Last Minute Gift Ideas from Magnum
From postcards to limited edition prints, we have got plenty of ideas for your gift shopping.
If you are still stuck for a thoughtful gift for someone in your life, you could do worse than browse the Magnum shop, where there’s a wide range of prints and books and special gifts ranging in prices to suit most pockets. All are drawn from Magnum’s iconic 75-year-old archive, featuring work from celebrated photographers such as Robert Capa, Eve Arnold, Susan Meiselas and Martin Parr, alongside contemporaries including Alec Soth, Cristina de Middel and Gregory Halpern.
And down below, we detail some of our own picks, from postcard sets to limited edition 8×10 in fine prints. (Just make sure to check our FAQs for full shipping cutoff information, which varies according to where you are in the world.)
For many Magnum’s photographers, a book is much more than the sum of its parts; it’s the ultimate expression of their point of view. And over the decades — from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment to Martin Parr’s The Last Resort to Sabiha Çimen’s Hafiz – they have continued to redefine the photobook.
Those below represent the photobook as a modern art form, carefully sequenced to tell a loose narrative that requires a little participation from the reader, complemented by insightful texts and subtle typography, and layouts that give room for the images to breathe. Nearly all are put out by small, independent publishers.
Some Say Ice by Alessandra Sanguinetti is a good contender for Magnum book of the year. The Washington Post calls it “breathtaking.” Vanity Fair praises its “masterful compositions.” Get a copy while you can. The Magnum shop has signed versions here.
In a “lavish new two-volume edition” (according to The New York Times), for which Susan Meiselas returns to her first major work, Carnival Strippers Revisited pairs her iconic work from the mid-1970s with a ‘making of’ edition including color images that have never been published before, along with ephemera collected from the time she developed the project. Get your signed edition here.
"Meloni constantly reminds viewers that war turns grand beauty into horrific ugliness."
“Meloni constantly reminds viewers that war turns grand beauty into horrific ugliness,” writes Musée in its review of We Don’t Say Goodbye, the Magnum photographer’s debut book bringing together a decade of work in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Although it doesn’t shy away from the realities of war in its depiction of the rise, reign, fall and immediate aftermath of the Islamic State, the book is less concerned with reporting events than their place within the bigger sweep of history. Get this important book here.
The Los Angeles Review of Books describes it as “beautiful lies.” Indeed, nothing about the The Book of Veles is as it seems. Yet while it is both playful and mischievous in its exploration of fake news, Jonas Bendiksen’s latest series is also a warning. There are still some copies of this critically acclaimed book in the Magnum shop.
"America serves less as a subject than as a vehicle to examine the photographic medium itself."
“A Pound of Pictures, takes a turn inward,” writes The Paris Review on Alec Soth’s latest photobook. “Here, America… serves less as a subject than as a vehicle to examine the photographic medium itself, and his relationship to it.” As ever, Soth’s scrutinous eye is a pleasure all in itself. Buy a signed copy here.
No one has championed the art of the photobook more than Martin Parr. And his latest draws from an unparalleled period – peak Parr – of originality in documentary photography, bringing together a year-long study of an English village (commissioned by The Telegraph) into book for for the first time. Typical of his oeuvre, it both warm in its depiction of village life and biting in its critique of laissez-faire economics. There are some signed copies of A Year in the Life of Chew Stoke in the Magnum shop.
For Students of Glamor
Robert Capa, one of Magnum’s founding photographers, is best remembered for his war reportage. But the Hungarian emigré was almost as well known for his love of the good life, hence the agency’s name, thought up as a toast while pouring out an oversized bottle of champagne. While usually associated with black-and-white photography, he was in fact an early pioneer of color, as this stunning photograph of a sunbather in Zermatt in 1950 testifies.
It’s yours as a limited edition 8 x 10 in print, archived stamped and numbered, from the Magnum Shop. (Buy it unframed to ensure it gets to you in time for Christmas.)
For Aspiring Photographers
The ultimate gift is the gift of knowledge. And for anyone interested in learning about the thought processes and practices of Magnum photographers such as Alec Soth, Matt Black or Bieke Depoorter, look no further than our Video On Demand courses. These cinematic quality online courses provide hours of learning on such topics as where ideas come from and how to sequence images. What’s more, you can get 20 per cent discount between now and December 25.
For Animal Lovers
“I’ve been drawn to photographing animals, especially farm animals, since I was a kid, and always while doing so I’d be filled with a nostalgic, wistful feeling,” says Alessandra Sanguinetti. She cites John Berger’s essay, Why Look at Animals?, to explain the root of that feeling: “With their parallel lives, animals offer man a companionship which is different from any offered by human exchange. Different because it is a companionship offered to the loneliness of man as a species.”
The human connection to the animal kingdom has been a constant source of inspiration to our photographers, resulting in some of Magnum’s most iconic images, from Elliott Erwitt’s canine classic, alternatively known as Felix, Gladys and Rover, shot in New York City in 1974, to David Seymour’s portrait of famed art collector, Peggy Guggenheim, with a dog tucked under each arm – or, indeed, Sanguinetti’s nighttime photograph of a donkey in silhouette, which has a particularly yuletide connection, of course.
- California, USA, 2021, by Alessandra Sanguinetti.
- New York, 1974, by Elliott Erwitt.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1998, by Alessandra Sanguinetti.
- Peggy Guggenheim in Venice, 1950, by David Seymour.
- Horse training for the militia, 1979, by Eve Arnold.
For People Who Like To Switch Off Over The Holidays
Does someone you know seek the missing pieces to life? Do they like cosying up and switching off from the harries and hustles of modern life as much as they appreciate fleeting moments, captured beautifully in a photograph. Then look no further than this puzzle made from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s iconic image of pre-revolutionary China shot in the Forbidden City in 1948, shortly before the country’s fall to Communist rule.
Hiroji Kubota’s 1969 photograph of three figures standing in defiant solidarity against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline is perhaps the most iconic picture of the Black Panthers. Available as a limited edition 8 x 10 print, it would make an excellent gift for anyone who champions truth and beauty.
For Water Lovers
Who wouldn’t want to live in view of a lake or river or sea? Who wouldn’t want this photograph of Lake Huron on their wall (available as a signed or unsigned poster), shot by Peter van Atgmael in 2015 while travelling on assignment with Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard? Or a signed copy of Waves, “a pandemic logbook” by creative partners Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, shot around Cape Cod during lockdown?
For Treasure Hunters
Shhhh….! This might well be the biggest bargain in the Magnum shop. A box of prints by our President, Cristina de Middel, created at home in Bahia, Brazil, and outdoors in the jungle of the Mata Atlântica. This art box, made in collaboration with Wombat, contains one numbered photographic print and one original portfolio, all in a limited edition of 500 copies.
For Sun Seekers & Truth Seekers
In Cue The Sun (above, left) Trent Parke shoots through the window of a fast-moving bus as he tours India alongside Steve Waugh. It shouldn’t work, but it does – in part because of the book’s format, presenting a continuous stream of impressionistic images (below) as a concertina.
The late, great Australian cricketer never features. (He was a keen photographer himself, and Parke had agreed to accompany him to make a book.) Instead, it conjures the dilemma of the traveler, enthralled by the exotic of the unknown, “a perfect picture place”, and therefore always a distant from it, a mere passerby.
“I have always lived with the understanding that it is key to be able to photograph in one’s own backyard,” Parke commented in a recent interview. “In the confines of the moving vehicle, the bus became my small backyard, and the universe was coming to me, flying past me at 80kms an hour.”
Similarly, Greg Halpern’s Let the Sun Beheaded Be (below) confronts his own complex role as a visual explorer through his photographs of the Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France with a complicated and violent colonial past.
How about this moody portrait of Hollywood legend, James Dean, shot by Dennis Stock in Times Square. This was no paparazzi shot; the photographer and actor worked together on a visual biography pitching Dean as a star-in-waiting. It is such an iconic collaboration, they even made a film about it.
For People Watchers
Curiosity drives the many a Magnum photographer’s wanderings, none more so than those who work on the streets, capturing everyday life as small vignettes of urban theatre. Our Street Photography Notecards celebrate that tradition, with each of the sixteen cards featuring an iconic street scene from a Magnum photographer.