Magnum Photographers Explore Home

Sixteen Magnum photographers reflect on what 'home' means to them

Magnum Photographers

Trent Parke To Trent Parke, home meant the city he lives in, at a very specific time of day. With this striking series of painting-like photographs, he pays tribute to the Australian painter Jeffrey Smart and (...)

What is “home”? Instinctively, the image of a peaceful haven comes to mind. A cocoon where one feels secure, loved, and understood — a nurturing and forgiving space. Home is sweet, “home is where the heart is.” Home is family. It is a mother tongue—or multiple languages; it is comfort food and familiar faces, a beloved pet. “Home” is one’s quotidian life, and domesticity: the coziness of one’s living room, sofa, TV, books and memorabilia. “Home” is a set of coordinates: a house, a street, a town, a state, a country, an apartment in the city, a cottage by the sea. Home is where we were made. To some, it doesn’t exist in the physical world any longer: it is a memory. Home is within oneself.

Elliott Erwitt Elliott Erwitt documented both his Manhattan and Long Island homes. His delightful, witty series include still-lives of humor-filled memorabilia; portraits of his grand-children; self-portraits, in (...)
Olivia Arthur Olivia Arthur was expecting her second daughter when she was invited to take part in this project. Her series of intimate black and white portraits, a delicate and timeless family album, offers a b (...)

In 2017, sixteen Magnum photographers were invited by Fujifilm to reflect on this universal theme, in their own style and sensibility, with the same camera. “Home,” universally known in English, was chosen precisely for its global nature, and for the inherently human sentiment that it conveys. The medium format, mirrorless camera to be used would allow for the discreet, sensitive, and intimate treatment the subject required.

Gueorgui Pinkhassov The photographer's home. “My parents lived here. Our relatives came to visit. And our neighbors. This is a place of my childhood and my youth …This is my home. The crossroads of my memory.” Using l (...)
Chien-Chi Chang Chien-Chi Chang returned to New York’s Chinatown, where he lived for many years and still considers home. He photographed the streets, the buildings, and mostly, the people of Chinatown, as a form (...)
Alex Majoli For Alex Majoli, “home” was a surprisingly difficult theme to explore. Because there have been more than a few places that he called home, and, perhaps more importantly, because he is used to focus (...)

This project provided photographers with an ideal pretext to explore a place they held dear, a familial landscape; it was an invitation to look both inward and outward. To some, “home” was the place in which they lived; to others, it was a welcome and peaceful return to their childhood memories. Some chose a distanced visual approach: photographing the geographical space of their home from above or from afar, through majestic landscapes, magical lights, walking through their streets in a Rousseau-like spiritual journey, or embarking on a deeply existential road trip. Others chose to focus on their family, past and future generations, taking this opportunity to draw a portrait of their babies as they were being born, of their aging parents, or their teenage children about to leave the nest.

These stories compose a beautiful tribute to family bonds, with all the joy, complexity and intricacies that they carry. In their elemental and peaceful way, they also offer a contemporary take on the historic exhibition “The Family of Man,” which presented a humanist vision of the world after the trauma of World War II. Their photographs show us how dramatically the world has evolved since 1955, and, with it, the notions of family, home, motherhood and fatherhood.

Alex Webb For this project, Alex Webb chose to photograph the beaches of his beloved Wellfleet, in Cape Cod, where he spent his summers as a child and as a teenager. His series of beautifully contemplative, (...)
David Alan Harvey After watching the solar eclipse atop Jockey's Ridge State Park. David Alan Harvey chose to spend time in Northern Carolina, his happy place, where he now lives — close to where he grew up. “I sl (...)
Thomas Dworzak Thomas Dworzak’s father walks the fields above the village where his family had a farm until 1946. “Growing up in a small Bavarian town near the Iron Curtain called Cham, as the son of a father who (...)

"Many chose photography precisely because they needed to venture away from a home in which they felt they didn’t quite belong."

- Pauline Vermare, Curator, Magnum Photos
Mark Power Mark Power was invited to take part in this project as his beloved daughter Chilli was leaving their home in Brighton to go study in London. “Any parent who has been through this traumatic event wi (...)

Home — an inherently intimate and introspective subject matter — was also a formidable challenge to take on: for the past seventy years, Magnum photographers have predominantly been looking into the lives of others — and seldom into their own. While the camera is the perfect diaristic tool and the ideal medium to document intimacy, one’s own or that of others, Magnum members’ primary mission was always to be a mirror for their society. Street photographers, war photographers, most of them instinctively turned their camera to the Other — more often than not the Dispossessed, the Displaced, the Homeless. Many chose photography precisely because they needed to venture away from a home in which they felt they didn’t quite belong: resilience meant rejecting it, traveling to other places, meeting other people — using the camera to escape.

Antoine d’Agata For Antoine d’Agata, going home was a “journey into the heart of darkness.” Walking from Les-Saintes-Maries to Marseille, he went through a physical and emotional ordeal revisiting his devout child (...)

"For Magnum photographers, Magnum is home."

- Pauline Vermare, Curator, Magnum Photos
Alessandra Sanguinetti For this project, Alessandra Sanguinetti chose to focus on one of her two homes: Buenos Aires, where she grew up and where her aging parents still live. “The work isn’t a reflection of my childhood (...)

For some, the difficulty of this project was rooted in a lingering feeling of dislocation: the fact of having more than one “home,” and the yearning to document them all. Others chose not to settle in any one particular place, and had to search for their own definition of the word. To a few, the return to childhood was indeed an emotional endeavor, and “home” was therefore a surprisingly difficult subject to document; but for all, exploring the notion of “home” in such a personal way was a welcome challenge: an invitation to self-exploration, which resulted in a deeply thoughtful journey. Indeed, for these uprooted, avid travelers, accustomed to exile and a permanent state of in-betweenness, this project constituted a form of therapy: “I should be able to know where I come from.” (Moises Saman).

Moises Saman “I should know where I come from.” For this project, Moises Saman chose to go back to the place he was born but did not know: Peru. The road trip that ensued was as physical as it was emotional. Hi (...)

" I should be able to know where I come from."

- Moises Saman
Alec Soth To best portray “home,” Alec Soth took on walking eight miles to work: “This project was a chance to slow down and look at the everyday delights that I normally drive right by.” His series translat (...)
Jonas Bendiksen Jonas Bendiksen chronicled the life of his family in Norway as they were expecting — and later welcoming — their second child. His photographs offer a father’s insight into this turning point in t (...)

Together, these sixteen visual short stories compose a remarkably beautiful, poetic and complex portrait of what “home” is, and of what it can be. They encapsulate these profound and conflicting human feelings all at once: the inside and the outside, the pleasure and the pain. This project, envisioned in Tokyo, London and New York, takes us to over ten countries, and will travel extensively throughout the world after it premieres in New York. It is a testament to what a thoughtful collaboration can give birth to. In and of itself, through the wealth of diversity, talent and depth of Magnum, it exemplifies the power and quintessential role of photography in our societies: it touches us to the core.

And, in the end, as many movingly express here: for Magnum photographers, Magnum is home.

— Pauline Vermare, Curator, Magnum Photos

Hiroji Kubota Hiroji Kubota wanted to capture the beauty of his home –Japan. He photographed some of the country’s thousands of islands from above, focusing on symbolic places like the atomic bomb dome of Hirosh (...)
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