The Magnum Square Print Sale is back, this time exploring the theme of ‘hidden’
For the latest print sale from photographic behemoth Magnum, this time in partnership with Aperture, the theme is Hidden. Over 120 signed or stamped photographs, each exploring the notion of Hidden – in both abstract and literal ways – are available to buy in the flash sale this week for $100. The list of photographers taking part in the sale is as impressive as ever; below, a small sampling of the beautiful photographs available to buy this week.
Joel Meyerowitz (above)
“This photograph could be the opening line of a joke: ‘So, a girl rides up to a bar on a horse...’” says Joel Meyerowitz. “But really what happened was that I was there getting some ice cream for my kids when this girl rode up to the window on her horse and ordered two lobster rolls and some fries; as soon as I saw the girl, the horse, and the ice cream sign, I saw the photograph.” Taken in Provincetown – the Cape Cod resort town, and the title of Meyerowitz’s latest book of portraits made there in the 1980s – the picture showcases the rich, warm colour photography that Meyerowitz made his name with in the latter half of the 20th century.
Justine Kurland’s series Girl Pictures was taken between 1997 and 2002, the photographer staging shots in the American wilderness inspired by teenage runaways (“The girls in these photographs have gathered together in solidarity, claiming territory outside the margins of family and institutions,” she told AnOther as the series was exhibited last year). For Kurland, the aim was to spark powerful new behaviours in groups of girls. “I wanted to make the invisible communion between girls visible, foregrounding their experience as primary and irrefutable,” she says. “Their collective awakening would ignite and spread through suburbs and schoolyards, calling to clusters of girls camped on stoops and the hoods of cars, or aimlessly wandering the neighbourhoods where they lived.”
For New York-based photographer Bruce Davidson, a picture he took 40 years ago of a man he briefly encountered on the subway is a perfect fit for the theme of ‘hidden’ as his subject’s face is in shadow. “This photograph was taken as part of an ongoing series of colour subway portraits in the early 1980s,” Davidson explains. “I used to explore different subway lines, taking them to the end and then back again. One day I spotted this young man on the subway train at Coney Island who absorbed so much bright sun he appeared to be radiant. His glowing skin tone seemed to match the chains around his neck, which James Agee would often refer to as ‘badges of being’... Although our meeting was momentary, he gave himself to the camera and then was gone, back into the bowels of Brooklyn.”
“When I was a boy, I used to pretend my little bed was a one-man spaceship,” says Alec Soth, whose photograph for Hidden depicts a room bathed in yellow light, a single bed taking up most of the narrow space. “It was a place to simultaneously explore my dreams and hide from the world. In some ways that’s how I now think of my camera.” Soth’s most recent photo book, I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating, is an intimate study of people and their personal spaces. “We’re human beings and we’re trying to figure out how these other human beings around us are functioning,” Soth told AnOther when the book was published.
American photographer Phyllis Galembo has devoted much of her career to documenting masquerade and ritual in places like Africa, Haiti and Mexico with her vibrant portraiture. “I am interested in all the details and that’s why I think when I photograph, I am really close to the person physically. There’s not that much space between me and them,” Galembo explained to AnOther earlier this year, as her book Mexico, Masks & Rituals was published. For this sale, Galembo has chosen a portrait she took in Haiti. “Kanaval troupes in Jacmel, Haiti, vary greatly in size, from several hundred members to just one individual, and a single troupe can include many different figures,” she says. “Some wear large papier-mâché heads that satirise local political figures; some invent fanciful figures and animals, while others perform narrative tales, often about slaves who escape masters, or tricksters who elude authority.”
“Because the night is when the city’s night creatures can go about their business, hidden under the cover of darkness, Patti Smith and the burgeoning punk scene found themselves a hidden part of the city – the Bowery – to create their Blank Generation in the 1970s,” says Godlis of his portrait of Smith, taken after dark in New York. Published as a monograph entitled History is Made at Night, Godlis was inspired to capture the city’s burgeoning punk scene after encountering Brassaï’s The Secret Paris of the 30s. “The revelation I took from Brassaï was that down on the Bowery, I could be a ‘street photographer’ at night,” Godlis explained to AnOther. “Brassaï the night-walker can be seen as a modern extension of the flâneur, someone who was idle, detached, frequently solitary, unencumbered by the constraints of family life and timetables, and could exist only in the metropolis.”
“My favourite photos of mine are the mistakes,” says Nan Goldin of her surreal, distorted photograph of Sunny in a swimming pool. “Sunny and I were at L’Hotel doing a fashion shoot for Vogue Paris. Sunny was more beautiful than the model. This picture was taken long before I ever held a digital camera. The intimacy between us allowed the camera the freedom to access the magic.” The profits from the sale of Goldin’s photograph will go to the photographer’s activism group P.A.I.N. – Prescription Addiction Intervention Now – which awareness to help those affected by the USA’s opioid addiction crisis by addressing the “toxic philanthropy in the art world” of the Sackler family, whose pharmaceutical company manufactured and sold Oxycontin.
40 years ago, Susan Meiselas spent time in Nicaragua, in the midst of the country’s civil war and revolution against the Somoza family’s dictatorship. Meiselas’ powerful photographs of a violent era in Nicaraguan history are recognised the world over, and have come to symbolise the spirit of rebellion. “Watching from afar as events rapidly unfold in Nicaragua today, I can’t help but think of the dreams that propelled the Nicaraguan people nearly 40 years ago,” she recalled last year. The photographer got close to Nicaraguan revolutionaries during her time in the country; this portrait, taken in the town of Monimbó, depicts how the rebels would hide their identities with traditional masks at the height of the fighting.
Mary Ellen Mark
Throughout her life and career, Mary Ellen Mark spent time with society’s marginalised, vulnerable and left-behind characters, making disarming and intimate photographs of the people she met. Mark spent ten days with the Damms in 1987 while on an assignment documenting homelessness in America, the family had just been removed from a homeless shelter and were living in their car. “While I was working with the Damm family, I thought about making a strong portrait of them in their car. It was impossible to take the photograph inside the car, because there just wasn’t enough space. Also, Runtley was a ferocious pit bull, and he would most surely bite me; the car was his territory,” Mark, who died in 2015, said in 2005. “On the last day, I asked them to stop their car near a railroad track, and I made this picture. I took several frames, but when Crissy spontaneously reached up and gently touched Jesse’s face, I knew that was the photograph.”
South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky’s submission for Hidden was taken in Beaufort West, where Subotzky documented the town’s people and culture. “I think it was on my sixth or seventh trip to Beaufort West that I went to the agricultural show... All the surrounding farmers bring in their best cows and sheep and horses to be judged, and everybody dresses up in cowboy hats and those funny cowboy ties, and there’s a fancy-dress competition, the winners depicted here in this photograph,” he explains. “It’s a real occasion. Shows like this are at the heart of the traditional white Afrikaans farming community.” Subotzky chose the rural town of Beaufort West as the subject for his series of the same name, and was inspired by David Goldblatt in his approach to creating a portrait of the town’s traditions.
Hidden, the Magnum Square Print Sale in Partnership with Aperture, is on from October 28 – November 1, 2019 (midnight EST). Signed or estate-stamped, museum-quality 6x6” prints by the world’s leading photographic artists for $100.