Magnum 66th AGM group photo, 2013, IdeasTap HQ. Photography by Jonathan Bell.
What does it take to become a great photographer? When you’re starting out in the industry, you can’t help but look at the people you admire and wonder how they got to where they are. What motivated them to start in the first place? What sacrifices have they made along the way? And what decisions are behind the images they’ve produced? Eleven emerging image-makers won an IdeasTap competition to put these questions and more to some of Magnum’s biggest names. The occasion was the legendary cooperative’s 66th Annual General Meeting, which took place at IdeasTap’s London offices in June 2013. IdeasTap is a charity and creative network, with more than 100,000 members. Since 2010, we have worked with Magnum Photos to provide opportunities, funding and mentoring for new photographic talent – most notably through the prestigious IdeasTap Photographic Award. This special one-off publication features exclusive interviews with a group of Magnum 2
photographers that includes newer nominees like Moises Saman and Bieke Depoorter, as well as veterans of the agency, such as Thomas Hoepker and David Hurn, who joined in the 60s. Consequently their perspectives on the medium vary – but several ideas recur. Fancy equipment will only get you so far. “All a camera can ever be is a box with a hole in the front, which lets light through,” as David Hurn puts it. According to the Magnum voices represented here, being a great photographer is only ever partially about taking pictures. Their advice: to travel, look, engage; find your own take on the world and express that visually. Because ultimately, like Thomas Dworzak says, “Photography is about life and experience.” Rachel Segal Hamilton IdeasTap Commissioning Editor August 2013
Interview with Moises Saman
Interview with David Hurn
Interview with Peter van Agtmael
What’s your advice for young photographers?
Interview with Larry Towell
Interview with Thomas Dworzak
Interview with Alex Webb
IdeasTap Photographers: What makes a great image?
Interview with Thomas Hoepker
Interview with Bieke Depoorter
Interview with Richard Kalvar
What’s the toughest time you’ve faced as a photographer?
Interview with Alec Soth
Interview with Nikos Economopoulos
Interview with Jonas Bendiksen
Last word: Magnum on the state of photography today
Edited by Rachel Segal Hamilton. Designed by Vicky Creevey. With special thanks to Fiona Rogers, Chelsea Jacob and the Magnum Photos team. Contributors: Rachel Barker, Chris Brunner, Lewis Bush, Souvid Datta, Thomas Hofer, Julia Horbaschk, Tom Maguire, Sophie McGrath, Tina Remiz, Clémentine Schneidermann and Ambra Vernuccio. 3
Moises Saman is an award-winning photojournalist. He tells IdeasTap member Souvid Datta about his relationship with war and his projects in Egypt and Afghanistan, and shares advice for emerging photographers... You’ve covered many conflicts – from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Egypt. How did you get into war photography? My first trip was in the summer of 1999. I was in my mid-20s, I’d just finished an internship at Newsday and went to Kosovo. I didn’t know anybody and wasn’t affiliated with any news organisation. I spent about a month travelling through the country taking pictures, not really knowing what I was doing. I self-financed the trip and didn’t sell any pictures. You might call it an exercise to see whether this path was for me. When things started it wasn’t about the conflict. I was more interested in the lifestyle. As I got older and more serious about photography, I accepted the benefits and obligations of being in these situations stretched beyond personal indulgence. Photography evolved into a medium of commentary, through which I could spark dialogue and understanding. I’m not saying photography can change the world, but you can be a factor in the discourse. 4
What advice would you give a young photographer going into a conflict? Find a specific story within the larger context of the conflict, something that you can make your own. I’ve seen young photographers trying to “cover” Syria or Egypt now. It can be horribly dangerous, and they might leave with a decent set of photographs – some action shots, some demonstration of the anguish there – but the end product is rarely coherent, and adds little to the wider understanding of the situation. But if you find one slice of the bigger story – something tangible, where you can illustrate emotions intimately – the work becomes more fresh and compelling. Often your colour images are subsequently presented as black and white sets. What prompts this choice? I always shoot in digital colour. Now I’m mostly working with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, and almost always with just one 35mm f/2 lens. But some specific stories I see more in black and white than colour. It can depend on my mood, or the mood of the work. There’s no formula. Technically speaking, I find black and white easier. The picture doesn’t need to be perfect. With colour, if the colours themselves aren’t strong then the image doesn’t work. Black and white gives you more leverage; you have
Clockwise from top: District chief Hagi Zahir meets with local elders in Marja, Libya, 2011. A Gaddafi supporter holds a portrait of the Libyan leader during a staged celebration in a suburb of Zaiwyah, Libya, 2011. A nurse at the Sharif Islamic Committee, a community centre operated by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Shobra district of Cairo, Egypt, 2011. All images © Moises Saman/Magnum Photos.
“Photography evolved into a medium of commentary, through which I could spark dialogue and understanding.” more space to focus on the content, instead of composition or lighting. Has citizen journalism, and the fact that anyone with a camera phone can now become part of the news, affected your approach to photography? No, actually. Sometimes these fast-paced, often sensational pictures, or YouTube videos and social media phenomena, can be great as a testimony, especially when something’s happening in real-time and previously no one would have been around to capture it. But I still think there’s a need to examine issues more sensitively and thoroughly.
So, despite the fact that newspapers are closing, and magazines are making cuts, you definitely think that photojournalism has a future? Yes. The outlet may be different, the product may be different – more multimedia, more interactive – but the craft hasn’t changed since as far back as I can remember. A man with a camera trying to approach an issue or person: it’s a simple process. Portraying issues through a distinctive photojournalistic vision is essential to wider understanding, and the work will always be relevant and in demand.
David Hurn made his name as a reportage photographer. He became a Magnum member in 1967 and founded the prestigious Documentary Photography BA at the University of Wales, Newport. Here David talks IdeasTap member Lewis Bush through the process of putting together his book Wales: Land of My Father... My parents were from Wales but, for various reasons, I was born outside Wales and in the eyes of some people that makes you “not really Welsh”. I had always been interested in words that are used a lot, but which don’t have a clear meaning. People continually talk about art, but I have no idea what they’re talking about most of the time because they all mean something different. I feel similarly about the word “culture”, so in 1970, when I came to live in Wales, I decided to try and discover my culture by photographing what I found interesting and seeing if that came together as a sort of jigsaw puzzle. I’ve always liked to work to a structure, because it gives me a guideline. So I made a simple plan and said, religion, language, education, sport, industry – these are probably the five key subjects – then let’s break each of those down. For example, for religion you have Catholics, Muslims etc. Suddenly you find you have a spider’s web of 6
maybe 100 potential subjects. You’ve got a plan, and then you just have to go to each of those subjects or locations and photograph. In some ways this gives you more freedom than if you say vaguely, “I want to be a street photographer”. Shooting isn’t a problem: you just go, you look at something, you find it interesting and you take a picture of it – simple as that. And if you happen to have some sort of eye, you’ll usually end up with geometry in the picture. It’s totally instinctive. All a camera can ever be is a box with a hole in the front,
“You just go, you look at something, you find it interesting and you take a picture of it – simple as that.””
Clockwise from top: Ladies night in the local pub in Usk, Wales, UK, 1974. A mine rescue team at work in Dinas, Wales, UK, 1989. Children’s toys in the boundary fence of a refuse transfer site, Penparc, Wales, UK, 1990. All images © David Hurn/ Magnum Photos.
which lets light through. You really have just two controls: where you put that box – where you stand, in other words – and when you decide to press the button. And that’s what photography is about. If you stand in the right place and press the button at the right time, the box isn’t so important.
pieces of paper on the wall and on these I start to write what I think I ought to be doing. Then I pin the pictures on each of those, and as I look at them I see I have too many close up pictures or whatever, so I begin to edit. I might in some circumstances go back and photograph the same event.
When it comes to editing, what you obviously do first is pick your best pictures. This isn’t necessarily developing your argument, but that becomes part of the overall jigsaw puzzle. I have a room at home with all cork walls. Say I decide I want 100 pictures. I pin 100 blank
In the end I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t pinpoint what was meant by “culture” – but everyone who saw the book said it was very Welsh.
Peter van Agtmael has covered wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and their impact in the USA. After being voted in as a full member at this year’s Magnum AGM, Peter talks to IdeasTap member Clémentine Schneidermann about photography schools, small cameras and the trend towards conceptual documentary photography... Since you didn’t study photography, what’s your position on photo schools? There are some good schools but I’m a bit suspicious because it seems that the personality of the professors can be too influential. I haven’t studied photography, but I thought about it. In America it requires a lot of money and the money I would have spent on studies, I was able to spend on taking pictures. That was helpful in some ways, less helpful in others. My photo school was being at Magnum around all these guys. Even if they judge you harshly, it’s in a useful way. They force you to justify your decisions. How does your photographic approach influence your choice of camera? I use small digital cameras: a Sony RX1, which is full frame, and an Olympus OM-D, which is good for speed and flexibility. I hate big cameras. They’re too loud, too intrusive, too noticeable. I feel more spontaneous with 8
small ones I can always carry with me. You want to be invisible as much as possible. What’s your working method? Do you have any assistants? For me photography is an excuse to do things I’m interested in. And I’m interested in traveling all around America, meeting all sorts of people from every race, every background, every socioeconomic class. I like travelling on my own or sometimes with my girlfriend or with friends. I prefer doing things like the editing or the printing on my own but sometimes I use assistants for the lighting during commissions because I know how I want the light to look, but I don’t know how to do it. As I’m finishing a book [of photographs] from seven years in Iraq and Afghanistan, I showed it to a dozen people to get their opinions. And more recently I’ve been working with filmmakers, because I want to do short documentaries. There’s a move among some photographers, such as Deutsche Börse winners Broomberg & Chanarin and nominees Cristina De Middel and Mishka Henner, towards conceptual documentary work that questions the truthfulness of photography. How do you feel about this? I think it’s interesting but I prefer traditional
Clockwise from top: Raymond plays with Star Wars lightsabers with his sons Brady and Riley, Wisconsin, USA, 2007. Soldiers take part in a combat lifesaving training course in South Carolina, USA, 2011. A man and boy take cover under a tree from a sudden rainstorm on the war ravaged Gulu-Kitgum Road, Uganda, 2008. All images © Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos.
“I hate big cameras. They’re too loud, too intrusive, too noticeable. I feel more spontaneous with small ones I can always carry with me.” documentary photography because you can keep exploring it, whereas I usually only find the more conceptual work interesting in the short term. [Deutsche Börse nominee] Chris Killip’s work I can keep looking at again and again, but do I want to look at Cristina De Middel’s Afronauts again and again? No. These conceptual photographers are trying to kill the traditions, but they’ve been informed by them; the institutions they’re criticising aren’t going away. It’s good that they push its limits, but documentary photography is always going to exist. Even if it can sometimes be clichéd, there’s always a core of it that is going to be great. 9
Magnum photographers share tips for people starting out in the image industry... Jonas Bendiksen: “Be a person before you’re a photographer. Your interactions with people are better if you are yourself, a human being, more than a photographer, and if people see you like this, usually the pictures become better.” Alex Webb: “There’s a big difference between taking pictures to make money and taking photographs because you believe in them. There are plenty of photographers who’ve done great work in their lives and haven’t been professional photographers; I think of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, who was an eye doctor. There’s nothing wrong with uncertainty about which directions to go in but you have to believe in what you’re doing because you’ll have to make sacrifices, and the rewards are generally so fleeting.” Alec Soth: “Forget about being a photographer. Be a creative person. I find the workshops I do in my studio as creative as making pictures; in some ways raising money is a creative act. You have to be creative with how you lead your life and not just the things you make.” David Hurn: “If you want to be a photographer, you need to be a walker so keep fit. I’m nearly 80 now. The bane of my life is aching bones, so I have to consciously keep fit, because if I don’t do that I can’t do my job. If you want to compete in this world a working day is 10 or 12 hours, so make sure you have comfortable shoes!” Larry Towell: “Get away from home once in a while. Work flat out for short periods, three weeks – even 10
Larry Towell gives feedback to IdeasTap members at por
two weeks, a week. I tend to work for threeweek cycles. Only think photography. The rest of the time you edit, you sequence – you spend more time editing and looking than shooting.” Moises Saman: “People make the mistake of only seeking inspiration in their exact field of interest. Prospective war photographers, for example, shouldn’t only look at the work of previous war photographers. There’s so much else to be inspired by. I find people from a totally different background – the art world, or painting – bring something more organic to their approach. And it’s important to find one story that only you can do, and perhaps to use that to explain a bigger issue.”
little money and came to Europe to hitchhike with the camera he gave me as a present, and a couple of lenses. I wasn’t there to photograph –[travelling round Europe] was one of the things that people did back then. I started taking a few pictures. I wouldn’t say it was a project, but by the time I went back, after 10 months, I was a photographer. That’s the thing that changed my life the most, that trip.” Thomas Dworzak: “Learn something else. Photography isn’t that complicated; you can learn to take pictures by yourself. Photography is about life and experience. Put yourself in a position where you take a lot of pictures. Don’t study photography. Don’t think about it too much. Try to experience something and express that experience through photography.”
rtfolio reviews during the Magnum AGM, London, UK, 2013. Image © Ambra Vernuccio.
Peter van Agtmael: “Be careful to not to listen too much to anyone. Trust yourself more than others. I’ve seen people really messed up in their heads because of teachers who think they know exactly what they’re talking about and are imposing their view, which is not necessary positive for growth. Look at as many types of work as possible. Look at the whole history of photography. People think that photography is a romantic job but if you want to succeed you have to be completely obsessed with it.” Richard Kalvar: “Travel a lot; try to go to places where interesting things might happen. In the late 60s, after I worked as assistant for the photographer Jerome Ducrot, I saved up a
Thomas Hoepker: “Think before you press the shutter. It’s frustrating that today, even more than in the time of analogue photography, you often come back with a lot of junk. Nowadays, it’s too easy to get a picture – click-clack; the camera works for you, but you need to use your brain, look closely and react fast. Don’t go out and expect that things will be wonderful – photography is hard work!” Nikos Economopoulos: “Be honest with yourself and be original. Don’t try to convince others that you’re something you’re not. The experts in photography, like my peers at Magnum, can see quickly if your work is original or not. Without originality you won’t get far in this industry. Go in the direction that you feel, not where the market tells you to go. If you follow this advice, and have a natural eye for a good composition, you will stand a chance of making it as a photographer.”
Canadian photographer Larry Towell joined Magnum in 1988 and became a full Member in 1993. Over the course of his career he has documented the PalestinianIsraeli conflict and Mennonite communities in Mexico. Here Larry talks to IdeasTap member Rachel Barker about The World From My Front Porch, a highly personal project about his family... I never officially photographed my family – I never paid them or made a point of photographing them – but I did it in the same way anybody does. The camera was on the refrigerator and I’d take it down if I saw something I wanted to photograph. After a number of years, though, the pictures started coming together. It’s not a self-indulgent project: the book is about land, about identity. To deal with identity you should deal with your own identity. People are who they are because of where they’re from, because of the land they live on, because of the history of a place. And what happens to people when they lose that land, or if somebody tries to rob them of that history? The book is also about the civil wars in Central America, which were peasant rebellions. It’s also about the Palestinians, who lost everything. Identity. Land. Nation. So it’s about more things than just my family. I still shoot black and white film, but also 12
carry a digital camera, which I use mostly for forensic photography – for details and objects. Film’s certainly dying out in terms of marketing and finding it; you can hardly buy it and it’s expensive, but I’m still comfortable with it. I’ll probably gradually shift as well, but I don’t accept the deadlines that digital photographers have forced upon them. When the book first came out, I did a show at the George Eastman House at the International Museum of Photography and Film in New York called The World From My Front Porch, which also included the other bodies of work that I’d done on identity. So there were artefacts from Palestine: shrapnel, slingshots, artefacts from the Mennonites, artefacts from home, the history of my music, photographs from my grandmother’s album, everything, hundreds of things. I had everything photographed for the book, so I had images of these artefacts. For the exhibition, I worked with a curator by the name of Rick Hock. There was a warehouse there; I brought all these prints and a bunch of stuff, and we just started moving with it. I’d go back and forth over a couple of months, and then we went into the gallery and just started hanging things, playing with it, trying to make things harmonise based on how one thing feels when close to the other thing. In terms of the book, [it’s the] same idea
“People are who they are because of where they’re from, because of the land they live on, because of the history of a place.”
Clockwise from top: Two-yearold Isaac Towell is carried into the Sydenham River by his older sister Naomi in Lambton County, Ontario, Canada, 1996. Moses Towell eats a wild pear while his mother Ann sits behind the wheel of a 1951 pickup truck, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada, 1996. Palestinian children hold toy guns in the air, Gaza, 1993. All images © Larry Towell/Magnum Photos.
– I make my books with scotch tape and photocopies. From there, when it’s time to publish, you get a designer and you refine it. You show it to people to get feedback and you struggle with it. You struggle with language, editing, sequence; you struggle with making this element work with that one. Sometimes you put things together that don’t naturally belong so you have to force them together. You have to build a bridge. I try not to edit with structure; I edit on emotion. 13
Thomas Dworzak began travelling the world and taking photos while still in high school. Since then, he has covered events in Chechnya, Macedonia, Nigeria, Haiti, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq, to name a few. Here Thomas talks to IdeasTap member Thomas Hofer about his book on US army doctors in Iraq... How did your book M*A*S*H IRAQ come together? M*A*S*H IRAQ became a personal project, but it grew out of my professional work. I had a contract with TIME Magazine. Because I spent a lot of time with the medevacs [medical evacuation team] I started to watch M*A*S*H – the American TV show about army doctors in the Korean War – and I got into it. M*A*S*H was interesting: it was shown during the Vietnam War and there was the whole discussion about Vietnam. Iraq was a similar situation and the same discussion was still alive so M*A*S*H fitted very well with it. I pulled it all together afterwards, putting my photographs with stills from M*A*S*H, but to start with it was a normal assignment. That’s what’s good about Magnum – you have a place where you can bring in something else on top of the purely professional, commercial work.
What was the response from the soldiers that you photographed? I wasn’t in touch with the military after the book came out. [But beforehand] on the purely photographic part of it – the nonM*A*S*H pictures – surprisingly they were very positive. I thought they’d be worried about it. I was maybe out to look for the cruel side of war and was actually a bit embarrassed to get so much praise from that side. That said, I have a fairly pro-military point of view. I really felt I was with the soldiers. I have huge respect for what they do, especially the medevac guys. I’m not somebody whose message is, “Oh my God, war is horrible.” This is way too simple for me. One image depicts a group of soldiers watching their friend die. How do you personally relate to such a situation? I didn’t know the guy. This was the bizarre thing with medevac: you fly around in an ambulance and pick up casualties. The people that come in aren’t the people I’ve been with. I thought that it was dignified. But also it’s in a hospital, so the way people react to it is ritualised. And it’s still the military: they have [systems in place] to deal with it. It’s not this emotional chaos like you get in the civilian world. I don’t want to be aggressive
“I’m not somebody whose message is, ‘Oh my God, war is horrible.’ This is way too simple for me.”
Clockwise from top: Soldiers and medics from the 1159th Medical Company at a Medevac base near Tikrit/Samara, Iraq, 2005. Soldiers and Medics from the 1159th Medical Company watch their comrade die, near Tikrit/Samara, Iraq, 2005. Screen shots from US TV serial M*A*S*H, about an army hospital and medevac unit in the Korean War. All images © Thomas Dworzak/Magnum Photos.
in that situation, you’ve just got to be quiet and respectful. For me, that’s always the most important thing. It’s not like that I absolutely have to get the picture. I mean, I have to get it, but I should try to get it the most dignified way possible. How does this tie into your role as a photojournalist? My job is not to be touchy. I should be respectful to people, whatever happens, but
then I should be provocative. Most of the time people don’t care. I’m glad if it upsets somebody, if they get confused. Everybody has this taboo view of war. It can be great fun too and I think it’s important to know that. There are a lot of people, including myself, that have had a very good time in different wars. And it’s an intensity you miss afterwards. I’m not in favour of war, God forbid. It would be better if there was no war, definitely. But once it’s there, you’ve got to look at it. 15
Noted for his bold colour images, Alex Webb joined Magnum Photos as an associate in 1976 and has since worked in the Caribbean, Mexico, Turkey and the US. Alex talks to IdeasTap member Lewis Bush about why he avoids doing too much research before starting a project and the difference between shooting at home and abroad... You’re known for your work in Haiti but you’ve also photographed in the US. Could you talk us through the making of From the Sunshine State, your book about Florida? When I was working extensively in Haiti I often found myself stuck in Miami because riots had taken over Port au Prince. I started looking around at this strange state called Florida and got interested in photographing it. My first instinct was to photograph the new immigrant groups – Haitians and Guatemalans – but I realised that what I really needed to do was photograph the totality of Florida. Florida is a world of many different pockets that seem to have little to do with one another. The final book, put together in 1992, was built in much the same way I generally build books. By playing with a few pictures the beginning starts to emerge and then the end, and somehow different pieces fall into 16
place between them. Several publishers were interested but never took it; it was actually four years before it got published. In that time I made a couple more trips and a few more pictures crept in. Sometimes there’s a reason you can’t find a publisher – that’s taking the philosophical view. As an American, did you feel closer to Florida than somewhere like Haiti? In certain ways I’m closer to Florida because there are all these familiar things, like chain restaurants. But there’s a part of me that feels emotionally closer to Haiti or to Mexico, because I approached Florida and – at least at that time in my life – approached parts of the United States with ambivalence. In Florida I’m a little ironic, a little amused; I’m questioning the nature of my country. You’ve stated elsewhere that you don’t like to begin a project with too many preconceived ideas. How does this inform your research? When I work on a project for myself, I may read a guidebook to get the general lay of the land; I may read a novel set in the place, to give me a sense of what some writer felt. And then I go and start working. I come back, look at the work and then start reading, because I want my visual knowledge of the place to develop at the same pace as my intellectual
Clockwise from top: Members of the public in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA, 1988, from The Sunshine State. A memorial for victims of army violence, Port au Prince, Haiti, 1987. Mexicans arrested while trying to cross the border to United States, San Ysidro, California, USA, 1979. All images © Alex Webb/Magnum Photos.Magnum Photos.
“By playing with a few pictures the beginning starts to emerge and then the end, and somehow different pieces fall into place between them.” knowledge. I feel with certain projects that if I read too much I start trying to force things. I look at things and say, “Ah well that’s symbolic of that and so it’s interesting to photograph,” whereas if I’m just there photographing I see things that might contradict those symbols. You’ve worked in partnership with your wife, Rebecca Norris Webb. Would you recommend young photographers seek out collaborators?
If it works naturally. I’ve found it incredibly rewarding and exciting and fabulous to work with Rebecca. But one thing I will say is we almost never photograph in the street together. The times we shoot together we have to be careful to go to opposite ends of whatever situation it is. Two photographers together in the street transform a situation. people don’t respond the same way.
As part of the Magnum Photos AGM, a group of IdeasTap members got feedback on their work from Magnum photographers David Alan Harvey, Jonas Bendiksen, Larry Towell and Eli Reed. They tell us what they think makes a great picture... Anna Maguire, 24: “Timing, the lighting and something that stays with you, be that the image itself, or a mood or state of mind.” Joupin Ghamsari, 24: “An image that grabs your attention and feeds into your curiosity, challenging the viewer by encapsulating the raw emotion and story through the subject or scene.” Tom Bradley, 27: “I see images that don’t have good lighting or composition, and are still sometimes great images. There’s no answer. Personally my favourite images are ones where there are many things happening – details that perhaps you miss on first inspection but reveal themselves on second or third viewing.” Joanne Coates, 24: “A great image is not just a photographic depiction; it has an ability to create true empathy, it’s an in-depth connection that creates an ingrained memory onto my retina.” Marita Pappa, 25: “An image I can always return to, and have the same feeling as when I first saw it.”
Jonas Bendiksen gives feedback to IdeasTap mem
mbers at portfolio reviews during the Magnum AGM, London, UK, 2013. Image © Ambra Vernuccio.
Fern Leigh Albert, 26: “There have been a few times in my life when I’ve revisited galleries and loved a photograph that I’d previously hated or an image has grown on me. I think it depends on personal taste, time, place and feeling.”
Sam Ivin, 21: “I think this varies depending on the genre of photography, but generally I believe it’s a photo that communicates a message effectively, is aesthetically pleasing and engages the viewer.” Daniel Campagne, 27: “There’s no right answer to this question as every picture is a story of its own. Probably the best pictures are the ones that move something inside both the photographer and the spectator, pictures that have actually something to tell rather than just being nicely composed.” Chloe Murray, 27: “A great image is one that shows emotion. To be able to see what kind of expression is being portrayed, whether it’s happy, sad or mysterious. If emotion is illustrated, the image is likely to be a success.”
With half a century of photography and filmmaking under his belt, German photographer Thomas Hoepker is one of Magnum’s most experienced members. He talks to IdeasTap member Tina Remiz about the differences between working with still and moving image, and why he doesn’t like to be labelled an artist... Your career spans more than five decades – what’s been the highlight? Before joining Magnum in 1989, I was a contract photographer for the German magazine Stern, which means I had a regular salary and paid vacations – things a young photographer can only dream about these days. It was an interesting and well-paid job at a time when magazines spent money on producing good reportage. We had all the necessary facilities and, in many cases, could work on a story for as long as we wanted. The biggest gift they gave us was time. What are your thoughts on colour versus black and white photography? The two coexist and both have their place in my practice. Black and white reduces everything to composition and the subject of a picture, while colour adds another element, which can be destructive. It often stands in your 20
way because colour makes things look pretty, so it can be easier to capture something very ugly – war, poverty or disease – in black and white. Basically, I’m a “hand for hire”. Somebody calls me up and says they’ll give me money to take pictures, and I’ll do what they want me to do. If they say it’s going to be in colour or in black and white – OK, either is fine by me. How has the equipment you use evolved over the years? I started with a 9x12 glass plate camera I got from my grandfather at the age of 16, worked with Leicas and other 35mm SLRs, and now I’m walking around with a digital camera. All of them are tools – they can be very good or not so sophisticated – but to take good pictures most of all you need to have a trained eye. You’ve taken photographs all over the world: what’s the difference between working abroad and in your home country, Germany? Sometimes you find a story on your doorstep, other times you need to fly half way around the globe to get it. It’s wonderful to go to a new place, but working in your hometown gives you the advantage of knowing the place and makes building contacts easier.
“You should bring your opinion to every piece of reportage. If you love or hate the situation, or find it ridiculous, it should come through in the resulting pictures. Don’t try to be objective – it’s boring!”
Clockwise from top: Boxing heavyweight champion Muhammed Ali, Chicago, USA, 1966. Young people relax during their lunch break along the East River while smoke rises from Lower Manhattan after the 11 September attack on the World Trade Center, New York, 2001. All images © Thomas Hoepker/ Magnum Photos.
You should bring your opinion to every piece of reportage. If you love or hate the situation, or find it ridiculous, it should come through in the resulting pictures. Don’t try to be objective – it’s boring! One of your best-known images from 9/11 provides a very different view of the event. What’s the story behind it? It’s strange because at the time I didn’t think this moment was important. I automatically reacted to the situation, but only pressed the shutter three times because I was looking
for the horror and didn’t think this was “the picture”. Magnum had a meeting in New York the day before. I saw what other photographers had done and thought my picture was too harmless, too pretty. So I kept it in my drawer for few years, until a museum curator saw the photograph and encouraged me to publish it. I learned my lesson – you should never be too pre-determined. As a reporter, you want to be really close to the event, but sometimes, if you detour from the core of it, you can be lucky to find something special. 21
One of Magnum’s youngest nominees, 26-year-old Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter talks to IdeasTap member Chris Brunner about her Magnum Expression Award-winning project Ou Menya, for which she travelled through Russia, staying with families she met along the way... The only thing I knew was that I wanted to go to Russia and travel by trans-Siberian train. I went to take photographs, but also to just experience it. I didn’t speak the language and I wanted to go to villages that probably didn’t have hotels. I met one girl in Moscow, who spoke English, and asked her to write out a note for me in Russian, asking for a place to stay. So I went off traveling with this piece of paper, meeting people and staying with them along the way. Approaching people on the street is hard but I do it because afterwards it’s great staying with the family. It’s not that I’m particularly self-confident. I spent three months there, divided up into three trips of one month each. First, I didn’t have much money, so I had to come back to work in order to go back again. But more importantly, I don’t want to travel for a long time because what I do is really intensive. I don’t want to start feeling that it’s normal for people to take me in. Also it’s tiring; I start to miss my friends and family. And travelling for a long time, doing this, you get saturated; you don’t see things anymore. 22
I often photograph people at night, just before they go to sleep. I’m interested in the border between the real world and the fantasy world. When people prepare to go to bed, they’re in another mindset. I take photographs during the day as well but at night people aren’t so conscious of me being there. When I’m taking photographs I’m not thinking that people will see them. Editing takes me a long time, because I have my experiences with people in my mind. I’m scared when I look through my photographs that I’ll be disappointed, that my memory won’t be the same. The photographs that are the same as my memory are probably the good ones. In the past I was more of a street photographer, but then I felt bad about stealing something from someone I didn’t
“I often photograph people at night, just before they go to sleep. I’m interested in the border between the real world and the fantasy world.”
Clockwise from top: A little child watches birds fly around the room, Cairo, Egypt, 2012. Other images from Bieke Depoorter’s project Ou Menya, for which she stayed with people she met along the Trans-Siberian railway route through Russia, 2009. All images © Bieke Depoorter/ Magnum Photos.
know. The way I work now, asking for a place to stay and then staying there and really getting to know the people, is more respectful. If they don’t want me to take photographs, I don’t. Sometimes it’s difficult, because afterwards I go away knowing their stories. Even then, I sometimes go away with the feeling that for them too it was an important moment. I share as well; sometimes I tell them stories about my life that even my
friends don’t know. It’s a conversation we have; it’s not just me as a photographer going in to take photographs of their life. The longer you’re in the photography world – and I realise I’m quite young – the more you know about photography and the more you think about it. I hope in the future I don’t lose the fact that being a person and being a photographer go together. 23
American photographer Richard Kalvar balances personal work in France, Italy England, Japan and the United States with editorial and commercial assignments. He talks to IdeasTap member Ambra Vernuccio about long-term projects and why “street photography” isn’t the most accurate description of what he does... Early in your career you assisted the fashion photographer Jerome Ducrot. Did he influence your style? I was lucky to work with him because even though he was a fashion and advertising photographer, he was also a guy who had a certain photographic culture. He was open to other things. I wasn’t even aware that I was learning, but I was. I got into the habit of taking lots of pictures, probably because I was watching him taking lots of pictures. And I still do. When I was working on a recent Davos commission [in Switzerland] I took 6,000 to 10,000 pictures. How and when did your breakthrough as a photographer happen? I wouldn’t say it was a “breakthrough” – I wasn’t suddenly discovered by a magazine. It was more that I thought, “I’m a pretty good photographer!” Maybe in 1967 when I came back from my trip to Europe, after working with Jerome Ducrot. It’s not that I “made it”, 24
but I was taking pictures that I really liked. You’ve been documenting Rome since the 1970s. How did that project begin? My project in Italy is an unfinished long-term project, which began in August 1978 when I went to Rome for the first time. The Pope died and I got a job with Newsweek. I took a taxi from the airport to Piazza di Spagna. The sunset and the people were among the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Around that time, Jeanloup Sieff, a French publisher, was talking about doing a series of books with photographers who’d get a small amount of money to go out and shoot something that they’d always dreamt of shooting and I thought, “I’ll do Rome!” I did the stuff I had to do for the Pope, and then I stayed and took pictures. Even though I was impressed by the beautiful colours, I was basically a black and white photographer so I decided to do black and white. I was mostly walking around and looking at relations between people. In the end the book never happened, but I kept going back anyway.
“I took a taxi from the airport to Piazza di Spagna. The sunset and the people were among the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.” Which camera do you work with? I always took my personal pictures with Leicas, and then when I started doing my professional work, I moved onto digital. Now, I mostly shoot with a 35mm digital reflex Canon. You are part of In-Public, a street photography collective. What do you think when people define you as a “street photographer”? Street photography is a misleading term. I don’t think it’s totally accurate. I take unposed pictures of people. So, if I’m in the street, it’s in the street; if I’m here, I’m here; if I’m at a wedding, it’s at a wedding. It doesn’t have to be on the street, although mostly it is walking around the streets. But the basic approach is no more street than anything else. It’s unposed.
Clockwise from top: Two men converse in Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Italy, 1982. Girls do gymnastics in the park in Warsop Vale, one of England’s largest mining towns, UK, 1974. Street scene on 4th Street in New York City, USA, 1970. All images © Richard Kalvar/Magnum Photos.
Magnum photographers recall challenges they’ve overcome during their career... Jonas Bendiksen: “The toughest thing is keeping up your creative energy and inspiration over the long haul – it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You have your ups and downs, and that affects your appetite for going out into the world and creating work. It’s important not to lose the joy of doing photography and to always find your way back to the source of that. It could be by doing something completely different: reading books, looking at something, engaging with certain people – anything. For me it’s essential to maintain that balance between photography and the rest of my life.” Richard Kalvar: “People sometimes get upset with me for taking their pictures. Working in Naples was a little scary. I was with someone who knew Naples very well, but people kept telling me to “Be careful’, because lots of people have the police looking for them; others are supposed to be under house arrest, while they’re actually in the streets.” David Hurn: “I discovered my mother dead. I‘d gone over to take her out, but when I got there she was dead. I had the dilemma of whether to photograph her or not. I did it, partly, because she had a smile on her face. I thought that if she had a smile on her face then she probably didn’t die in pain. I felt that visual memory would probably sustain me in the future. But it’s not a picture I’ve ever shown anyone else.” 26
Thomas Dworzak: “Being a nominee in Magnum. I didn’t like it. It’s traumatising. I was 28 or something and suddenly you show up with all these big, famous people and everything is intimidating.” Nikos Economopoulos: “Once when I was in Albania in the 90s, a drunk guy came up to my car and put a gun to my head. Throughout my photographic career, I’ve found it difficult to reason with people when they’re drunk or have taken drugs. As a documentary photographer, you’ll always find yourself in difficult situations, be it in a conflict zone or something less expected, like this incident in Albania. When faced with these situations you have to stay calm and remember your motivation for working on the story or project.” Alex Webb: “There have been a number of dangerous situations. There was one, during the election in Haiti; it was the only time I’ve been shot at specifically because I was a photographer. I’ve been in situations where there was shooting or bombing or violence but it hasn’t necessarily been directed at me. This one was, and that was very intense.” Peter Van Agtmael: “War zones are usually the hardest because there are so many things you need to be careful about – who you go with, for instance. It’s not only a question of getting the picture, it’s also a question of getting to the place where you can get the picture and then getting out.”
Afghan soldiers carry a wounded comrade into an American medevac helicopter after a Taliban ambush near the village of Tsunek, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, 2010 © Moises Saman/Magnum Photos.
Moises Saman: “Two years ago, two close friends were killed in the same event, and that’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve dealt with. It’s part of war, but it’s a very, very sad feeling – especially if you know them well.”
Bieke Depoorter: “The most difficult thing is getting lonely travelling. As soon as I’m on the plane, going to take photographs, I’m thinking ‘Oh my God, why I am doing it, again?’ But as soon as I start experiencing wonderful moments with people I meet in my travels, I forget about this. When I can’t capture the moment that I want to – that’s also something you’re scared of. I can come back from one month’s working with only one photograph that I like..” 27
Known for doing “on the road photography” as he travels across the US, Alec Soth also runs his own publishing company, Little Brown Mushroom. Alec talks to IdeasTap member Julia Horbaschk about his latest project, The LBM Dispatch... For my birthday in December 2011 I asked the writer Brad Zeller if he would give me the gift of going on a news story. So we pretended to be a reporter and photographer from a mythical newspaper. We picked a random story [about a cat who had gone missing] and went off on the road. Ohio was first, then Upstate, Michigan, Three Valleys and most recently Colorado. We published my photographs and Brad’s writing from each place as a newspaper called the LBM Dispatch, which we sell through my website and through different bookstores. I anticipate doing at least three more of these in Texas, Georgia and other counties, before it hopefully results in an exhibition. When I made a name for myself as a photographer I worked with 5x4 and I became very much identified with that. Over time I started to become frustrated with that connection; a filmmaker’s primary identification isn’t with the camera they use. I wanted to get away from that so now I think of the camera as a tool I use. I’ve done lots of different projects with lots of different 28
cameras. All the LBM Dispatch work is made with a digital Hasselblad H4D. More important than the camera, though, is the powerful on-camera flash I use. I really blast light into people’s faces and that affects the relationship. The look of it evokes early press photography by people like Weegee. The Dispatch was made in the same DIY spirit you see in music. Ohio was entirely selffunded. We published on very cheap paper and our expenses were covered by the sale of the newspaper, which is great. However,
“More important than the camera is the powerful oncamera flash I use. I really blast light into people’s faces.”
Clockwise from top: Dog in Bogota, Colombia, 2003. Petrol station photographed for the project Sleeping by the Mississippi, Fountain City, Wisconsin, USA, 2002. Man walks through Dover Burial Park, Dover, Ohio, USA, 2012. All images © Alec Soth/Magnum Photos.
going forward it became problematic. I generate these images that can be sold as prints or what have you. But in Brad’s case, as a writer it’s harder to generate income so we’ve done different things. With Michigan I partnered with the Cranbrook Academy of Art and they helped fund this trip. Three Valleys was funded in part by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. With Colorado it was more straightforward: I found three collectors in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum who will be exhibiting the work. But I really had to go out there and look for money.
Photography used to be a specialised thing. Of course it’s become more and more democratic but just in the last few years with cell phones it has exploded on this whole other level. It’s been challenging and exciting. Photographers are using other technology and other people are using photography so it’s become difficult to define yourself as a photographer. I see young photographers who get out of school and think they want to be a photographer and I think, “OK, you and 9,000 others.” But I suppose that’s true of writing and everything else. 29
Greek photographer Nikos Economopoulos is best known for his images of Greece, Turkey and the Balkans. Nikos talks to IdeasTap member Tom Maguire about his motivations as a photographer and why less is more when it comes to equipment... What initially drew you to working in the Balkans and southern Europe? My decision was based on two things: it was cheap to get to and close. At that point in my life, I didn’t have the money to make global trips. In fact, it’s only recently that I’ve started to photograph stories outside Europe. Of course at the same time big changes were happening in southern Europe that I was curious to know more about. During my time in southern Europe and the Balkans I experienced a whole range of events, from the conflict in Kosovo to the tensions between my homeland, Greece, and Turkey. Importantly, I never went to these places to be a journalist. Taking photographs has always been a personal thing for me. During that time I had a lot of unanswered questions. Taking photographs became a way to get answers to them. For example, during the Balkans conflict, I couldn’t understand why Serbian civilians presented themselves as human shields along the river Danube to protect their bridges. It was only from being 30
there and feeling the moment that I could begin to understand their motivation. Tell us a bit about your long-term project on Albania. Albania is an interesting country. When I arrived there for the first time in 1989, before the Democratic Party came to power, Albanian citizens were completely isolated from the rest of the world. The way they moved, their body language and the way they interacted with each other was different from anything I’d seen before. The way Albanian youths flirted with each other was different to how the Greek and Turkish flirt. Visually, this was really interesting for me. This fascination with the Albanian people and their culture brought me back to the country on numerous trips throughout the 90s. The last story in Albania that I photographed was the mass emigration of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo to Albania in 1999 and 2000. I was mostly based in Albania, not Kosovo during this time, documenting the movement and interaction of the refugees with the Albanian people and their customs. Would you consider making a book of this work? Although some of the images from the project have been published in a number of different
“I always say to my students, ‘One lens, one camera,’ that’s it.”
Clockwise from top: A member of the UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) at a Médecins sans Frontières refugee camp in Kukës, Albania, 1999. A little girl shows off her dress in Central Anatolia, Turkey, 1988. A butterfly lands on the back of a man attending a political meeting in Yozgat, Turkey, 1990. All images © Nikos Economopoulos/Magnum Photos.
books, I have never produced a book solely on Albania. Up until now it has made sense to see how the project evolves and develops over time. Maybe now I’m ready. We shall see.
a result, I’m able to feel the moment I’m photographing, rather than think about it. This has allowed me a great deal of freedom as a photographer.
What kit do you work with, and how does this influence your relationship with your photographic subjects?
I always say to my students, “One lens, one camera,” that’s it. Too often students and aspiring photographers want to try out a whole range of media, formats and lenses, especially when they’re starting out. In my opinion, it’s impossible to go deeper in visual terms using multiple formats and lenses. It’s best to stick to one.
For the last 20 years I’ve used the same 35mm lens with the same body. Over time the 35mm lens has become calibrated with my eye. I see through the world through this perspective; I know the grade and depth of field without having to think too hard. As
Now a full member, Jonas Bendiksen’s working relationship with Magnum began when he was a 19-year-old intern at the London offices. Jonas talks to IdeasTap member Sophie McGrath about documenting everyday life in the slums of Kenya, India, Venezuela and Indonesia for his project The Places We Live, which he presented as a website, an exhibition and a book... I became a father in 2002 and started wondering what the world would look like when my son was my age. Around the same time I discovered statistics from the UN showing the world’s urban population was about to overtake the rural, and at the same time the number of people living in slums was topping 1 billion. I realised there’s no way to understand this urbanising world of the future without looking at these slums. I started photographing them in 2005 but discovered quickly that just going there and shooting in a normal documentary style wasn’t working. I was struck by how even in the most extreme places, people create normalcy. I realised that’s something that isn’t shown much and would be worth exploring. That’s when I came up with the idea of a three-dimensional project of the rooms of slum-dwellers – composed of four single images, four walls – and their stories. So I started with the concept 32
and then I shot from 2005 to 2007, following this formula. I’m a very simple photographer. I used a Canon 5D and normal lenses, though I had to buy a super wide zoom, a 17-40mm or something similar, because the rooms were so small, so to fit the whole wall in I had to go out really wide. I actually started shooting it on medium format film because I thought I needed a certain resolution, then once I ran out of film I took the 5D out to shoot the last wall. I compared the results and saw there was much more detail in the digital file, so I switched. The 5D was the first full-frame digital camera, and it’s good for shooting inside, and in low light. I’ve been a digital photographer since 2005 – in some ways
Clockwise from top: Crows circle a statue of Lenin in front of the Supreme Soviet building, Transdniester, Moldova, 2004. During a storm squall, a girl walks a long an embankment that was broken by the 2009 cyclone Aila, Sathkira District, Bangladesh, 2010. The hillside barrio of El Valle, Caracas, Venezuela, 2010. All images © Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos.
“I was struck by how even in the most extreme places, people create normalcy.” it’s different from film, but the quality is amazing.
it’s the best program, so small and so simple – and then I use Photoshop.
The editing process was incredibly tough. That’s when you really make decisions about who you are as a photographer. I always see that in young photographers – so many people are good at taking pictures, but the challenge is the editing. You just have to be hard on yourself – it’s a question of huge discipline and not letting yourself fall in love with all these images before you get down to the right numbers. Everyone has their own mental games they play to do to it. I have rituals, like functioning in certain percentages; for example, a first cut always has to get down to 20%. For post-production, I use a Mac and edit in Expression Media –
I’m optimistic for the future of photography, because we have a sense of freedom and ownership of our work and an ability to show that work in a way that was never there before. Before, you worked for one magazine and were beholden to the 12 images you could put in, and that was it; now you have so many more options in terms of getting work out. You’ve got to get it to work financially, but people can now have a closer and better authorship of their work. There’s never been a time when people consumed and engaged with photography as much as they do now.
As part of the AGM, Magnum photographers came together for a symposium. Abbas, Peter Marlow, Christopher Anderson, Thomas Dworzak and Jonas Bendiksen shared their thoughts on Magnum, social media, copyright, new technologies and the relationship between still and moving images... On Magnum... Abbas: “Basically it’s a bunch of loonies, each one with his own agenda, his own dreams, his own priorities but the group actually functions as a group. “Nominee is like boyfriend or girlfriend. An associate is fiancé/e. A member is marriage.” Peter Marlow: “You probably experience it yourself as photographers: it’s OK looking at your own pictures but if someone’s over your shoulder looking at those pictures as well, somehow you can better tell if they’re good or bad. “The opinions of one’s colleagues stop you becoming self-satisfied with what you’re doing and actually question it and push it further.” Jonas Bendiksen: “Photography can be a lonely endeavour ... being part of Magnum or a similar group is a great way to have some sort of community around your work, to bounce ideas off and feel like you’re involved in a collective endeavour.”
Abbas addresses the audience at the Magn
On social media... Abbas: “I don’t Tweet. I’m not on Facebook. I think it’s a waste of time. The digital age eventually will save photojournalism, but only when we find a viable economic model. Why should I waste my time tweeting when they’re not paying me for it?”
Christopher Anderson: “I find it generally annoying and a distraction. There are some parts I enjoy. Right now Instagram is fun. It’s immediate, it’s disposable and there’s something light and refreshing about that. [But] every day I think I’m going to cancel Twitter. My life is not better from Twitter.”
Thomas Dworzak: “I’m more worried about the general lack of privacy. I like Instagram but it’s very one way. I have 36 followers because I don’t want people seeing my pictures. But, on the other hand, I love looking at other people’s pictures.”
Jonas Bendiksen: “What’s wonderful is that there’s never been a time when so many people were involved in photography. That has to be a good thing, because it means people are engaging with the medium. It’s great fun to do Instagram and to have so many people following and sharing, but it’s also shocking sometimes when I read through the comments – the vitriol and hatred and aggression is unbelievable.”
On copyright... Christopher Anderson: “If you want to download my pictures, please go ahead. As a photographer trying to reach an audience, [if there are lots of] bloggers who are interested in my photographs, that’s great. Do I want Time Magazine online to be using my pictures for free? No, of course not – that I want to control, as a copyright issue.” Abbas: “At this AGM we decided to sue institutions who use our pictures but we decided collectively that individual blogs or [people] downloading the images for their own use is legitimate.”
num AGM Symposium, London, UK, 2013. Image © Ambra Vernuccio..
On multimedia... Jonas Bendiksen: “The modes of operating when you’re out photographing and when you are creating video are often very different. In the early days of experimenting with this, there was a false idea that one could easily go out and do both but if you’re going to do a four-minute video it demands real attention to do it well.”
Susan Meiselas talks about the Postcards from America project at the Magnum AGM Symposium, London, UK, 2013. Image © Ambra Vernuccio.
Christopher Anderson: “I don’t like the term ‘multimedia’... there are stills and then there’s documentary film. Documentary film can use a combination of stills, video and sound but let’s stop thinking like photographers putting sound to our pictures, and make films. Films are interesting; watching slideshows set to music is not. We thought about multimedia for a long time as the thing that was going to save photographers’ asses – and it didn’t.”
Christopher Anderson presents his work at the Mag
On digital technology... Abbas: “Anybody can take pictures; photography’s a very easy thing. You can give a camera to a baboon [and it will learn to take photographs]. The problem isn’t taking photographs, or taking good photographs, the problem is having a language; a vision as a photographer.” Christopher Anderson: “In this age, craft and technique are useless commodities. The only thing that has value for you as a photographer now is your uniqueness, your individuality and authenticity. Those are the things you trade on.” Thomas Dworzak: “I don’t care if somebody takes a picture with an iPhone or with a washing machine [as long as it looks good].”
gnum AGM Symposium, London, UK, 2013. Image © Ambra Vernuccio.
Thomas Dworzak, Jonas Bendiksen, Magnum Cultural & Print Room Director Sophie Wright, and Peter Marlow discuss photography at the Magnum AGM Symposium, London, UK, 2013. Image © Ambra Vernuccio. 37
Since 2010, IdeasTap and Magnum have worked together to provide a range of career-boosting opportunities, mentoring and funding for photographers The IdeasTap Photographic Award, in association with Magnum Photos Our annual award offers UK-based photographers the chance to win mentoring, £5,000 in prize money, £1,500 in project funding and a sought-after internship at Magnum’s London or New York offices. Originally the award was open to 16-30-yearolds, but in 2013 we introduced a new category for applicants aged over 30. The award process is designed to provide development opportunities for 18 shortlisted applicants, not just the overall winners. The shortlisted image-makers receive mentoring from a Magnum photographer, Blurb book vouchers and £150 to have their pictures printed. Over six weeks, they are encouraged to enhance their projects before their photographs are framed and presented in an exhibition in the autumn. At the exhibition, nine finalists are selected to receive £1,500 to shoot their dream project, create a multimedia Magnum in Motion project and participate in a second mentoring session. Finally, a winner is chosen from each age group – 16-22, 23-30 and 31+. The Magnum Showcase Every month we run a competition offering IdeasTap members the chance to get their work in front of Magnum Photos. Each showcase has a new theme – such as “memory” “road trip” or “changing landscapes” – and applicants enter up to 20 photos that tell a story relating to that theme. The winner gets their work reviewed either by a Magnum photographer or senior member of
Clockwis Magnum Showcase winners Aleksandra W
their London team, showcased on IdeasTap’s website, as well as personal feedback on their work from the Magnum judge. Previous judges include: Peter Marlow, Alec Soth, Bruce Gilden and Stuart Franklin.
Magnum Professional Practice We offer heavily subsidised places on Magnum’s Professional Practice seminars, where leading figures from the photographic industry deliver presentations and share advice. Eight speakers from a variety of industries, including the advertising and corporate, editorial, gallery, NGO, museum, publishing and rights sectors give impartial presentations on their area of expertise, with plenty of time for questions and networking.
Exposure: The Oxfam Photography Prize for Women Exposure is a new once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for three female emerging photographers to complete a commission for Oxfam’s spring fundraising campaign. In autumn 2013 Oxfam will commission three of Magnum Photos’ female photographers to document projects in Armenia, Chad and Sri Lanka. Winners will follow the commission brief and produce a set of 100 images that highlight the difficulties faced by people living in poverty and the impact of Oxfam’s work, particularly showcasing the stories of women. Each winner will have on-site mentoring from one of the commissioned Magnum photographers. The images will be used by Oxfam in their fundraising communications in Spring 2014 and beyond, with potential for an exhibition alongside the work of the Magnum commissions. The winners will also receive £1,000 each on completion of the assignment. To enter, go to IdeasTap.com/ Exposure. For more information visit: IdeasTap. com/Partners/MagnumPhotos
se from top: IdeasTap Photographic Award 2011 winner Roman Sakovic, Wojcik (Theme: London) and Christopher Bethell (Theme: Street Scenes).
For more photography articles, jobs and opportunities visit: IdeasTap.com/Photography 40
A special publication featuring exclusive interviews with 12 Magnum photographers by IdeasTap members