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Magnum Podcasts

Just before leaving for a WE without internet (and LS)… And now for those who like to see photographs on small screens (but with audio): Magnum launches its podcasts. Check in at www.magnuminmotion.com

by [a former member] at 2006-04-13 18:33:22 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) a no Internet place , Cambodia | Bookmark | | Report spam→

It’s great to see Magnum embracing these new methods of dissemination.

Now if only I had a video ipod…

BTW, when are we going to see an essay of yours on Magnum in Motion, John?

by David Azia | 13 Apr 2006 18:04 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
When they’ll think about me… And when I will have a video iPod…

by [former member] | 13 Apr 2006 18:04 | a no Internet place, Cambodia | | Report spam→
Just so that no one misinterprets this thread… You don’t need an ipod video to view video podcasts. They will simply play on itunes. And as for the magnum podcast, it can also be viewed as a quicktime movie.

I wouldn’t want anyone to not see the work because of a misunderstanding.

by Art Rothfuss I I I | 13 Apr 2006 19:04 | Caracas, Venezuela | | Report spam→
Its may be a sign of desperation…..Magnum is becoming more and more irrelevant. In a way photography has become much more democratic….there is a lot more talent around than ever, and the magazines are tighter with the buck than they were before.

Lightstalkers, for example, is an idea that was unthinkable ten years ago, and is a bit underutilized. Shinji and co. do a great job, but this could be a lot more, and for all I know there might be things planned…

Thats why I see Magnum as a dinosaur really. Ir really is extinct although it doesn’t know it yet…..the photography that produced Magnum doesn’t exist anymore. This is a new era and the level of competition is much more even.

by [former member] | 13 Apr 2006 19:04 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
People have been saying that about Magnum for years. And yes, photography has become more ‘democratic’, but have we seen a commensurate increase in the number of talented photographers? I’m not so sure.

There’s no doubt that there are many talented photographers out there (and many of them on the LS website), but our noticing these talents is probably more the result of the Internet allowing us to see their work.

Also, I think that some of the new recruits (in particular Jonas Bendiksen) are absolutely amazing. So it’s not like they’re shooting themselves in the foot and destined for collapse…

Fact is, photography isn’t what it used to be (or so I gather from the history books ;), and multimedia presentations are a great way for Magnum to show off its talent. I don’t see how it’s an act of desperation. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

by David Azia | 13 Apr 2006 20:04 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I am not so sure that Magnum produces work that you see nowhere else. I think that as with any agency, it is those that are more successful at marketing themselves, and their photographers, than the others, that will maintain the higher levels of market awareness and perceived uniqueness.

by ABC | 13 Apr 2006 20:04 | San Francisco, United States | | Report spam→
“I think that as with any agency, it is those that are more successful at marketing themselves, and their photographers, than the others, that will maintain the higher levels of market awareness and perceived uniqueness.”

And where else do you see that kind of marketing and promotion but at Magnum? They were the ones that started it all. The Magnum name has a life of its own, there are Magnum books (Magnum looks at sports, Magnum Landscapes, etc); there are Magnum exhibitions; there are Magnum events; and now there is Magnum in Motion, etc etc. Years ago I tried to talk the people at Black Star into thinking like this. They produced one oversized, overpriced and overdone tome. And Black Star had an archive you wouldnt believe. WWI, WWII, the whole history of the 20th Century. It is all at Ryerson University now. And where is Black Star?

You cannot compare any other agency to Magnum on this head, for longevity, for embodying an ideal of photography, and for investing in its name. Yes, other agencies do well placing their people. Saba and then Redux, because of its charismatic owner, has done well by its photographers. But the only agency that is rivalling Magnum now in its thinking both promotionally and in the kinds of stories Magnum symbolizes is of course VII. And they are giving it a good run for the money. They are small, light and fast. They are constantly looking to get the VII name out there: there are VII conferences, VII tutorials, VII exhibitions. Even books now, I think. They learned their lessons well.

Magnum is undeniably at a crossroads, but it has been for a long time. All charismatic movements eventually get bogged down in institutionalism (read Max Weber). And there are the usual spats between members, the rivalry between Paris and NY, and god knows what else. But there is also a crop of young photographers hard at work and producing. There is also a group of more established older ones still producing rivetting work (Cristina Rodero, anyone? John Vink, right here? Larry Towell? Josef Koudelka, etc). Lots and lots of good stuff coming out of the agency and keeping the standards high for all of us.

Are there others out there just as good? You bet. I can name a handful right here from LS: Marcus, Bruno, Teru, Balazs, Michael, and the list goes on and on. (btw, I am not talking about all photography, basically just “reportage” with one “art” photographer in the bunch!). Andy is very right in a way: the old agency way is changing, and none of us knows what will take its place. The agency still serves a purpose, but more and more of us are independent now, or quasi independent in some way. And the net has changed our medium, our distribution modes, our working habits. LS comes out of all that, and it is certainly underutilized; its potential has yet to be realized. But LS stays fresh and alive because it is not an organization or institution of any sort, it’s not an agency, and it is not a “career” tool, though it can function like a virtual agency for you, and it certainly is helping some people’s careers along. Maybe it is a community and an ethic for its time, just as Magnum was a community or ethic for its time. What will come of it depends on each of you, because you are free to contribute whatever you wish.

But I dont think there will ever be another entity quite like Magnum. The very fact that it still exists, when many think it is irrelevant or a fossil, and continues to gather to itself the best photographers of its time (practically every Gene Smith award winner is or has been a member), testifies to the power of that siren call that Magnum has broadcast for half a century. The industry has gone through huge changes and all the older agencies are gone. Magnum endures, and while you may not like much of what you see there nowadays, there is still a ferment there like no other agency. There is an ethic or an idea about photography, fought over, bandied about, dragged off in a tantrum, and returned with truculent glares. I have never seen the like in any other agency. So two cheers for the motley crew that run it.

by Jon Anderson | 13 Apr 2006 20:04 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Right, Jon – totally agreed with your points – Magnum has become a “brand”, and they do it very well. VII is developing its brand. Other agencies have a weaker brand image i.e. what the public associates with their name.

My original answer referred to the photographers at Magnum taking pictures like nobody else. I have to disagree with that. Sure, the agency will select the top few of those who apply to join them. And to ensure that they have a continually fresh supply of new talent that can be marketed and turned in to a new print run of books, calendars, posters etc, of course they will continue to hold portfolio review sessions. The thing is, Magnum was in the hole for many many years, not making a cent in profit and bordering on collapse. It took the likes of Salgado, with his approach to doing high paying corporate photography to offset the low paying photojournalism work, and some savvy new book-keeping, to get the agency back on its feet. Since that happened, it really has been all about the bottom line, and rightly so – that should be the same for any business. I love to take photographs for a living but am delighted that I have a marketing MBA under my belt to know how to MAKE a living from taking photographs. When we are browsing the bookshelves at Borders, we are likely to stop when we see “Magnum” because we associate the name with a certain type and quality of work. However, similar, maybe even better quality maybe in the next book over. But we may never get to that other book because the Magnum brand caught us first.

by ABC | 13 Apr 2006 21:04 | San Francisco, United States | | Report spam→
I know Mike, I was just using your words as a convenient spring board. Nothing I say in that post is news to anyone and it is quite clear that one neednt have anything to do with Magnum in order to have a thriving career. But Magnum symbolizes something that is rarely found outside its walls, and it has nothing to do with the bottom line and never did. Capa and the rest may have been terrible businesspeople but I will take them over Getty any day, even today. It is fine to know how to make a living from photographs, but frankly I am more interested in knowing how to make the photographs first. It is a matter of priorities: the bottom line is there, at the bottom. When bottom line thinking rules, however, mediocrity ensues. They need to be kept in a careful balance. When Howard was alive and ran Black Star the balance was kept. When he passed away a rigid form of bottomline thinking took over, and the spirit was choked right off. The point is, what other entity in the history of photography has had the same influence on the idea of photography? Now that is quite a legacy, and all the while dancing on the edge of financial ruin.

by Jon Anderson | 13 Apr 2006 21:04 (ed. Apr 13 2006) | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Ha! Davin, with all respect, I think you have Magnumania! I bet there is not a single LS member who knows JK’s work as well as you do.

by Jon Anderson | 13 Apr 2006 22:04 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Davin,

I had the chance of working with Lise Sarfati when I was doing my internship at Magnum in New York. Being the only French speaking intern certainly helped and it was the most chilled out week I had during my time there.

We spent the week hanging around in the street, going to B&H and Alkit while she checked out medium format cameras, and at the lab where she was getting pictures printed. Basically coffee, cigarettes and many interesting conversations.

And yeah, the rivalry between Paris and NY was noticeable. Especially when she started smoking cigs in the office.

I wish I was back there, doing my internship, rather than working on my bloody dissertation!

by David Azia | 13 Apr 2006 22:04 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
well we have talked about this before Davin. In the case of Jk there are few that shoot with that kind of drive and constancy, but that is his nature. My own feeling is that you have to shoot within your own limitations, come to know who you are, what drives you, and you will find the photographer in you. I have said this before, but it bears repeating: when Miles Davis was playing with Dizzy all he wanted was to play like the master. But of course he couldnt. He had to learn that he was no virtuouso, that he would never out bop Dizzy, come to terms with those limits on his personal ability, in order to find the freedom of being Miles. Well once he found that voice, he became Miles: “Sometimes you have to play for a long time to be able to play like yourself.” That is a good motto for an old dark horse like myself, and I bet it holds true for most of us.

Each has a genius, a daemon, that goads you and makes you who you are. the trick is learning its nature, and following through. We tend to think of genius as unbounded power, amplitude, horizonless thinking. It simply isnt so. Genius is turning your flaws, your inability, to account. Genius is being smart enough, like Miles, to recognize that Dizzy is Dizzy, and there is no point in copying him. Find your weaknesses and you will find your strengths.

by Jon Anderson | 13 Apr 2006 22:04 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Oh my — you all sure know how to inspire a novice photojournalist. I just finished watching the essay of Thomas Dworzak’s coverage of New Orleans and I am so moved by the combination of the images and his spoken commentary with dubbed in sounds. Thanks to posts on LS I just purchased a Marantz PMD 660 to add audio to my slide presentations and now I see an amazing way it can all be blended so effectively. Many mahalos for bringing this to our attention, John.

Kristin

by Kristin Wohlschlagel | 13 Apr 2006 22:04 | Hilo, Hawaii, United States | | Report spam→
Alvarez Bravo was full of impish good advice! Getting back on topic, does anyone else besides me find that the Magnum in Motion slideshows are timed a bit fast? I keep wanting to dwell on the images, without having to touch the controls, just naturally. I think the viewer can be credited with enough of an attention span, even in these post-MTV days, to allow for more than a few seconds per image.

by Jon Anderson | 13 Apr 2006 23:04 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
:-) What a great discussion! John, I forwarded this LS-Thread to Claudine. I don’t think she knows that you are such a big Magnum In Motion fan. And Art thanks for pointing out that you don’t need an i-Pod to view the new Podcasts. Just view them on our website. Have fun shooting all together!

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2006 02:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
I am agree that Magnum in Motion is a great things, something new and nice to look at. I like also to see the Larry Towell backstage footage, they should do more on them, to see photos but also to read thoughts, feelings and motivation, how to arrive to a reportage, why to choose to work on some subject and so on.

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2006 03:04 | Shanghai, China | | Report spam→
David, you are right, desperation was perhaps the wrong word. And photography is not what it used to be…..but I am very, very sure that there are more talented photographers now than ever before, and I have been in this game since 1974, and when I did Day in the Life of America with Ric Smolan and 100 photogs, there could be 2,000 now.

Speaking of Jon, with all due respect, Black Star had more of a brand identity than Jon says, but it was a corporate brand, and Ben Chapnick made a lot of money for a lot of photographers by being really the first agency to market photojournalists to corporations for annual reports….he was way out ahead in the curve on this, in the early 70’s. This may not have been what you wanted Jon, but to continue bashing them for dropping the ball as you see it may be a bit unfair. I got a nice check for the sale of the old prints to Ryerson, or whatever it is, and they were just 8×10s.

And unlike others they never sold the agency to Getty…..so careful with that please.

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2006 23:04 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
David, you are right, desperation was perhaps the wrong word. And photography is not what it used to be…..but I am very, very sure that there are more talented photographers now than ever before, and I have been in this game since 1974, and when I did Day in the Life of America with Ric Smolan and 100 photogs, there could be 2,000 now.

Speaking of Jon, with all due respect, Black Star had more of a brand identity than you say, but it was a corporate brand, and Ben Chapnick made a lot of money for a lot of photographers by being really the first agency to market photojournalists to corporations for annual reports….he was way out ahead in the curve on this, in the early 70’s. This may not have been what you wanted Jon, but to continue bashing them for dropping the ball as you see it may be a bit unfair. I got a nice check for the sale of the old prints to Ryerson, or whatever it is, and they were just 8×10s.

And unlike others they never sold the agency to Getty or Gates…..so careful with that please.

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2006 23:04 (ed. Apr 14 2006) | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
By the way, I liked the essays on the Magnum site except “Niagra.”, which is ahem, a piece of crap. And Hoepker and Towell like have zero in commom, except they both pay the agency 50% I suppose……so, whatever. Go look through the back issues of Blueeyes if you are curious about the new photography…..OK, that should be enough controversy for tonight…..

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2006 23:04 (ed. Apr 14 2006) | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
I agree that Magnum in Motion is a positve and potentially it may find a new younger audience as long as it is marketed away from Magnem’s traditional base. Most western kids will know it as icecream.
Magnum as a spent force come dinasour, maybe, you take away human desperation aspects in images and the cupboard becomes a lot barer. Of course you will get interesting images in a ill funded mental asylumn in the back of Latvia or Peru. It’s like fishing in a bucket.
I wish anyone who is good at their craft all the best and if Magnum becomes more relevent it is a bonus

by Imants | 15 Apr 2006 01:04 | 7 Hills, Australia | | Report spam→
Andy, what you say is true, and I dont mean to short change Black Star’s extremely interesting history. Black Star beyond a doubt was an amazing place and I cannot tell you how pleased and proud I was to play a small part there. For my comments on what Black Star was like when I joined, see this interview
Black Star did of course have its reputation, and the use of photojournalists in corporate work was still a feature when I was there, and I did benefit from that. But I stand by what I wrote. After Howard died, for a variety of complex reasons, Black Star lost its spirit, its vision. I am not “bashing them for dropping the ball,” I am simply observing that this happened, and there is no denying it. BS started leaking photographers like a sieve after 1997, and now it is a mere shadow of itself.

Black Star still has the coolest name in the biz! Btw, back issues of Blueeyes will be available at their new online site. John Loomis says that lots of new things are on the horizon for them.

by Jon Anderson | 15 Apr 2006 08:04 (ed. Apr 15 2006) | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→

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Participants

David Azia, Pic. editor/Photographer David Azia
Pic. editor/Photographer
London , United Kingdom
Art Rothfuss I I I, Photographer/Dad Art Rothfuss I I I
Photographer/Dad
(a3photo.com)
Rochester, Ny , United States ( ROC )
ABC, ABC
Washington Dc , United States
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
Kristin Wohlschlagel, Nurse Kristin Wohlschlagel
Nurse
Kea'au, Hi , United States ( ITO )
Imants, gecko hunter Imants
gecko hunter
" The Boneyard" , Australia


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