondence, and news cuttings from both American and European magazines.
Nikos Economopoulos – Fotocep 3
The latest instalment of the Turkish-language Fotocep series – which previously covered the works of Bruno Barbey and Ara Güler – explores Nikos Economopoulos‘ work around Turkey, the Balkans and the Caucasus. The photographer said of his work that, “the things that interests me most is that I am surprised by what I decide to photograph.”
You can buy Fotocep 3 here.
Stuart Franklin – Analogies
Published by Hatje Cantz, Analogies is a continuation of Stuart Franklin’s exploration of how we react to visual cues and metaphors in landscape and naturalistic forms, and how man has impacted nature over millennia. From anthropomorphic rocks, to abstracted vistas, twisted trees and the ancient landscaping of pagan religious sites – humanity’s visceral reactions to images allow us to find the familiar in images left open to interpretation.
Bruce Gilden – Facing New York, Lost and Found
Brought up in Brooklyn, Bruce Gilden made many of his early book projects in New York – including his work on Coney Island and the images included in Facing New York which was republished by Dewi Lewis this year. Originally published in 1992, the book was Gilden’s first large-scale release, and served almost as a primer on what came to be his characteristic approach to street photography: high intensity, close-quarters portraits, often illuminated by flash and capturing the assorted residents of New York, from the Fifth Avenue city workers to vacationing families and a cast of varied and intriguing characters. Read about the work, here.
Lost and Found, is – as the title suggests – the result of a happy accident: the rediscovery of some 2000-odd rolls from Gilden’s early days photographing New York City. The images, made between 1978-1984, had been relegated to filing cabinets by Gilden at the time and are almost all made without the use of flash which was – soon after – to become his trademark. In an article on Magnum Gilden says of the book, “It’s Bruce Gilden, before he really became the known Bruce Gilden.”
Harry Gruyaert – Last Call
Last Call brings together Harry Gruyaert’s images made in airports around the world. One might consider airports – those liminal spaces full of frustration, queues, and heavily scented duty-free retail opportunities – unlikely subject matter, but for Gruyaert they offer endless fascination. They are, he writes, spaces “with a host of players gliding through as though they’re on a stage.”
Gregory Halpern – Omaha Sketchbook
Over fifteen years, Gregory Halpern has been photographing in Omaha, Nebraska. This release by MACK takes the form of the construction paper sketchbooks Halpern kept during those shooting visits. The work is Halpern’s reaction to time spent in the American Heartland, specifically his vision of contemporary masculinity in it. As MACK put it, “Omaha Sketchbook is ultimately a meditation on America, on the men and boys who inhabit it, and on the mechanics of aggression, inadequacy, and power.”
You can read Matthew Leifheit’s essay on the work, on Magnum.
Signed copies of Omaha Sketchbook are available on the Magnum Shop.
Sohrab Hura – The Coast
The Coast won the 2019 Photobook of the Year award at Paris Photo and is the latest iteration of Sohrab Hura’s long-term project The Lost Head and the Bird, which explores the undercurrents of religious, sexual, and caste violence in contemporary India, through photos taken along the country’s coastline. The Coast sees the photographer focus upon sequencing his own images and his gradually morphing text to convey these undercurrents. Hura blurs the lines between truth and fact – creating a book which he feels “some might imagine to be a fable-like tale, while others might recognize in it, reality.” You can read an interview with Hura about the work, on Magnum, here.
Signed copies of the The Coast are available on the Magnum Shop.
Josef Koudelka – Gypsies
One of the seminal photoessays of the 20th century, Josef Koudelka’s Gypsies offers an unparalleled insight into the everyday lives of Europe’s Roma communities in the late 60s. Carrying only his camera equipment, a rucksack and sleeping bag, Koudelka moved freely between different villages and encampments, sleeping outside and spending his days immersed in recording the individuals he encountered. Akin to the communities he was photographing, Koudelka’s life during this period was characterized by displacement and alienation.
Alex Majoli – Scene
For Alex Majoli, the line between reality and fiction has always appeared blurry. He has never seen himself as simply an observer of human life, but as an active participant in his own subjective documentation of it – both in his work as a photojournalist and in his myriad personal projects.
He is driven by the belief that “in any given situation, each person plays a given role in society.” It is this concept that underpins Scene: a series of images taken over eight years, across continents, depicting political ideologies, humanitarian emergencies, and some quieter moments of everyday life, all bound together by an intense visual drama and striking use of light.
Read about Majoli’s approach to the project here, on Magnum.
Singed copies of Scene are available on the Magnum Shop.
Steve McCurry – Animals
In this book, published by Taschen, Steve McCurry selects his favourite images of animals, made throughout his career. The book dwells not only upon animals in and of themselves, but looks at the way in which humans interact with them, examining the complex relationships we forge with members of the animal world.
You can buy copies of Animals here.
Inge Morath – Inge Morath. Her Life. Her Photography
Following on from a 2019 retrospective exhibition of Inge Morath’s work in Treviso, Italy, this title offers a survey of the Austrian-born photographer’s career. More than 150 images spanning her key projects and focal areas of exploration are accompanied by two essays by the photographer – one, previously unpublished on Venice, and the other, her well-known piece titled ‘Meeting Magnum’. The book also includes an interview-based biography of Morath by Kurt Kaindl.
You can purchase the book here.
Martin Parr – Only Human, Martin Parr in Wales, Death by Selfie, and Early Work
Published to coincide with Martin Parr‘s blockbuster 2019 exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery – Only Human offers the photographer’s view on what it means to be alive at a time of both change and retrospection. Blending images of ‘ordinary’ people, celebrities, and artists – the work offers a broad view of Parr’s photography. You can read a text on Only Human by The National Portrait Gallery’s head of photograohy, Philip Prodger, on Magnum, here.
As part of its 2019 photography season, the National Museum Wales is exhibiting a selection of Parr’s images made in Wales over the last four and a half decades. The exhibition in Cardiff will show many works never previously exhibited. The accompanying book, Martin Parr in Wales, is published by the museum.
Death by Selfie sees Parr turns his lens on perhaps the defining tourist activity of the last decade. His series of candid – and at times bizarre – photographs of holidaymakers around the world, captures the ritual of self-shot smartphone portrait in all its earnest absurdity. You can read an interview with Parr on the work here.
Perhaps best-known today for his vibrant, color work, Parr spent the late years of his education and early years of his photographic career documenting fast disappearing aspects of life in the British Isles in monochrome. Institutions as disparate as the Church of England, Butlins holiday camps and soon-to-be shuttered mental homes offered the photographer settings in which to hone his approach and define his areas of visual interest. These images of the urban working class and isolated rural communities are collected in a new photobook, Early Works, alongside some images from his early photographic travels abroad. Read Val Williams’ essay on the work, here.
Buy signed copies of Only Human here, on Magnum.
Buy Martin Parr in Wales, Death by Selfie, and Early Work via the Martin Parr Foundation.
Paolo Pellegrin – Paolo Pellegrin
Following a career-spanning retrospective of Paolo Pellegrin‘s work, Un’Antologica, at Rome’s Maxxi gallery, curated by Germano Celant, publisher Silvana Editoriale released this publication including more than 1000 of Pellegrin’s photographs. Spanning reportage and conflict work, as well as celebrity portratiure Paolo Pellegrin draws upon Celant’s great familiarity with the photographer’s archive.
You can read an essay by Hillary Roberts, of the Imperial War Museum, on the exhibition of this work at Rome’s Maxxi gallery, here.
You can purchase the book here.
Mark Power – Good Morning America (Volume Two)
Good Morning America (Volume Two) – is the second volume in Mark Power’s ongoing five-book study of contemporary America through it’s myriad landscapes. Power began to travel and photograph the United States as part of the Magnum project, Postcards from America, in which a group of photographers working collaboratively found innovative ways of disseminating their work. “I began – although I may not have realized it at the time – to search for the America which lived in my imagination,” says Power, “the one generated during childhood, the one that had probably never existed at all.”
You can read an essay by Gregory Harris of Atlanta’s High Museum on Good Morning America (Volume Two), here.
Alec Soth – I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating
In his latest book, Alec Soth returned to his photographic roots: seeking out intimacy with his subjects above all else, and enjoying the process of being with and photographing another person, without the constraints of a more complex theme. As Colin Pantal wrote, “It’s a return to photographing people, but without the grand narratives of Sleeping by the Mississippi or Niagara. Instead of some overarching thread, Soth has made images where the people he photographs blend into interiors, where eyes glance, hands reach, where there’s intimacy, awkwardness and a quiet presence that is not overwhelmed by the photograph becoming a monument.”
You can read Pantal’s interview with Soth on his photographic approach to this project, here.
You can buy I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating, here.
Chris Steele-Perkins – The New Londoners
Originating as an exploration of individuals who have fled places of conflict, to rebuild their lives in the UK, Chris Steele-Perkins‘s The New Londoners project has – over time – expanded to look more broadly at families of diverse origins who have settled in the city. The book documents 164 families, collectively hailing from 187 countries around the world, all of whom have made London their home.
Talking about the project Steele-Perkins reflected, “I think it’s kind of pathetic sometimes, hearing this notion of ‘British values’ and things like that, as if we’ve had some kind of static system, which is unchanged and suddenly it’s been threatened by people coming in. The whole history of this Island has been people coming here due to wars, colonial movements, European movements and so on; what we’ve got now is a product of a process of continuous evolution, which will continue.”
You can buy The New Londoners here.
Dennis Stock – California Trip
Dennis Stock’s 1970 photobook, California Trip, has been reissued by Anthology Editions. The work saw Stock travelling through the Golden State at the apex of it’s countercultural heyday, making images of it’s famed highways, weirder residents, activists, dropouts, Satanists and surfers. The photographer summed it up in an accompanying text: “Surrealism was everywhere, the juxtapositions of relative levels of reality projected chaos.”
Read more about the work, in Stock’s own words, here.
You can purchase the reissue here.
Alex Webb – Brooklyn: The City Within
Having collaborated on numerous photographic works over the years, notably the book projects Violet Isle and Slant Rhymes, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb have most recently turned their attention to Brooklyn, their home of over 20 years. Their distinct interests and working processes have resulted in, Brooklyn: The City Within, a book which Webb describes as “a musical piece in three movements, distinguished by different rhythms” – with his photographing the famously diverse neighbourhoods and inhabitants of the borough, while Norris Webb dwelt upon the “green spaces at the heart of Brooklyn,” pairing short texts with her images. The book’s design echoes this dichotomy, resulting in a physical object which neatly emphasises the variety of the place.
Read an interview with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb about the book here.