4 October - 2 November 2014

a Photoworks production

Magnum: One Archive, Three Views | BPB14

Magnum, One Archive, Three Views Exhibition© Giovanny Estrella

Three selectors are challenged to reinterpret how social, cultural and political inclinations have shaped Magnum’s globally renowned archive.

Formed in 1947 as a photography collective, Magnum built its global reputation on representing photographers and preserving their authorship and creative control. Over its 67 year history, Magnum’s photographers generated a rich archive of prints and material which, in the pre-digital age, was the mainstay of its image licensing business and which is now conducted almost entirely online.

Magnum, De La Warr Pavilion and Photoworks invited historical and visual anthropologist Elizabeth Edwards, photographer Hannah Starkey and multi-media artist Uriel Orlow to experiment and interpret the resin print archive of Magnum’s London office, comprising over 68,000 prints and representing a portion of the global archive which counts nearly 1 million prints.

Guided by the former Magnum archivist, Nick Galvin, the three selectors are challenged to recontextualise this once editorially focused archive and devise an exhibition reflective of their own areas of interest. The exhibition highlights the process of editing, the architecture of a historical archive and the transition from an everyday, editorial working tool.

Starkey’s interest arises from the female perspective and how work is subsequently engendered; Edwards focuses on the background and overlooked spaces in photographs, while Orlow teases out pictorial associations.

One Archive, Three Views is the first time London’s resin coated archive has been accessed for academic research and formed the basis of a curated exhibition.

The resin archive, catalogued thematically, presents a snapshot in time, an imperfect history, and the selectors have worked individually and jointly to investigate narrative gaps and absent histories by looking beneath the mythology of Magnum.


A Photoworks, Magnum and De La Warr Pavilion Co-commission for Brighton Photo Biennial 2014.

This event is accessible to wheelchair users.