For over 60 years, Magnum photographers have traveled around the world with their own agendas carrying their camera of choice, which was more often than not a Leica. These photographers produced iconic images of major world events including wars and revolutions, as well as everyday scenes of the world at work and at play. Magnum has allowed these photographers to share their unique visions and, as Alice George mentions in the video, Leica has become Magnum’s “passport to the world.” Leica and Magnum’s shared history and common mission gave rise to a technological and photographic collaboration which Alfred Schopf, CEO Leica Camera AG, and Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen, President of Magnum Photos International Inc., signed into being in December 2010 and was announced in February 2011.
As part of the photographic collaboration, Leica and Magnum are producing a series of multimedia essays that will take a deeper look into the stories behind the photographs. Jonathan Roquemore, who works in Brand and External Relations at Magnum, describes what sparked this collaboration, “This new program is an extension of a long-standing relationship and the need to support new documentary works with depth, has never been greater. Leica deserves healthy recognition for having the vision to understand, appreciate and support the creation of these vital new works and share them with audiences.”
The series, of which “Leica & Magnum: Past Present Future” is the first, are being presented on online at leica-camera.com, lfi-online.de and inmotion.magnumphotos.com/. The video examines the legacy of Magnum photographers and Leica users from the Spanish Civil War to the present including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Bruce Davidson, Elliot Erwitt, Constantine Manos, Susan Meiselas, Alex Webb, Gueorgui Pinkhassov and also features photos from Inge Morath, Gilles Peress, Stuart Franklin, David Alan Harvey, Rene Burri, Dennis Stock, Burt Glinn, Paul Fusco, Alex Majoli, Paolo Pellegrin, Alec Soth, Jonas Bendiksen and George Rodger. Alice George, former head of Magnum, narrates the video, which also explains the current collaboration and contemplates the future generation of Magnum and Leica photographers.
“After having met with Jonathan Roquemore, it became evident that Magnum and Leica shared the same obsession for photography, the same high quality standard and a compulsive urge to present our users with the best possible web content too,” explains Leica Internet Manager Jean-Jacques Viau. So what does the future hold for Leica and Magnum? We can certainly promise more photographic essays that will cover new works by Magnum photographers addressing contemporary themes, as well as investigations into the archives of photographers career-long obsessions to share Magnum photographer’s individual journeys and unique ways of storytelling.
There is also the technological aspect of the collaboration to be fulfilled and we’ll be reporting with more news on that front in a few months so stay tuned.
-Leica Internet Team