Magnum Contact Sheets

Magnum Contact Sheets

  1. Edited by Kristen Lubben
  • ISBN 9780500543993
  • 34.20 x 28.00 cm
  • Hardback
  • 508pp
  • 435 Illustrations, 230 in colour
  • with over 3,600 frames on 139 contact sheets
  • First published 2011

Few photography books can lay claim to being truly groundbreaking.
This is one of them.

‘This book allows us to see the mixture of talent, chance, watchfulness and diligence behind each successful picture ... there are very many reasons to celebrate the images in this huge and beautiful book’ – The Guardian
‘Every now and then there is a book published so important that it can justifiably be described as essential to its prescribed audience … One thing is sure: if you do not have a copy of 'Magnum Contact Sheets' on your bookshelf you cannot be serious about photography – State magazine
'I would urge you to get your hands on this book, set a day aside and take your own journey through 80 years and 508 pages of photographic genius. It’s a book to fall in love with and treasure for the rest of your life. Thank you Magnum. Thank you Thames & Hudson.' – Adam Scorey, Editor of Professional Photographer
'… epic’ – The Art Newspaper

Magnum Contact Sheets

Presenting a remarkable selection of contact sheets and related material, Magnum Contact Sheets lays bare the creative methods, strategies and editing processes behind some of the world’s most iconic images — was the final image a set-up, or a serendipitous encounter; did the photographer work to extract the potential from a situation, or was it the fabled ‘decisive moment’?

'The book is utterly absorbing. To be able to follow dozens upon dozens of the most recognised images of the 20th century backwards through the selection process gives these pictures a new immediacy and vitality'– The Telegraph

See the full review in the Telegraph

Published just as the shift to digital photography threatens to render the contact sheet obsolete, this landmark book celebrates the sheet as artifact, as personal and historic record, as editing tool, and as a fascinating way of accompanying great photographers as they work towards, and capture, the most enduring images of our time.

139 contact sheets, containing over 3,600 frames, representing 69 photographers, are featured, as well as zoom-in details, selected photographs, press cards, notebooks and spreads from contemporary publications, including Life magazine and Picture Post. Insight into each contact sheet is provided in texts written by the photographers themselves or by experts chosen by members’ estates.

Many acknowledged greats of photography are here, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliott Erwitt and Inge Morath, as well as Magnum’s latest generation, Jonas Bendiksen, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Alec Soth among them. These photographers cover over seventy years of history, from the Normandy landings by Robert Capa, the Paris riots of 1968 by Bruno Barbey and war in Chechnya by Thomas Dworzak to images of Che Guevara by René Burri, Malcolm X by Eve Arnold and classic New Yorkers by Bruce Gilden.

Contents include:
• 139 contact sheets by 69 photographers from Magnum Photos, plus selected details and ancillary visual material
• 435 illustrations, including over 200 prints, 60 contextual images and 40 contact-sheet enlargements, encompassing black-and-white, colour, standard 35mm, large-format and panoramic photography.
• Texts include commentaries by Magnum photographers and specially commissioned authors.
• 508 pages: Page size: 342 X 280 mm (13 1/2 X 11 inches). Printing specification: five colours throughout plus spot varnish on all photographs. Paper stock: 150gsm matt art.

'It’s the context however, that this book gives to those images that really sets it apart. As included with each contact sheet is a well-crafted narrative written by the photographers themselves or by experts given the blessing by member’s estates to capture the thought process. That combination of scribbled notes on the contact sheet, the images, those marked for stardom and those cruelly crossed out as not making the grade, together with words that take us into the mind of the photographer, those are the ingredients that what make this a book to keep and revisitTheUsualShutterSpecs


Also available:
Magnum Contact Sheets Collector's Edition

Kristen Lubben is Associate Curator at the International Center of Photography in New York. Her previous books include Susan Meiselas: In History and Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon.

There is an exhibition accompanying the book
November 9, 2011 - January 27, 2012
Wed - Fri, 11.00 until 16:30
Magnum Print Room, 63 Gee Street, London EC1V 3RS
T: 020 7490 1771
See the Exhibition event page

Also of interest
Magnum Magnum
Magnum Ireland
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century
Afterwards: Contemporary Photography Confronting the Past