The Decisive Network: Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market

The Decisive Network: Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market

by Nadya Bair

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Since its founding in 1947, the legendary Magnum Photos agency has been telling its own story about photographers who were witnesses to history and artists on the hunt for decisive moments. Based on unprecedented archival research, The Decisive Network unravels Magnum’s mythologies to offer a new history of what it meant to shoot, edit, and sell news images after World War II.
Nadya Bair shows that between the 1940s and 1960s, Magnum expanded the human-interest story to global dimensions while bringing the aesthetic of news pictures into new markets. Working with a vast range of editorial and corporate clients, Magnum made photojournalism integral to postwar visual culture. But its photographers could not have done this alone. By unpacking the collaborative nature of photojournalism, this book shows how picture editors, sales agents, spouses, and publishers helped Magnum photographers succeed in their assignments and achieve fame. Bair concludes in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when changing market conditions led Magnum to consolidate its brand. In that moment, Magnum’s photojournalists became artists and their assignments oeuvres. Bridging art history, media studies, cultural history, and the history of communication, The Decisive Network transforms our understanding of the photographic profession and the global circulation of images in the predigital world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520300354
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 07/07/2020
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 722,233
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Nadya Bair is a Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art.

Table of Contents

1. Photo Agencies and the Magnum Model 
2. Human-Interest Stories from the Postwar World 
3. Freelancing for Life 
4. Traveling for Holiday 
5. Shooting for Corporations 
6. Magnum Systems, Magnum Mythologies 
Conclusion: The Magnum Archive 


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