Magnum’s Books of 2018
A list of the must-read photobooks published by Magnum photographers this year
For many, the photobook is the perfect way to engage with a photographer’s work, be it a single project or a career-spanning retrospective. The meticulous attention that can be afforded to details of presentation, running order, print reproduction and of course the edit means that books are often 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.
Here, we share the books that Magnum photographers have released over the past year.
In 2016, Fuji Film invited Magnum Photos to collaborate on an ambitious project: a group of sixteen Magnum photographers were asked to create a body of work reflecting on one theme, in their own style. The theme that they were to explore was Home.
These sixteen short visual stories compose a remarkably beautiful and complex portrait of what home is. They encapsulate profound and conflicting human feelings: the inside and the outside, the pleasure and the pain. This project is a testament to what a thoughtful collaboration can give birth to, it exemplifies the power and quintessential role of photography in our societies: it touches us to the core. And, in the end, as some of them movingly express here: for a number of the photographers, Magnum is home.
The Home book is available at all Home exhibitions, find out more here
2018 saw another Magnum group publication realised, Magnum China, a new book exploring the depth and variety of the agency’s work there. With some of Magnum’s founders having worked in China since the 1930s, the collective’s associations with and projects in China have spanned boom years, social and political revolutions, and civil war. This tome collects decades of Magnum work chronologically to build a picture of the nation.
You can buy Magnum China here
Acephale, a collection of more than 1000 photographs made by the French photographer Antoine d’Agata was published on his own Vortex imprint. The images span geographical boundaries, but all are linked in their exploration of the world of violence – whether it’s economic, political, or social.
Acephale will be available soon, here
The tightly cropped melancholic portraits which make up Approximate Joy bring the viewer to an intimate space near the subject, where all context is removed except for the ambient artificial light cast by smartphones which illuminate their faces. These photographs are not about what people do as much as they are a comment upon the human search for connection and recognition of self – a comment upon a generation of China’s émigrés chasing their dreams.
Buy Approximate Joy here
A new collection of Bruno Barbey’s iconic photos of the civil unrest in France is available. Spanning March to May, 1968, the works captures the lives of protesters, students and workers, and immortalizes key moments of the revolt – the nights of violence and confrontation. What started as a student protest morphed, over the weeks that followed, into a widespread rebellion among wider society against the status quo, and national strikes.
Buy Mai 68 in French her
Les Pyramides Imaginaires is a hitherto underexposed window onto the outlook and work of Swiss photographer René Burri. From his native Alps, to Mexican pyramids, or the tipi in the plains of North America – it is clear that the pyramidal form was fascinating to him. His photographs are here in color or black and white, there are also collages and his drawings. The pyramid is the leitmotif which here urges us to rediscover all periods of the photographer’s work.
Bieke Depoorter has traveled to Egypt regularly since the beginning of the revolution in 2011, making intimate pictures of Egyptian families in their homes. In 2017, she revisited the country with the first draft of this book, inviting people to write comments directly onto the photographs. Contrasting views on country, religion, society, and photography arise between people who would otherwise never cross paths. The book features the handwritten notes in the original Arabic, as well as their English translations. The images that result are imbedded with intimacy. As it May be is a portrait of a time, a place and its inhabitants.
Buy the English edition of As it may be here
Buy the French and Dutch versions here
From Depardon’s first photo-report from America, at the Democratic National Convention (which was being besieged by a 10,000 strong protest against the Vietnam War) to his famed New York correspondence, travels across the American West, and his later work documenting the nation’s epic landscape, Depardon USA captures the diversity and breadth of the photographer’s work in the United States.
Buy Depardon USA here
Buy Japon Express, De Tokyo a Kyoto here
Erwitt’s vision of Scotland is one not restricted to craggy mountains, icy lochs or the other visual tropes many would be familiar with. Elliott Erwitt’s Scotland is a truer, more humorous reflection of the nation: from its chips shops and contemporary art spaces, to gamekeepers and fishermen, it combines characters and idiosyncrasies alongside great natural beauty.
Personal Best, republished in 2018 by TeNeues, represents some of Erwitt’s most famed and remarkable images. Selected by the photographer himself, they span decades, yet share his trademark, conscious bending and breaking of the rules, encapsulating his humorous disregard for the contemporary photographic standards, and reflecting Erwitt’s observant and witty eye.
Buy Elliott Erwitt’s Scotland here
Buy the republication of Personal Best here, buy a first edition here
Bruce Gilden’s work, made during a 1981 residency in the city of Syracuse, in Upstate New York, is the subject of the first of his 2018 releases: Syracuse 81. Gilden himself had forgotten about the project, until happening upon the negatives in late summer, 2018. Gilden spent his time in Syracuse shooting at the sorts of mass gatherings he had been focusing on at the time – state fairs, fetes, picnics and parties – as well as working his way into the homes of the city’s blue-collar residents.
In contrast Only God Can Judge Me represents some of Gilden’s most contemporary street photography. A new book project with its motivation seated in a painful personal past, the project looks deeply into the faces of women afflicted with unfortunate personal circumstances, such as homelessness and addiction. In the faces of these women Gilden finds reflections of his mother’s difficult past, and his own.
Buy Syracuse, 81 here
Only God Can Judge Me will be available soon
In the late 1950s, in his hometown of New York, Burt Glinn began to shadow the American subculture phenomenon known as the Beats. That work, including images both iconic and previously unseen, is the subject of the beat scene. Initiated by a handful of authors (Jack Kerouac, Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg among others) seeking to reject narrative norms, the Beats grew to encompass an anti-conformist way of being that redefined post-war American society. Key elements of the Beat ethos included the rejection of materialism, the exploration of Eastern and Western religions, spiritual self-discovery, sexual liberation and attention to the human condition. Many of these values would go on to characterize the hippie movements of the 1960s.
Buy the beat scene here
GENE captures a tender portrait of a man reflecting on his life prior to being placed in an assisted living community. He listens carefully to the world around him; sound becoming his way of documenting the days at Harvest Homes. Utilizing personal photographs kept over the years, Gene finds inner peace through his vivid and often sentimental narration. The resulting project adopts a variety of mediums and storytelling strategies between Gene, Jim Goldberg, and Nolan Calisch. This work was created during the “Postcards From America project: Portland” (2015).
Darrell and Patricia sees Goldberg gaining privileged access to the very private home of one couple, living in an apartment complex for ageing LGTBQ+ people. This portrait of a couple, and their shared space is intimate and careful, while the annotated photos from their respective early lives build over the book’s pages a fuller picture of their journeys that brought them to this moment.
Buy GENE here
Buy Darrell and Patricia here
The ‘Rivages‘, or ‘Edges’, that Gruyaert explores in this reprint of his lauded book, are those where the oceans, seas and rivers meet with human society. From the Dead Sea, to South Korea or Biarritz, Gruyaert’s photos beautifully – and at times surreally – record these liminal, yet reliably inhabited spaces, here accompanied with an essay written by the American sculptor, Richard Nonas.
Buy Rivages here
Buy Roots here
Confederate Moons is a collection of photographs by Gregory Halpern taken in America in 2017. Drawing on Magical Realism, Halpern also makes a personal reflection on the state of the United States at a specific moment in time, as he explains, “I made these photographs in North and South Carolina in 2017, in a month marked by a total eclipse of the sun. I was particularly drawn to the ways in which the drama of that celestial coincidence intersected with the moments of life that directly preceded and followed it that year. Although the idea for the book was initially inspired by the eclipse, the work ultimately became more of a meditation on the American South, on the state of the nation at this moment, and on the things that separate us and bring us together. I was fascinated by the idea that the entire nation was staring at the sun, reveling in the apocalyptic thrill of watching the moon temporarily extinguish our life-source, all together.”
Buy Confederate Moons here
Look It’s Getting Sunny Outside!!! is the second chapter in Hura’s personal project series (SWEET LIFE), and documents his own family, capturing his schizophrenic mother’s changing condition and her relationship with their family dog through a series of intimate photographs. Hura explains, “Over the years when my mother’s condition started to improve, I started to photograph at home more. Apart from my mother the focus of the photographs also included her dog Elsa, who had been her sole companion at home for many years and also the house itself, whose condition deteriorated or improved as my mother’s illness regressed or progressed. Her relationship with Elsa, which had substituted intimate human contact as simple as touch or conversation all these years, had played a big part in my mother’s improvement.”
Buy Look It’s Getting Sunny Outside!!! here
One of the late, great, photo editor Robert Delpire’s last projects was a ‘Photo Poche’ about Magnum photographer Richard Kalvar. The Photo Poche is a concept developed by Delpire to serve as an introduction to the oeuvre of a photographer. The Photo Poche “has the ambition to offer photography books that are carefully printed, manageable in their format and accessible by their price, to all those who are passionate about a means of expression whose importance is clearly recognized”, he said.
The Photo Poche is the perfect format to take an introductory tour through the work of Kalvar, who describes his approach as “more like poetry than photojournalism – it attacks on the emotional level, although poetry works through sound and photography through seeing.”
Buy Photo Poche, in French, here
Carl de Keyzer
North Korea may be the most enigmatic country in the world. With access for foreign media and tourists restricted, glimpses of life in the last communist state from an ideological, political and cultural perspective are rare and highly controlled. Nevertheless, Carl De Keyzer – over four trips in 2015 and 2017 – crossed the breadth of the country. Given almost unprecedented access, the Magnum photographer captured the orderly architecture of tourist landmarks, state monuments, social spaces, and schools, the intimacies of private homes, and the stunning natural landscapes of the country, many of which had never been captured on camera before. A new edition of this work, DPR Korea: Grand Tour, is now available.
Buy DPR Korea: Grand Tour here
Koudelka: Returning offers an intimate look at the photographer’s life and work, including all of his iconic photo series from Beginnings, to Experiments, Gypsies, Invasion 68, Exiles, and Panorama. These, alongside diary excerpts, contact prints, book and magazine collages and personal photographs offer a comprehensive insight into Koudelka’s view of the world around him. Published in both Czech and English, this publication was prepared by Josef Koudelka in collaboration with Irena Šorfová.
Buy Koudelka: Returning here
Originally published in 1963, Larrain’s first book quickly became a seminal work within Latin American photography. Published in collaboration with the influential Brazilian poet Thiago de Mello, El Rectangulo en la mano acutely conveys the photographer’s visual perspective. This book has been re-published in hardcover, and features an essay by Agnès Sire, the Director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Buy El Rectangulo en la Mano here
Andante traces Alex Majoli’s work from 1985 to 2018, in which he researches the human soul and the most obscure elements of society. The subtle line between reality and theater, documentary and art, human behavior and acting – these are precisely the frictions that amaze him, and cause him to return time and again to settings that seem to question the human condition. Even in the most tragic of moments, Majoli is capable of finding the theater, the pride and, most importantly, the resilience of the human soul.
Andante will be available soon
A Life in Pictures is a collection of over 40 years of McCurry’s work – one of the most comprehensive books on the photographer to have yet been made, covering his early work with the mujahideen in Afghanistan through to his famed work in India and Pakistan, his documentation of the Gulf War and his post 9-11 photography. This collection of 350 photographs includes his most recognizable work as well as 100 previously unpublished images, alongside reproductions of McCurry’s notes, and ephemera from decades of shooting.
Buy A Life in Pictures here
Mediations was released alongside Meiselas‘ career-spanning retrospective hosted by the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona, the Jeu de Paume in Paris, and SFMOMA in San Francisco. Meiselas’ varied and storied career has seen her working on diverse projects and in a variety of mediums and styles. As written is in the book’s introductory essay by Marta Gili and Carles Guerra, “Grasping Meiselas’ approach means abandoning preconceptions that lock photography into a documentary framework, means distancing oneself from photojournalism that decontextualized reality.”
In 2016 Meiselas was invited by Multistory to visit the Black Country in the UK. The resulting book A Room of Their Own is a multilayered story comprised of Meiselas’ photographs, first hand testimonies and original art works from women in refuge. A View of a Room, reproduces a selection of the responses that were submitted by visitors to an exhibition of the work, alongside a signed 6 x 4 inch archival print of the photograph Meiselas chose to contribute.
One of Meiselas’ earliest documentary projects, Prince Street Girls saw a chance encounter with a group of young New Yorkers feeding into a longterm relationship, which in turn became an iconic photographic project. Prince Street Girls has been republished as a hardback limited edition.
Finally, Meiselas’ iconic Porches series, made in Mississippi in 1974, has been published by PHOTOPAPER Magazine as a signed edition.
Buy Mediations here
Buy Prince Street Girls here
Buy View of a Room here
Buy Porch Portraits here
In Nearly Every Rose on the Barriers in Front of the Parliament Magnum nominee Milach’s photographs of the roses, which were placed on the barriers in front of Poland’s parliament during the July 2017 protests in Warsaw, represent the mood of these demonstrations without simply reproducing news photography. Published in leporello format, the book can be unfolded to stand like the physical wall it represents. Another offering from Milach, First March of the Gentleman, uses surreal collages to blend the history of the Września children’s strike in the early 1900s with the experience of an oppressive communist regime in 1950s Poland. The parallels drawn in both speak to a clash of freedom and pacification.
Buy Nearly Every Rose on the Barriers in Front of the Parliament here
Buy First March of the Gentleman here
With another busy year, Parr has released a trove of titles spanning projects both classic and brand new. Parr’s most recent release about the British seaside – a setting he has turned to often in his work – sees him taking up a new technical approach, that of using a telephoto lens. The result is a new and distinct aesthetic, captured in Beach Therapy.
Parr’s time at Manchester Polytechnic in the 70s, built the foundation for his most recent show in, and about, the city. The catalogue accompanying the show of the same name, Return to Manchester, compiles decades of his work there, spanning his early black and white work on the working classes to his more recent explorations of the city. Perhaps the best known of Parr’s Manchester projects was that on Prestwich Mental Hospital, made in 1972, which captures the at time grim formality of mental health, as well as touching, intimate portraits. This is available now as a separate title.
Another release for 2018, focused upon one city, is Parr’s Tbilisi. His portrait of Georgia’s capital captures the vibrancy of a new-European city, booming with trade and tourism, as well as the echoes – still visible – of its Soviet past.
Parr also shot the latest in Gucci’s occasional limited-edition publications. Taking it’s title from New Order’s track of the same name, WORLD (The Price of Love) showcases the brand’s ‘Gucci Cruise 2019 Collection’. Parr’s photos of models sporting the line, as well as his more observational shots of beach-bound sunbathers make the project typically Parr.
Parr’s wry, and at times stinging send-up of the global tourism industry, Small World, explores the damage done by tourism and the contrasts between alluring images offered to travelers and the often dreary realities on location. A third edition the classic Small World is now available.
Buy Beach Therapy here
Buy Return to Manchester here
Buy Tblisi here
Buy Prestwich Mental Hospital here
Buy WORLD (The Price of Love) here
Buy Small World here
Accompanying a huge retrospective of Pellegrin’s work at Rome’s MAXXI gallery, running from November 2018 to March 2019, this volume – edited by Germano Celant – brings together over 1000 chronologically arranged images to bring to life, and to explain, Pellegrin’s career. Delving into Pellegrin’s famed skirting of the boundaries where fine art and reportage meet, and setting the development of his work in the wider context of international affairs and his life, the title creates an amazingly in-depth catalogue of his work to date.
Buy Paolo Pellegrin here
Mark Power’s new book, the first in a series of five, explores the landscapes of the United States from the perspective of a British photographer raised on American cultural exports. Mark Power writes about his lifelong relationship with the country, which began well before he would travel there himself. “For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to explore America, an ambition fueled by a legion of TV shows that crossed the Atlantic in the 1960s.”
You can preorder Good Morning America (Volume One) here
Guy le Querrec
This carefully curated and playful selection of family photos made by le Querrec between 1970 and 2000, in Brittany, is taken from family albums and his own archive. The book seeks to re-contextualize images from the past, and in doing so to explore what they mean today. The selection of photographs offers an understanding of the artist’s construction of reality, and developing practice.
Buy Ricochets here
Both a collector’s and a regular edition of Sadhguru were released in 2018. The book compiles Rai’s photos of the famed yogi and mystic. Spanning various locations central to Sadhguru’s life the book, where Rai’s images are interspersed with Sadhguru’s quotes, offers a view of his celebrity and life.
In addition, a collection of Rai’s extensive work on the Dali Lama has been released. The book spans the early photographs made on assignment to the Dali Lama’s Tibetan headquarters during his years of exile to the more intimate photographs made over the years that followed, as the two built first a working relationship and then a friendship. The images are broken up by personal anecdotes about their time together and Rai’s reflections on his ‘godly presence’.
Buy Sadhguru here
Buy A God In Exile – The Fourteenth Dali Lama here
As a war correspondent for LIFE, Rodger photographed some of the most violent phases of World War II. In 1948 Rodger became the first authorized photographer to document indigenous people of the Nuba mountains and the Latuka and other tribes of southern Sudan, which he did with the permission of the government. Southern Sudan is released by Stanley / Barker to coincide with an exhibition of the work at David Hill Gallery, London, which opened on 2nd November.
Buy Southern Sudan here
Ferdinando Scianna‘s latest publication, Cose, conveys his unique approach to documenting the world. Scianna doesn’t only make images, he embodies varied roles – whether as an anthropologist, writer, or journalist. Acting as a sort of private diary, Cose brings together many things that try to show the meaning, the shape, the emotions which the world offers, and evoke places and sensations far away in time and space.
To accompany Scianna’s career retrospective, Viaggio Racconto Memoria, a catalogue of the exhibition is available. Viaggio Racconto Memoria represents an extensive anthology of his work, spanning his documentary work on his native Sicily, religious gatherings, travel photography, and his famous work blending the realms of reportage and fashion photography.
Buy Cose here
Buy Viaggio Racconto Memoria here
“Niagara is part of American mythology. It’s a place of romance, where people go to get married,” says Alec Soth. “But when I got there my view of the place totally changed. The American side is economically devastated. It’s bleak.” Soth’s 2006 portrait of the people and communities surrounding Niagra Falls dwelled upon post 9-11 America – as well as Canada – and while over a decade has since passed, this portrait of North America is no less revealing on the occasion of its republication.
Buy Niagara here
Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb
The long awaited second edition of Violet Isle, first published in 2009 is available. This multi-layered portrait of “the violet isle”—a little-known name for Cuba inspired by the rich color of the soil there—presents an engaging, at times unsettling document of a vibrant and vulnerable land. It combines two separate photographic visions: Alex Webb’s exploration of street life, with his attuned and complex attention to detail, and Rebecca Norris Webb’s fascination with the unique, quixotic collections of animals she discovered there, from tiny zoos and pigeon societies to hand-painted natural history displays and quirky personal menageries. The result is an insightful and intriguing blend of two different aesthetics inspired by Cuba’s existence over the last fifty years in an economic, political, cultural and ecological bubble virtually untouched by the rest of the world, and unlikely to remain that way for much longer.
Buy Violet Isle here