Since its inception, Magnum Photos has always had a special relationship with the world of cinema and its protagonists. Robert Capa and the various forays into Hollywood; Cartier-Bresson and the documentaries on the war in Spain; Elliott Erwitt and the years he spent as a child alongside his Columbia studies; Dennis Stock and his partnership with James Dean…. A long history of sharing, travel and adventures of the gaze now presented together in the evocative setting of the Castle of Santa Severa.

Magnum on Set offers 120 photographs that testify to a series of meetings, among the most memorable ones, which marked the friendship between the world of cinema and that of photography. On display the portraits, the backstages of the great Hollywood films, the “behind the scenes” of the film sets with extraordinary images of characters are distributed in sections dedicated to the different films. There’s Charlie Chaplin directing Variety Lights (photographed by Eugene Smith ), Billy Wilder and Marilyn Monroe in When the Wife’s on Vacation (immortalized by Elliott Erwitt ), James Dean in Burnt Youth (in the images by Dennis Stock ), the great divas  Eizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn in Suddenly Last Summer (photographed by Burt Glinn ), the entire cast of The Misfits – The Misfits portrayed by several Magnum authors who alternated on the set, Michelangelo Antonioni in  Zabriskie Point (shot by Bruce Davidson ), and much more.

These are images that reveal a little known side of the activity of Magnum photographers; they testify to the intense relationship, made up of surprise and emotion, that a film set opens to the eyes and the camera of a photographer.


Santa Severa Castle
SS1 Via Aurelia, Km 52,600
Santa Marinella, Italy

Get directions

Get Magnum news and updates directly to your inbox

Stay in touch
Stay up to date every Thursday with Magnum photographers’ activities, new work, stories published on the Magnum website, and the latest offerings from our shop.
Be the first to know about recent Magnum Shop drops. From new books and limited editions, to special offers, you can find it all on the weekly Magnum Shop newsletter.
Get fortnightly tips and advice articles, find out about the latest workshops, free online events and on-demand courses.
Learn about online and offline exhibitions, photography fairs, gallery events, plus fine print news and activities, on a monthly basis.
Know when our quarterly 7-day square print sale is coming.
Monthly updates on the latest assignments, photographer projects and collaborations with brands.