Square Print Sale

Square Print Sale Stories: It Is Decidedly So

Fable, a Magnum Square Print Sale organized in partnership with Granta magazine, celebrates the art of storytelling through word and image.

Comitan, Mexico, 2007. © Alex Webb / Magnum Photos. Each image is available online as a limited-edition 6 x 6" print for one week only as part of the Magnum and Granta Square Print Sale, Fable.

For more than 75 years, Magnum photographers have worked closely with writers to craft compelling narratives — intimate and grand alike. Titled “Fable,” this spring’s Magnum Square Print Sale marks the first time in the sale’s history that the cooperative is partnering with an esteemed literary magazine. Together with Granta, “Fable” explores the symbiosis of visual and written narratives.

During the online sale, running from April 29 to May 5, there will be 85 images available to purchase as limited-edition 6 x 6” prints. A selection of the images will be shown at events in Paris, London and New York, providing a rare opportunity to purchase Square Prints in person during the week of the sale and attend live signings.

In its 10-year history, the Square Print Sale has featured over 1600 images and 24 themes. With “Fable,” Magnum and Granta champion the lasting impact of stories and their tellers. Fables are foundational stories about human nature. Illustrating timeless truths about virtue and vice, they turn on the moral dilemmas that people face and teach universal lessons that are accessible and memorable through a combination of words and images.

Granta has commissioned three writers, Sara Baume, Victoria Adukwei Bulley and Derek Owusu, to muse on the work of 85 Magnum photographers, weaving stories inspired by a bespoke selection of images.

Sea, the cat. From the project Arrivals and Departures. Beijing, China, 2012. © Jacob Aue Sobol / Magnum Photos
Woman walking on Fifth Avenue. New York City, USA, 1992. © Bruce Gilden / Magnum Photos

Sara Baume is the author of three novels, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, A Line Made by Walking, and Seven Steeples, and one book of nonfiction, handiwork. In 2023, her name was included on Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists list, which identifies the 20 most significant British novelists under age 40. She lives and works on the south coast of Ireland.

For It Is Decidedly So, Baume assembled a series of 21 reflections to accompany a series of 28 photographs. The short pieces form a mosaic, tracing a loose outline through snapshots of memories, experiences and dreams.

Here, we explore the images that inspired Baume’s reflections, as well as some excerpts from her piece.

British filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, during the filming of The Birds. USA, 1962. © Philippe Halsman / Magnum Photos
Crow. Beaufort West, Western Cape, South Africa, 2006. © Mikhael Subotzky / Magnum Photos
Shadow of the photographer and his dog on the front porch of the farmhouse. Lambton County, Ontario, Canada, 1996. © Larry Towell / Magnum Photos
After a birthday party. Brownsville, Texas, USA, 2015. © Matt Black / Magnum Photos
Oksana’s Apple, from the series Internat. Ukraine, 2014. © Carolyn Drake / Magnum Photos

“I can tell the crow is cawing from the way she holds her beak and body, by the tension running down her grey back. She moves as if she is throwing the sound of herself out of the tip of her beak, giving the call a flying start.”

— Sara Baume

Asya plays with pet birds in her friend Hodja's room at a Qur’an school. Rize, Turkey, 2018. © Sabiha Çimen / Magnum Photos
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. New York City, USA, 1948. © Wayne Miller / Magnum Photos
Fawn. Hayward, Wisconsin, USA, 2022. © Alessandra Sanguinetti / Magnum Photos

“I wear my binoculars, a dead weight against my breastbone, a tug at the back of my neck. I raise them to search for the seabird, a fulmar, that I thought I saw, but I struggle to grasp the abrupt shift of distance, the jumped kilometres, to recognise a patch of clouded sky.”

— Sara Baume

At horse races. Ralph B. Strasburger, with his wife and his secretary. Deauville, France, August 1951. Robert Capa © International Center of Photography / Magnum Photos
Church courtyard. Beit Sahour village near Bethlehem, West Bank, 1989. © Micha Bar-Am / Magnum Photos
Bob Dylan in his living room, Byrdcliffe home. Woodstock, New York, USA, 1968. © Elliott Landy / Magnum Photos
The Palais des Congrès, Paris, France, March 9, 1979. © Guy Le Querrec / Magnum Photos

“The last time he saw his son he had tried to give him money, throwing a wad of notes through the open passenger window of the van as it began to move away, the wheels already turning, the wad unspooling and scattering across the grey upholstery and down to the rubber mats and biscuit wrappers and banana skins.”

— Sara Baume

A Focus Toward Enhanced Darkness. Cinematographer Charles Mills takes a light reading on the set of John Singleton’s film Baby Boy. Los Angeles, California, USA, 2000. © Eli Reed / Magnum Photos
A driver pointing from a car window. New York, USA, 1962. © Ernst Haas / Magnum Photos
Cow from the project “The Blue Salt." Naxos, Greece, 2023. © Enri Canaj / Magnum Photos
Dead cows lying on a cliff. From the book Satellites. Altai Territory, Russia, 2000. © Jonas Bendiksen / Magnum Photos
Kindergarten Playtime in a Girl’s School. Gangtok, Sikkim, 1960. © Marilyn Silverstone / Magnum Photos
Ants eating a lollipop. Tunisia, 2022. © Zied Ben Romdhane / Magnum Photos
Yokohama, Japan, 2003. © Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos
“Untitled," from the project A. USA, 2008–2011. © Gregory Halpern / Magnum Photos
James Dean and Natalie Wood, during the filming of Rebel Without a Cause. California, USA, 1955. © Dennis Stock / Magnum Photos
Upper West Side, New York City, USA, January 1968. © Paul Fusco / Magnum Photos

“For several seconds I fight against the force of seawater dragging against me, the little stones beating my skin, the slapping kelp. Afterwards I sit in the passenger seat of the van wrapped in my beach towel and think how, minutes earlier, I almost died, and yet everything is exactly the same; the same view blurring past the passenger window, the same smell of wet dog, the same satsuma peel in the pocket of the dashboard, the same shoes at the ends of my lacerated ankles, the same rain.”

— Sara Baume

Miami Beach, Florida, USA, 2001. © Constantine Manos / Magnum Photos
Petra, Jordan, November 7, 2023. © Moises Saman / Magnum Photos
Pandora’s Box, Client Lounge, New York City, USA, 1995. © Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos

Read the full story, It Is Decidedly So by Sara Baume, here

See an image that you like? 
The sale, featuring 85 signed or estate-stamped Square Prints from the Magnum archive, runs on the Magnum Online Store from Monday, April 29 through Sunday, May 5, 2024. 

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