NEW YORK, NY.-
Often compared to an artists sketchbook, a contact sheet is the photographers first look at what he or she has captured on film, and provides a uniquely intimate glimpse into the working process. It gives a behind-the-scenes sense of walking alongside photographers and seeing through their eyes. Through May 6, 2012, Magnum Contact Sheets are on view at the International Center of Photograpy
, revealing how Magnum photographers have captured and edited their best shots from the 1930s to the present.
The images featuredboth celebrated, iconic photographs and lesser-known surpriseencompass more than 70 years of history: from the Normandy landings by Robert Capa, the 1968 Paris riots by Bruno Barbey, and the war in Chechnya by Thomas Dworzak, to René Burris filmic sequence of close-ups of Che Guevara, classic New Yorkers by Bruce Gilden, and Eve Arnolds famous portrait of the charismatic and image-savvy Malcolm X.
The contact sheet embodies much of the appeal of photography itself: the sense of time unfolding, a durable trace of movement through space, an apparent authentication of photographys claims to transparent representation of reality, said ICP Associate Curator Kristen Lubben, who organized the exhibition. It records each step on the route to arriving at a particular image, and thus provides a unique window into the creative process.
This exhibition, through these fascinating and usually private series of images (many of them previously unpublished), celebrates what and how Magnum photographers saw along the way for nearly a century.
Coinciding with the publication of Magnum Contact Sheets (Thames & Hudson), edited by Lubben, the exhibition will include a selection of some of the 139 contact sheets from the book.
The exhibition functionsin the words of Magnum photographer Martin Parras an epitaph to the contact sheet, marking the end of the analog film era and the rise of digital photography.
Magnum Contact Sheets provides a fascinating and surprisingly intimate survey of an aspect of the craft of the photographer
To be able to follow dozens upon dozens of the most recognized images of the 20th century backwards through the selection process gives these pictures a new immediacy and vitality. Going through the contact sheets for, say, Burris 1963 session with a cigar-smoking Che Guevara, or Hiroji Kubotas series of shots of Buddhist monks praying before the extraordinary Golden Rock on the side of a cliff in Burma, or, more intimately, Elliott Erwitts studies of his wife and newborn baby, one experiences something of the excitement the photographers must have felt when they first trained their loupes upon these fresh-made, still-damp sheets, said John Banville in a review of the book in The Telegraph.
Among the many acknowledged photographic greats included in Magnum Contact Sheets are Henri CartierBresson, Erwitt, and Inge Morath, as well as representatives of Magnums latest generation, such as Jonas Bendiksen, ICP alumna Alessandra Sanguinetti, and Alec Soth, winner of ICPs 2011 Infinity Award for Publication.