The latest Magnum Photos Square Print Sale sees photographers from the iconic agency and the not-for-profit Aperture foundation partner under a ‘Works of Imagination’ theme.
The sale runs for seven days so anyone can own a museum-quality print from some of the biggest names in photography for just $100.
Magnum and Aperture define the ‘Works of Imagination’ theme as “… bringing together a collection of works from disparate storytelling and artistic practices: works of fact and fiction with the potential to inspire our social and artistic imagination.”
Which prints are available in the sale?
Photographers featuring in this sale include Christopher Anderson, Peter van Agtmael, Eve Arnold, Cornell Capa, Carolyn Drake, Bruce Davidson, W. Eugene Smith, Harry Gruyaert, Cristina de Middel, Susan Meiselas, George Rodger, Chris Steele-Perkins, Alec Soth, Larry Towell and many more.
Click here to see all the images in the sale – but you’ll need to make your choices quickly, as the sale only runs for a week, until Sunday 25 October, 6PM EST (10pm GMT).
Magnum square prints are printed on 6 x 6in (15.24 x 15.24cm) archival paper; the image size is 5.5 inches (14cm) on the longest side.
Each print costs $100 and is signed or estate-stamped, and will not be made available outside the sale window.
Buy a collectable print for just $100
With a short sale window, the 100 photographs in the sale are very collectable – like this 1980 picture captured on a subway platform in New York City by Bruce Davidson.
“I took this image on the elevated M Line at the Myrtle Avenue-Wyckoff Avenue stop in Bushwick, Brooklyn, as part of my Subway series,” he remembers.
“I saw this wonderful color-play between the two women – one wore a yellow dress with green shoes, the other was in red.
“As I was getting ready to click the shutter, the wind caught the dress of the women in yellow. It wasn't blowing it up around her knees like a Marilyn Monroe picture, it was just fluffing it. It was a delicate moment.”
Many classic Magnum photos are available
Many striking black and white images appear in the sale, including Elliott Landy’s distinctive portrait of folk music legend Bob Dylan from 1968.
“I was asked to photograph Dylan for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post,” recalls Landy. “I drove up from NYC to his house in Woodstock and was briefly introduced by a friend, who quickly sped off, leaving me alone with the most famous and mysterious person of my generation.
“Bob told me how much he liked my photos of The Band, grabbed his guitar and began playing while I took pictures. He wandered around his property and I followed with my camera, expecting perfect moments to appear by themselves. It occurred to me that millions of people would be thrilled to be ten feet away from Dylan while he was playing and singing but it felt normal to me. I was only focused on composing good images.
“Although he was comfortable with me, he was nervous in front of the camera, and his uneasiness made it difficult for me. I was never the kind of photographer who talked people into feeling good. I let them be the way they were and photographed it. Because I flowed with whatever mood the subject was in, rather than trying to change how they were feeling, the person usually relaxed after a while and the photograph emerged.”
You can also buy a print of Martin Luther King taken by Bob Henriques, and the French poet, artist and filmmaker Jean Cocteau – photographed with actress Ricki Soma and dancer Leo Coleman by Philippe Halsmann.
Many contemporary works feature in the sale
Many contemporary works are included in the sale. ‘The Arrival’ by Aperture photographer Diana Markosian is one example, and relates to the theme of the sale with its suggestion of touching something that felt untouchable.
“My family arrived in America in 1996,” recalls Diana.
“The Soviet Union had long collapsed, and by then, so had my parents’ marriage. We had spent nights in our tiny Moscow apartment watching the 1980s American soap opera Santa Barbara. Full of sunlit palm trees and wealthy Californians, it was the first American show to be broadcast in post-Soviet Russia.
“For my mom, Santa Barbara represented a dream, something far away from what my family’s life had become. Inspired by the show, she became a mail-order bride, taking my brother and me to America with her.”
Other Aperture photographers with works in the ‘Works of Imagination’ sale include Stephen Tayo, David Benjamin Sherry and Hassan Hajjaj.
Hajjij's ‘Kesh Angels’ is one such work – an image of veiled women riding motorbikes in his native Morocco.
“I called them Kesh Angels – with Kesh short for Marrakech, and Angels from the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. In a few images, they’re wearing their own clothing.
“The only props I gave them were some socks and heart-shaped sunglasses, just to have a bit of fun with the cliché of rock stars or bikers in leather jackets.
“There were four cinemas in my town when I was growing up in Morocco. I remember the movie posters they’d put in their windows. They had these powerful single images your mind could latch onto, allowing anyone who couldn’t afford a ticket to imagine the whole film.
“That’s what I wanted to create here—a still from a movie you haven’t seen.”
A brilliantly executed study of America's Western landscape by David Benjamin Sherry is also available in the latest Magnum Square Print Sale.
“In the last decade, I’ve traveled and photographed extensively throughout the Western National Forests and National Parks,” the photographer notes.
“In doing so, I’ve revisited famous Western landscapes seen in the historic photographs of Carleton Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge, William Henry Jackson, and Ansel Adams.
“I discovered that many of these iconic landscapes – so crucial to our collective understanding of the American West – were deteriorating, affected by human interference. The pictures I took, which began as an homage to the legacy of grand Western landscape photography, evolved into an opportunity to build on it.
“Like my forebears, I use an 8-by-10-inch large-format film camera, which allows for an unrivaled level of detail.”
Essential info about this Square Print Sale
‘Works of Imagination’, Magnum’s Square Print Sale in collaboration with Aperture, runs from Monday 19 October at 9AM EST (2pm GMT) to Sunday, 25 October, 6PM EST (10pm GMT).
Visit the Magnum Shop to see all the images in the sale – but don't leave it too late, because this is a limited time offer!