75 Years of Magnum: Inside The Eclectic Square Print Sale

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Precedents: Magnum’s Square Print Sale
Renee Casella, Marjo Selin, and Renate Holland. Ms. Olympia bodybuilding competition. New York City. USA. 1988Photography by Susan Meiselas

Celebrating the agency’s 75th year, this iteration of Magnum’s famous sale offers the opportunity to collect a triptych of works by the likes of Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr, and Alec Soth

The Magnum Square Print Sale is back. For those unfamiliar with the event, the twice-yearly, week-long sale offers photography fans the chance to buy a piece of photographic history for just £100. Featuring an array of museum-quality prints from some of the medium’s most respected names, this special iteration of the sale celebrates Magnum’s 75th anniversary and will see 50 per cent of proceeds donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in aid of the crisis in Ukraine.

Each season sees Magnum invite its roster of image-makers to select a work centred around a given theme. Past years have explored everything from obsession and ideas of escape, to ‘new horizons’ and ‘the unexpected’. This time, though, Magnum is doing things a bit differently: in the first of a three-part series which will carry on throughout the year to “form a full curation”, photographers have delved into their personal archives to unearth works which signal the start of something new. Titled Precedents, these photos can be literal – perhaps a work from their early career – or a photograph that marks a change in perspective, real-world histories, or working practices. Each story, says Magnum, can be followed and collected through upcoming sales to form a triptych.

The resulting 90 images range from the personal to the political. Martin Parr, for example, selects an early work shot in 1970 Blackpool which speaks to his enduring love of the British seaside, while Susan Meiselas reflects on representation and the hardships of female photographers with a 1988 shot of the Miss Olympia bodybuilding competition. Elsewhere, the estate of Ernest Cole has chosen a powerful shot of Black miners in 1966 Apartheid South Africa, and the estate of Bob Henriques presents a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr addressing the crowds in Washington DC in 1957. The sale includes a number of other acclaimed names, like Alec Soth, Eve Arnold, Matt Black, Cristina de Middel, David Hurn, Inge Morath, Harry Gruyaert, Hannah Price, Sabiha Cimen, Marilyn Silverstone, Khalik Allah, Thomas Hoepker, Olivia Arthur, to name a few.

A celebration of Magnum’s 75-year history, the photos on sale create a compelling survey of the agency, revealing a tapestry of stories which speak to the importance of photojournalism and the power of photography to offer us new ways of looking at the world. Explore the Precedents Square Print Sale here.

Precedents: Magnum’s Square Print Sale runs from March 14 – 20, 2022. Signed and estate-stamped, museum-quality, 6x6” prints will be available for £100, for seven days only.