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Magnum Photos

The most revolutionary and successful photo agency in history, synonymous of highly professional and outstanding quality for photography.

When we talk about photojournalism, we can actually divide its existence in two eras. Before Magnum and after Magnum. Born out of an attitude of breaking up with old rules. A step into history, by putting ethics and dedication together and creating an alliance, unique in history till these days. These words may help a bit in understanding the prestige, influence and power that Magnum has in the world of photojournalism and photography itself. It started with an agreement between four brilliant photographers that wanted to do what they loved and who were tired to see their work used and interpreted in ways diverging from their own personal view on the fact. They wanted to go after things that mattered for them and do the job the way they think they should do, without having to stress about editorial requirements for the production and publication of their images. The name of what they started gained the respect and recognition from the world and became the highest standard of the field. Making it clearer, four great photographers internationally known for their unique work - Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David “Chim” Seymour - while having a dinner in the restaurant of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1947, over a bottle of champagne, founded the Magnum Photo Agency. As main principles of this revolutionary brand, photographer members would have the copyright over their images, the images would not be modified or cropped for printing unless under authorization of the photographer for so and images would only be published with caption if the latter would be the one written by Magnum. Magnum brought for its members a freedom and security that had never before been seen. Its founders were since long highly classified in what they did, their names were strong before magazine and newspaper editors and they gave the agency, right from its birth, a value that the media would pay in order to use the fine material the agency produced.

Maybe for you Magnum might not sound as something famous and consequently not strong and influential, but once you peer a little bit deeply into their story and see the photos these photographers have made since the agency’s foundation, you realize that they actually shaped the way we see the history of the world during the second half of the 20th century and up to now. An almost infinite volume of photos across the internet, easily recognized by their historical importance belongs to this brand. Adding to the group that created the agency, many other photographers also remarkable in their work such as Steve McCurry, Elliott Erwitt, Susan Meiselas and James Natchwey joined the brand along its existence. The invitation system working on the admittance of new members incorporated extremely respected professionals to the group, giving the agency the constant impetus it