The collection consists of photographs from Magnum Photos’ New York bureau, dating from 1929 to 2004. Black-and-white gelatin silver prints make up the bulk of the collection, but also included are a few color prints, ink jet prints, and copy transparencies. The collection include images of major world events, celebrities, family life, poverty, religion and social affairs.
Press prints are the working documents that Magnum editors would carry or send around to newspaper magazine editors, advertising directors and others. They would be used to show the editors the images available from Magnum’s stable of photographers around the world. The back of the prints were stamped by editors after their use, with information including dates, page numbers and more. Notes made by people at all parts of the transaction, including the photographers, are also on the prints. The stamps, signatures, notes and more add provenance and history to many of the prints in the collection.
Images of icons from Picasso to Marilyn Monroe, from Sinatra to Gandhi, and from Castro to a young Queen Elizabeth coexist in the collection with depictions of international conflicts, political unrest and cultural strife. Included are famous photos from the Spanish Civil War, the D-Day landings and the Six-Day War, as well as unforgettable scenes of historic events: the rise of democracy in India, Afghanistan and Iraq; the U.S. Civil Rights movement; the Rwandan genocide; and much more.
Photographers in the archive include: Abbas, Bob Adelman, Antoine d'Agata, Chris Anderson, Alecio de Andrade, Eve Arnold, Micha Bar-Am, Bruno Barbey, Eddie Becker, Jonas Bendiksen, Ian Berrie, Ian Berry, Werner Bischof, René Burri, Cornell Capa, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Chien-Chi Chang,
Martin Dain, Henri Dauman, Bruce Davidson, Luc Delahaye, Raymond Depardon, Michelangelo Durazzo, Thomas Dworzak, Nikos Economopoulos, Elliott Erwitt, Misha Erwitt, Martine Franck, Stuart Franklin, Leonard Freed, Roland Freeman, Paul Fusco, Cristina García Rodero, Charles Gatewood, Jean Gaumy, Bruce Gilden, Burt Glinn, Jim Goldberg, Ed Grazda, Philip Jones Griffiths, Harry Gruyaert, Ara Güler, Ernst Haas, Philippe Halsman, Hiroshi Hamaya, Charles Harbutt, Erich Hartmann, David Alan Harvey, Bob Henriques, Thomas Hoepker, David Hurn, Torre Johnson, Richard Kalvar, Carl de Keyzer, Kent Klich, Josef Koudelka, Hiroji Kubota, Joachim Ladefoged, Elliott Landy, Mark Leong, Guy Le Querrec, Erich Lessing, Xiao Ming Li, Herbert List, Paul Lowe, Danny Lyon, Xiao-hu Ma, Alex Majoli, Roger Malloch, Constantine Manos, Peter Marlow, Fred Mayer, Chris Maynard, Steve McCurry, Susan Meiselas, Gideon Mendel, Wayne Miller, Inge Morath, John Nance, Michael Nichols, Trent Parke, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Gilles Peress, Gueorguy Pinkhassov, Mark Power, Dölf Preisig, Raghu Rai, Seymour Raskin, Eli Reed, Marc Riboud, Eugene Richards, Miguel Rio Branco, George Rodger, Jinx Rodger, Lise Sarfati, Ferdinando Scianna, David "Chim" Seymour, Marilyn Silverstone, Helen Foster Snow, Alec Soth, Bill Stanton, Chris Steele-Perkins, Dennis Stock, Kryn Taconis, Nicolas Tikhomiroff, Larry Towell, Burk Uzzle, John Vink, Alex Webb, Adam Wiseman, Yinxian Wu, Donovan Wylie, and Patrick Zachmann.
A document containing FAQs about the collection is available online or in the Reading Room.