Past Exhibition

Magnum in Harlem

A group exhibition brings together 13 photographers to paint a portrait of Harlem over several decades

Eli Reed Harlem street scene. Child playing in an unfed car. New York City, USA. 1987. © Eli Reed | Magnum Photos

A group show staged by MAC, provides a collective glimpse into one of New York City’s most written about, filmed and photographed neighborhoods – Harlem.

For decades, photographers, writers, poets, and musicians have been lured to Harlem for its cultural richness. The area has long been synonymous with African-American culture. In the early part of the 20th century, the neighborhood was the setting for African-American-led movements in music, literature, dance and art—collectively known as the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem also played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement and in shaping Jazz music.

Magnum photographers are no exception, and have equally been beguiled by Harlem’s vibrancy.

Raymond Depardon Festival for the police, Harlem district, 110th street, New York City. © Raymond Depardon | Magnum Photos

On show are Eve Arnold’s portraits delving behind-the-scenes of Harlem’s own fashion show in the Abyssinian Church; Cornell Capa’s photographs of dancers of Savoy Ballroom in full swing, Bruce Davidson’s portraits of young girls in their Sunday best, Eli Reed‘s gritty images of small children hanging out of a burnt-out car and Dennis Stock’s magnanimous photographs of Louis Armstrong live on stage.


Leonard Freed Harlem, New York City, USA. 1963. © Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos
Leonard Freed Harlem, NY, 1963. © Leonard Freed | Magnum Photos

With differing styles and alternative perspectives, each photographer’s images depict Harlem from a different angle. Shown collectively, the images paint a portrait of a vibrant and multifaceted community through the ages.

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Alex Webb Muhammed ALI arriving at the 369th Regiment Armory in Harlem. New York City, USA. December 9, 1974. © Alex Webb | Magnum Photos
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