The Decisive Network: Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market [1 ed.]
 0520300351, 9780520300354

Table of contents :
Front matter
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

Citation preview



THE DECISIVE NETWORK Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market

Nadya Bair


University of California Press Oakland, California © 2020 by Nadya Bair Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Bair, Nadya, 1983- author. Title: The decisive network : Magnum Photos and the postwar image market / Nadya Bair. Description: Oakland, California : University of California Press, [2020] | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: lccn 2019036755 (print) | lccn 2019036756 (ebook) | isbn 9780520300354 (cloth) | isbn 9780520971790 (epub) Subjects: lcsh: Magnum Photos. | Documentary photography—History—20th century. | Photography—Marketing—Social aspects. | Photojournalism—Social aspects. Classification: lcc tr820.5 .b265 2020 (print) | lcc tr820.5 (ebook) | ddc 770—dc23 LC record available at LC ebook record available at Printed in Malaysia 29




27 8















For Ethan

Magnum’s Midcentury Network. Original artwork by Monica Ong Reed, Yale University Digital Humanities Laboratory.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Introduction / 1 Photo Agencies and the Magnum Model / 11 Human-Interest Stories from the Postwar World / 41 Freelancing for Life / 69 Traveling for Holiday / 111 Shooting for Corporations / 155 Magnum Systems, Magnum Mythologies / 193 Conclusion: The Magnum Archive / 225 Acknowledgments / 231 Notes / 235 Bibliography / 283 Index / 307



of Vogue editor Michel de Brunhoff on August 27, 1944, just after the Liberation of Paris, shows a room packed with the day’s leading photographers, magazine editors, and writers (fig. 1). Behind the dark-haired war photographer Robert Capa stands the Life editor John Morris. To Capa’s left are the photographers David (“Chim”) Seymour, in military uniform, and one over from him, Henri Cartier-Bresson. In the front row, Lee Miller is engrossed in conversation. Such figures had made World War II the most mediated event to date, yielding millions of photographs of the global conflict.1 As their images circulated widely in the United States and magazine subscriptions soared, the reading public began to expect that every significant event should be documented photographically. Holding glasses of champagne and putting their arms around each other, the photographers and editors huddled close and smiled for the camera. The war was on its way to being over, and they were elated. Within days, however, their celebrations were to be overshadowed by concerns about their future. This shared worry is the starting point for this book, N ANONYMOUS PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN AT THE HOME



A party at the home of Paris Vogue editor Michel de Brunhoff, August 27, 1944. unidentified photographer. © Magnum Photos. courtesy of International center of Photography.

which asks, What happened to the extensive system of press photography once World War II ended? three years later, three of the people in this photograph—the Hungarian-JewishAmerican capa, the French cartier-Bresson, and the Polish-Jewish-American Seymour— became the cofounders of Magnum Photos, a new picture agency that aimed to “carry on the business of photography in all its branches, in any part of the world.”2 With one office in new York and one in Paris, Magnum inaugurated two new business policies: photographers were the shareholders of the organization rather than its employees, meaning they took charge of Magnum’s editorial direction as well as its finances. And Magnum photographers, not their clients, would own the negatives and their copyrights. Magnum began by supplying weekly and monthly magazines with in-depth photographic essays about events around the globe: the lives of regular people, political transitions, personalities and celebrities, fashion, business, and even animals and children. not all of their coverage was exceptional or memorable, but many of their photographs became icons of the postwar world when they appeared in less ephemeral contexts such as photo books and touring exhibitions. By the late sixties, the rise of television news and a burgeoning art market for photography signaled the start of a new era. Leading magazines and competing photo agencies began to close their doors, but Magnum survived. now with offices in Paris, new York, London, and tokyo and a roster of over ninety photographers, Magnum has become a highly 2


respected and recognizable photographic brand. The Magnum name is inseparable from the “concerned” and “humanist” images that its founders made in the tumultuous decades after World War II, and Capa and Cartier-Bresson have become household names. The agency’s identity has been built through dozens of coffee-table books, traveling exhibitions, and lavish catalogs that rehearse the agency’s commitment to editorial freedom and applaud the emotional power of its iconic photographs.3 Such projects rarely reproduce the magazine spreads for which Magnum’s pictures were made.4 And in the effort to cover the entire seventy-plus years of Magnum’s photography, publications and exhibitions lose sight of the historical specificity of the immediate post-1945 era.5 Looking at Magnum’s photography on its own terms sidelines a much larger history of publishing and the press of which Magnum was an integral part. Photography has always been a mass medium and a form of communication, even when it was valued chiefly for its aesthetic power.6 We cannot study it without considering the industries and contexts for which it was made, or without asking how those industries facilitated photography’s aesthetic and technological development. Two other questions that inspired this book are as basic, and yet as complicated, as the first: What were the unique technological, cultural, and economic demands of photojournalism that Magnum navigated in the aftermath of World War II?7 And if Magnum was so important to post-1945 photography, how do we know so little beyond its self-produced, mythical narratives?8 Answering these questions requires more than reading the Magnum photographs and stories that appeared in print, or studying photographers’ contact sheets to get a sense of their working process.9 As Jason E. Hill and Vanessa R. Schwartz write in Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News, “no understanding of a news picture and its significance can bypass the material history of the making of the picture itself, nor the history of the media institutions and people that organize such pictures and transmit them to an eager and interested public.”10 In the effort to reconstruct Magnum’s early activities—that is, to understand Magnum’s practice and not just its images—I began to search for a paper trail, only to be told that no real archives existed.11 Rehearsing key mythologies about photographers’ creative independence and their impatience with bureaucratic management models, foundation directors, curators, and photographers’ spouses said that Magnum photographers did not work from shooting scripts or keep notes. Sales and assignments were, apparently, discussed over the phone and sealed with a handshake over martini lunches. Yet as I persisted, I found thousands of pages of letters, contracts, scripts, and story research notes in dozens of private and public collections in the U.S. and Europe that attested to a different story. The papers I accessed were rich in detail about Magnum’s New York bureau and the agency’s American clients, and as a result, this book focuses mostly on the United States. With a different archival base, a compendium history could be written from the perspective of Magnum’s Paris operations, which dealt with European magazines.12 Photographers averse to business could not have gone into business for themselves. Magnum’s founders were unabashed entrepreneurs who had an expert understanding of the industry of photojournalism. Traveling to remote locations, the photographers sent INTRODUCTION


streams of letters and telegrams to office staff in new York and Paris about what they were learning and photographing. through its international system of daily communication and coordination, Magnum anticipated magazines’ demands for global picture stories. the agency cannily reimagined the popular genre of the human-interest story—about the extraordinary and ordinary events that happened to everyday people—on a global scale while partnering with powerful magazine editors to assure that their work was published. the broad definition of photography with which Magnum worked beckons us to reconsider how we have been telling the history of the medium and to work across multiple fields, including art history, history, communication, and media studies.13 For Magnum, photography was a profession, a technology, an impetus for global travel, a form of communication and entertainment, and a mode of expression. Its photography resulted in undeveloped film, contact sheets, and press prints as well as caption sheets and story research. And it was bound up with the supports through which it circulated, especially the magazine page. If the medium in which the agency worked had any single defining quality, it was overproduction. And perhaps most obviously, Magnum’s photography was a commodity and a source of employment. taking this expansive view of Magnum’s photography is what allows me to tell a different story about the agency at a transformational moment for both photojournalism and for the world.14 HUMANISM AND CAPITALISM AFTER 1945

the “postwar” world in which Magnum was founded was not exactly peaceful. the wave of decolonization wars beginning in the 1940s, coupled with the rise of the cold War and its proxy conflicts, meant that numerous photographers took their cameras into new battles. two of Magnum’s founders died covering postwar conflicts in Indochina (capa, d. 1954) and the Suez (Seymour, d. 1956). War photography, already central to the photographers’ reputations in 1945, became important for Magnum’s legacy. And yet it was actually a small fraction of what Magnum—or any other photographer—covered on a regular basis.15 Magnum produced and sold massive numbers of pictures from around the world, and it also sold ideas about what those pictures could do. Between the late 1940s and 1960s, the agency brought the aesthetic and production mode of news photography into new markets. Many of its photographs, from classic to now forgotten, were produced as humanitarian aid promotion or for travel campaigns, corporate public relations, and as advertising. Shot on the move with 35mm cameras, Magnum’s photo essays exploited the human-interest angle and the spontaneous, action-packed look of journalism.16 they helped transform corporate annual reports into captivating illustrated publications about their global operations. Even life insurance ads started to look like photographic news.17 Magnum was at the forefront of these shifts, working systematically to make newsy pictures popular and ubiquitous. today, however, the agency’s early photographs are known as humanist documents: pictures that, by focusing on everyday people and events, created an identification between the viewer and subject and thus instilled empathy for the universal human condition.18 Such 4


pictures are often used as evidence of the founders’ pacifism and their hopeful dream that by emphasizing interconnectedness, the very aesthetic of Magnum’s photographs could help avert another global conflict.19 Yet some of the best-known humanist pictures acquired their reputations not on their aesthetic merit, but because of the universalizing captions that first accompanied them in magazines.20 Reprinted in books and exhibition catalogs for decades, the “careful humanist smokescreen” surrounding Ernst Haas’s photographs of returning POWs in Vienna, or David Seymour’s portrait of the orphan Tereska drawing her home, became accepted as the authoritative interpretation of Magnum’s pictures.21 At the same time, there is a lack of specificity about what humanist photography actually is. 22 Often the genre is defined by way of Edward Steichen’s 1955 blockbuster exhibition The Family of Man (which featured dozens of Magnum photographs) as well as the scathing critique of the show by Roland Barthes.23 When the exhibit came to France in 1956, Barthes famously accused Steichen of using photography to reinforce the saccharine tautology that everyone is born and dies without accounting for the weight of culture or history.24 The Family of Man is also the point at which most “postwar” histories of photography begin: not in 1945, but in 1955.25 We miss an important chapter in photography’s post-1945 development if we continue to reduce it to humanism and the global circulation of The Family of Man. Magnum opened shop at a moment when the scale and interconnectedness of the world captivated both the producers and consumers of popular culture: from Cold War warriors invested in the ascent of the American Century, to pacifists committed to seeing an international body govern “One World” in the atomic age.26 These competing visions of the postwar world have occupied intellectual histories of the twentieth century.27 Yet such ideas about the globe cannot be understood without considering the work of photography—and specifically, the work produced by Magnum’s peripatetic, cosmopolitan photographers—in shaping global consciousness for a full decade before The Family of Man. Amid the escalation of the Cold War, Magnum’s European photographers aligned their business practice within the liberal humanist ideology embodied by such organizations as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They shot pictures that, through careful editing and layout strategies, were used to uphold “the democratic principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect of men” promoted by the United Nations agencies.28 But Magnum did not stop there. As early as the start of the Marshall Plan in 1948, postwar universalism gave way to the global expansion of American corporate capitalism and the rise of international travel.29 Magnum rapidly kept up with and often anticipated the changing ways in which global consciousness manifested in the 1940s and 1950s. Much of what later became reframed as “humanist” began as photography in the service of global capitalism, because corporations and global industries relied on the same humaninterest aesthetic that Magnum produced for the press. Focusing on the lives of everyday people around the world, Magnum photographers shot travel features in Paris for the American magazine Holiday and explored oil reserves in Africa for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey’s house organ The Lamp. They capitalized on their cosmopolitan INTRODUCTION


reputations, allowing clients to promote them as progressive and cultured global emissaries. the photographers’ international backgrounds and commitment to news reporting worked in the service of promoting global capitalism, its industries, and its products. Instead of taking on such assignments begrudgingly and with the fear of “selling out,” photographers embraced the partnerships that allowed them to travel the world, master new technologies including color film, and produce work that they felt had documentary and aesthetic value. today scholars are still more drawn to studying art and artists on the left rather than engaging seriously with those who worked in the service of American business and publicity.30 Perhaps for better and worse, Magnum is part of a larger history of capitalist aesthetics after 1945.31 Its own business imperative, coupled with its flexibility and commitment to high-quality photographic reporting, led photographers to work across a range of genres and markets, often at the same time.32 NETWORKS AND COLLABORATION

Magnum’s photographers could not have accomplished any of this alone. despite the habit of studying the work of individual artists, often dubbed creative geniuses, this book argues that Magnum photographers were core members of a larger “decisive network” that included writers, spouses, secretaries, editors, darkroom assistants, publishers, corporate leaders, and museum curators. My title invokes Henri cartier-Bresson’s theory of the “decisive moment,” which equated the ideal photograph with the intuitive skill of the photographer who could notice and swiftly capture a perfectly balanced scene.33 this concept places all of the attention on the individual in his moment of inspiration and action.34 Yet magazine editors often identified the “decisive moments” in cartier-Bresson’s negatives, which he usually shipped undeveloped to new York. cartier-Bresson’s wife ratna Mohini worked with him in the field, often writing the captions and story texts that allowed editors to arrange his pictures into the photo essays that later brought him fame. My shift from “moment” to “network” is metaphorical as well as methodological: it asks that we see photography as an ongoing, collective process in which it is difficult to draw a clear boundary between the actions of a photographer and those of his collaborators.35 this approach necessarily harkens to a longer study of networks in the social sciences, and particularly one that Howard Becker called an “art world”: a “network of people whose cooperative activity, organized via their joint knowledge of conventional means of doing things,” plus their ability to mobilize resources, “produces the kind of art works that art world is noted for.”36 thinking about Magnum as a network means looking at the entire system of commercial photography rather than focusing on singular individuals or objects, and it means noticing when technologies shaped human activity.37 My goal is to show not simply that everything is connected, but rather that some connections are decisive. For instance, I consider how photographers’ shared wartime experiences with editors and moviemakers, or their relationships with their spouses, shaped the kind of work they made and sold after World War II. In other cases, I identify moments when photographers’ passports determined the kind of stories they covered, or how the agency’s sales network determined why certain images 6


appeared as news in Holiday rather than Life, or in England’s Illustrated magazine rather than Picture Post.38 Yet the most fundamental repercussion of moving from “moment” to “network” is recognizing that autonomous activity is itself a myth.39 Many people in the business helped Magnum photographers to attain their technical, creative, and economic successes. They edited their film, laid out their pictures into stories, captioned photographs, and pitched their work to clients. That process of collaborative postproduction has long preoccupied historians of film and the book.40 Yet in photo histories, such figures often occupy the same position as John Morris does in the Paris Liberation party snapshot: peering over the heads of famous photographers, struggling to be seen. By putting photo editors and other professionals in the spotlight, this book joins new scholarship that looks at photojournalism as an inherently collaborative process.41 Magnum photographers’ status as artists, meanwhile, mattered little until years later, when their post-1945 work began to be displayed in exhibitions and republished in photo books. In those contexts, which I examine in the last chapter, critics and curators pitted photographers’ individual visions—whether personal or political—against the commercial and editorial constraints of photojournalism.42 What made Magnum’s network decisive, then, is not only that it ensured that photographers’ pictures could be made, sold, and circulated, but that it also shaped our very conception of the meaning of those pictures as something other than commercial photography. THE PHOTO AGENCY AND POSTWAR VISUAL CULTURE

As a photo agency, Magnum aimed to maximize sales and image circulation. Its operations thus offer a macro perspective on the production of postwar visual culture—a story that is bigger than Magnum itself and that cannot be gleaned from looking at individual photographers or even the picture stories in such high-circulating magazines as Life. Following the agency’s pictures into their many print contexts reveals visual and thematic connections across different magazines (i.e., from Life to those targeting women or travelers) and shows how the many settings for photography (from editorial essays and advertisements to photo albums and exhibitions) were in conversation with each other. In this book, Magnum is the lens through which the cultural and visual history of the post-1945 period comes into focus. Its cast of characters is by necessity extensive—spanning heretofore anonymous Magnum staff as well as the people who commissioned and edited the photographic content of a host of magazines, including This Week, Ladies’ Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Life, Holiday, and Standard Oil’s The Lamp. The people discussed here lived, documented, and mediated the public’s comprehension of such issues as European reconstruction, the founding of the state of Israel, and the introduction of the tourist fare on airplanes. Like recent media histories by Anna McCarthy and Fred Turner, this book reconstitutes the diverse networks of professionals who shaped the public’s comprehension of politics and culture after World War II.43 Yet while Turner and McCarthy suggest that network television and multimedia displays made photography obsolete as a source of information and entertainment soon after 1945, I demonstrate that Magnum’s embrace of noneditorial markets INTRODUCTION


and other sites for photography, including corporate annual reports, made the aesthetic of the news a feature of everyday life well beyond the pages of magazines. this book tells a chronological and overlapping story about Magnum’s first two decades, from the agency’s inception in 1947 to the rise of Magnum’s sister organization, the International center of Photography, in the late 1960s amid the closure of illustrated magazines and a growing art market for photographs. Each chapter responds to specific myths about the agency while unearthing the intellectual and cultural climates and economic markets in which Magnum produced its pictures. We will see that Magnum’s activities were deeply embedded not only with the history of magazines, but also within the changing fields of American journalism, sociology, geography, public relations, and advertising. Based on the available archival evidence, I have chosen projects for each chapter that allow us to see not only how a photo story was made and sold, but also how it subsequently worked within or challenged Magnum’s legacy. Some of the projects I discuss are considered canonical (for instance, Seymour’s 1948 “children of Europe” portfolio for unESco) while others (such as George rodger’s mid-1950s work for Standard oil in Africa) are largely unknown. Yet all of the cases reflect a kind of historical amnesia: they show that we have inherited an incomplete picture not only because some episodes have been excluded from the historical record, but also because other stories have been told the same way too many times. Part of the work of unraveling Magnum’s mythologies is seeing how embedded the agency was in the larger business of making and selling photographs. the book therefore begins by situating Magnum into the longer history of photo agencies from the late nineteenth century to the end of World War II. It then shows how exactly Magnum ran its business: the many capable women it hired for its new York and Paris offices, how staff and photographers stayed in touch through formalized memos and weekly reports, and which magazines the agency cultivated as its primary markets in the u.S. and Europe. the next four chapters turn to the most important markets with which Magnum worked, reconstructing the networks of professionals in those markets and looking in depth at how select Magnum photographers met the creative, journalistic, and logistical demands of their assignments. Because Magnum worked with each of its major markets from the start, these chapters all begin in the late 1940s but then progressively move the agency’s history forward, reflecting the importance of editorial work in the late 1940s and early 1950s (chapters 2 and 3); the advent of travel photography in the early to mid-1950s (chapter 4); and the centrality of corporate photography by the 1960s (chapter 5). I show that Magnum’s photography always blurred the line between news and something else, and that this is precisely what allowed their pictures to circulate widely and accrue cultural and monetary value. one of the main reasons that its photographs could appear in so many different settings is because of the high demand for human-interest pictures from around the world. the agency’s early history thus opens onto a parallel story about how images of ordinary people were put to use by different kinds of players, from magazines reporting on news headlines to international companies eager to boost their public image. 8


The last chapter shows how in under twenty-five years, Magnum’s active picture files— from which editors used to request images to illustrate news or publicity stories—began to be broken up and transformed into archives that represented photographers’ unified oeuvres and that were used to uphold lasting mythologies about the origins of Magnum and its place in twentieth-century photojournalism. But to understand what Magnum’s picture files even contained, we have to start at the beginning: when Magnum’s founders decided they would try to satiate “the picture hunger of man.”44





creation has been told the same way for decades, filled with glamorous, contradictory details. The entrepreneurial Robert Capa had wanted to start his own photographic agency since the early thirties. He discussed the idea with his friends Henri Cartier-Bresson and David Seymour in interwar Paris, and again while celebrating the city’s liberation—perhaps at the very same party where the photographers, coupes of champagne in hand, posed for the August 27 picture. When World War II finally ended, Capa returned to his new home in the United States and got to work. Sometime in the spring of 1947, he convened a meeting in the penthouse (or was it second-floor?) restaurant of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.1 The Life photographer Bill Vandivert and his wife, Rita, were in attendance, and so was Maria Eisner, a picture editor and former director of the French picture agency Alliance Photo. Len Spooner, editor of Illustrated magazine in London, could have been there too, but the three other cofounding photographers—Cartier-Bresson, Seymour, and George Rodger—certainly were not.2 After a long (or short) discussion that HE MYTHICAL STORY OF MAGNUM’S


included (or did not include) a magnum of champagne (for maybe the magnum was consumed in paris), rita Vandivert became the president of a wholly new enterprise: an international picture agency called Magnum. Vandivert would preside over Magnum’s New York office while eisner would serve as secretary, treasurer, and director of the paris headquarters, installed in her apartment. On the occasion of Magnum’s seventieth anniversary, a notable curator of photography cast doubt over the champagne lunch story. Yet his observation that “the creation of Magnum, like the creation of the world, was not accomplished in a single day” shows that Magnum’s founding is still treated as an event of biblical proportions.3 Indeed, the image of Magnum rising out of the rubble of World War II has served the agency’s mythology well by insisting that Magnum was a utopian enterprise in a league of its own, and that it was founded mostly on principle. as a result, neither its business model nor its activities have been examined within the social, economic, and material history of photography, or the social and intellectual climate of the postwar period. as the only cooperative picture agency in the world, Magnum’s unique business model— the story goes—emulated the left-leaning artist and worker collectives that its founders had supported in the interwar period.4 Some of the facts are certainly correct. Members were indeed voted in on the basis of merit. they became shareholders, investing 30–50 percent of their earnings into the organization. With that pool of money, they employed editors and agents to sell their images to the press. photographers owned all the negatives and the reproduction rights to their work. But other ideas do not always hold up. We read that photographers (rather than agents) made all final decisions about whether to accept or decline an assignment or sale and that this business structure gave photographers maximum editorial freedom. they chose what to photograph and how much time to spend on that subject. they were free to express their views on the stories they documented, and they could refuse to sell their work to a publication if they did not agree with how their images would be presented. today one would be at pains to find work on photojournalism that did not rehearse the idea that, above all, Magnum prioritized editorial and artistic freedom.5 the assumption in that logic is that what photographers wanted was not necessarily what the market wanted. But is that really the case? While there is no image or piece of paper recording the founding meeting, Magnum’s certificate of incorporation survives, and it tells a different story. Filed on May 22 with the New York State County Clerk Office, the document describes a business ready to make money from photography in every way imaginable. Magnum photos Inc. was established, it reads, “to engage in a photographic, portrait, picture, and painting business” and “to make . . . and produce likenesses . . . of persons, places, landscapes, scenes, objects of art and commerce” using “cameras, still or moving pictures.” the agency was going to shoot all kinds of photographs—“commercial, industrial, artistic, and aerial”—and it would also deal with photographers and their equipment. Magnum could foresee hiring all types of professionals in order to “carry on the business of photography in all of its branches, in any part of the world.”6 as this founding document’s ample references to retail 12

Chapter 1

suggest, Magnum’s photographers were not simply creating an artistic haven for talented photographers. They were launching a business within a much larger, commercial industry of selling photographs. Magnum implemented its business model so well that within a decade its name became synonymous with the modern photo agency and the ultimate denial of what commercial photo agencies do. But is it really necessary to see art and commerce—or editorial freedom and savvy picture selling—in opposition to each other? No photo agency can subsist on photographers’ talents alone. To succeed, Magnum had to be commercial, because photo agencies are, by definition, commercial enterprises that rely on many people and ample resources to produce and distribute photographs. But Magnum also helped expand the boundaries of what it meant to be a commercially viable and prestigious photo agency. On the business end, it hired talented staff and established privileged relationships with magazine editors and sales agents to edit, sell, and promote the work of its photographers. On the publicity end, Magnum took its own brand seriously from the start. While the final chapter of this book will deal exclusively with Magnum’s public relations efforts and the rise of its illustrious reputation, this chapter looks at the origins of Magnum with a focus on its business history: showing what Magnum photographers and staff learned from the longer history of photojournalism, and how they ran their agency day to day. As we will see, Magnum was and is exceptional, just not for the reasons propagated in its founding myth. THE BUSINESS OF PHOTO SUPPLY, 1840–1939

By creating a photo agency, Magnum entered the market for current photography, which was then dominated by two kinds of image suppliers working with different production schedules and journalistic values: picture agencies, the earliest of which were first established in the late nineteenth century, and wire services, created in the 1920s and 1930s. Beginning in the nineteenth century, the press demanded photographs and nurtured an extensive industry to supply those images, even though there was initially no way to reproduce an actual photograph with text. The first illustrated weeklies, including The Illustrated London News (1842), L’Illustration in France (1843), the Illustrirte Zeitung in Germany (1843), and the American Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News (1852), purchased photographs as “raw material” from a growing number of amateur and independent photographers. They passed them on to illustrators, who often added or excised certain details through cropping and retouching, and then to engravers, who turned the altered photographs into prints that could appear alongside news stories. Publications also began to employ photographers on their staff to cover more pressing events and to have privileged access to their pictures, as in the case of Jimmy Hare’s coverage of the Spanish-American war for Collier’s Weekly.7 Yet for decades, photography was subservient to the aesthetic and cultural norms of illustration.8 With the development of the halftone screen in the 1890s, which allowed a photograph to be printed on the same page as the text it accompanied, the demand for photographs continuously increased, as did the number of illustrated newspapers and magazines ready to print those pictures.9 Photographers soon needed a way to systematize the sale of their PHOTO AGENCIES AND THE MAGNUM MODEL


pictures to a growing network of buyers that included both editorial and advertising clients.10 thus well before Capa envisioned Magnum, a slew of businesses—many of them created by photographers—were established to source, gather, and distribute photographs to the press, to advertisers, and to the publishing sector. these photographic or picture agencies became repositories of huge image collections that needed a constant supply of fresh imagery, which they received from photographers who were either paid a monthly salary or who sold work on a one-time basis. In both cases, photographers were paid only once for work produced, and they had little control over where agencies sold their pictures or for how much. among the first picture agencies were the american Underwood and Underwood (1881) and Keystone (1882); the Illustrated Journal photographic Supply Company in London (1894); and in France, photopress agency (1905) and L’agence Meurisse (1909).11 Developments in camera, film, and printing technologies helped the picture supply business expand throughout the twentieth century. the advent of new film and the commercial availability of smaller cameras such as the 35mm Leica (1911) and ermanox (1925) meant that photographers could get out into the field without having to carry heavy equipment.12 their images could be printed quickly and reproduced exceptionally well using the newly developed rotogravure printing, a photo engraving process that allowed for a much greater variation of tones than the halftone screen.13 publishers across europe and the United States created new illustrated magazines, including the German AIZ (1924), the French Vu (1928), the Soviet USSR in Construction (1930), the american Life (1936) and Look (1937), and the British Picture Post (1938). rather than using photographs to illustrate text, these magazines reported on the news through photographic essays—visual narratives that combined photographs, text, and graphic design.14 the magazines’ reliance on photographic stories encouraged the creation of more photo agencies, among them Dephot (Deutscher photodienst, 1928), rapho (1933), and alliance photo (1934).15 the visual revolution of the 1920s and 1930s affected newspapers as well, albeit through a different set of technologies tailored to their daily production schedule. Newspapers could not publish images of breaking events if they had to wait for trains, ships, and planes to deliver film from the other side of the world.16 In the 1920s, companies such as at&t turned in earnest to the development of wire picture services, which used telegraphic or telephonic wires to distribute images quickly and across large distances to a subscriber network of newspapers.17 photographers working for new wire services such as Keystone News photos, Wide World photos, and the associated press Wirephoto learned to cover breaking news with a single image that could encapsulate a story in one frame, and newspaper editors valued their pictures primarily for their speed, because they could be sent over the wires in a matter of minutes.18 although photographers working for wire services and photo agencies did not technically compete with each other—because agency photographers shot in-depth stories for magazines that were, in Zeynep Gürsel’s terms, valued for being “good” rather than “fast”—their subject matter often overlapped.19 as Jonathan Dentler points out, wire photos made and printed as spot news in the dailies often 14

Chapter 1

“announced or nominated certain celebrities or events for iconic status,” encouraging extensive coverage by photo agency photographers.20 Indeed, by the 1930s, photo agency staff and photographers were taking great care to stay up to date on what was going on around them, subscribing to the daily papers and wire services to determine what stories photographers should cover. And although their picture stories could be published days or even weeks after the event, photo agencies still had to work quickly to fit magazines’ weekly production schedules. To do that, they enlisted people rather than the mechanical delivery mechanism of the wire photo industry: arranging for couriers to carry film on trains and planes and hiring motorcyclists to hand deliver film to editors. The Magnum founders started their careers in this formative period for illustrated journalism and picture sales. In the decade leading up to the agency’s creation, they lived peripatetic lives, crossing paths at newspapers, magazines, photo agencies, and on front lines around the world. Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and David Seymour met in Paris in the 1930s, where they traveled in leftist circles, photographed for Vu, Regards, and the Communist daily Ce Soir, and were represented by Alliance Photo.21 The Jewish Capa (originally Endre Friedman) and Seymour (Dawid Szymin) had left their homes in Budapest and Warsaw for Berlin and Leipzig, respectively, but relocated to Paris amid the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany. Cartier-Bresson spent the early 1930s photographing in Africa, Mexico, and New York and began working for the illustrated press after 1935.22 All three documented the Civil War in Spain from the Republican side, and their pictures appeared in the leading illustrated magazines in France, England, and the United States.23 Capa and others also experienced how picture agencies and magazines could turn photographers into celebrities. By the interwar period, magazine editors had more images to choose from than ever before. Photographers learned to cover events in ways that appealed to the individual tastes of editors and publishers, and they began to demonstrate “their originality and stylistic distinctiveness” in order to stand out and encourage editors to buy their work.24 Changing attribution practices also helped photographers’ reputations. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, photo agencies mostly traded in unattributed pictures. Individual photographers were credited when they shot an exceptional photograph or performed daring feats to get their pictures. There were no systematic crediting practices in print, and when, by the 1930s, credits appeared more frequently in the press, they went to the photo agency rather than the photographer. But that does not mean that photographic copyrights did not exist, or that Magnum invented the photographic copyright itself, as some have said.25 In the United Kingdom such laws were established in 1862; in the U.S. in 1884; in Germany in 1907; and in France a 1793 law was applied in a way that included photography.26 Yet photographic copyrights were almost impossible to enforce because of how easily and widely pictures could be reproduced by a publisher or agent. In the interwar period, Dephot and Alliance were the primary photo agencies that made a practice of crediting individual photographers. They did not necessarily do so out of respect for the law. Instead, they recognized that they could use who made a photograph into a selling point with clients, branding their agencies via the quality of their pictures and PHOTO AGENCIES AND THE MAGNUM MODEL


the photographers they employed.27 Illustrated magazine editors, in turn, promoted those same photographers in print. they used photographers’ status as celebrities (which they themselves were inventing) to attract readers and promote their own publications. that was precisely how robert Capa had one of his first breaks. In December 1938, Picture Post’s article on the Spanish Civil War included a full-page portrait of Capa captioned, “the Greatest War photographer in the World.”28 though he was far from the only photographer who covered the conflict in Spain, Capa became its best-known reporter thanks to the widespread distribution of his pictures by alliance alongside text dubbing him a daring, committedly antifascist photographer.29 When hitler’s rise to power sent robert Capa, David Seymour, and countless other Jewish photographers, magazine editors, and agency directors into exile, new agencies opened in New York, where they carried on the work they began on the other side of the atlantic. thus many of the photo agencies active from the 1930s to the 1970s (when agencies began to close or consolidate) were, like Magnum, inherently transatlantic: the best combined european and american sensibilities to navigate both markets with skill. Kurt Safranski, a publisher at Ullstein Verlag, ernst Mayer, owner of the Mauritius photo agency in Berlin, and former Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung (BIZ) editor Kurt Korff founded Black Star in New York in 1935. the following year, the editor Leon Daniel and the photographer alfred eisenstaedt started the pIX agency, which operated until 1969. Both employed predominantly Jewish émigré photographers from europe and developed close ties with Life, which benefited from the formal and technical skills that publishers and photographers had perfected in europe.30 Charles rado, a hungarian immigrant like Capa, opened the rapho photo agency in paris in 1933. he moved the business to New York in 1940, renaming it rapho Guillumette pictures for his partnership with the photographer paul Guillumette. In 1946 rapho reopened its paris office and operated an international picture agency representing mostly French photographers—among them robert Doisneau and andré Kertész—until it was absorbed by the New York–based stock photo agency photo researchers in 1975. after decades of mergers and sales, the agency reappeared as Gamma-rapho in 2010.31 Operationally, Magnum had much in common with other photo agencies. as intermediaries between photographers and clients, all agencies were complex operations that fulfilled crucial tasks in the picture economy. For photographers, agencies offered professional representation or help promoting and selling their work and managing their picture archives. Depending on the size of the operation, agencies employed lab technicians to develop photographers’ film, photo editors to select the best pictures from their shoots, and archivists to keep picture and research files in order. Sales staff negotiated prices and served as buffers between photographers and editors. researchers and secretaries produced information and captions to accompany film, while other staff managed incoming and outgoing orders and oversaw the work of delivery men.32 Magazines looked to agency editors for story ideas and for finished material. though publications such as Vu and Life are often lauded for giving now-famous photographers


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their start by putting them on their payrolls, new quantitative analyses of their picture supply show that they filled their contents with pictures supplied by photo agencies.33 Those same magazines also relied on photo agents to scout new photographic talent. One of the main reasons that Black Star succeeded in the 1930s was because its émigré founders were able to introduce American clients—including Life and the Hearst publishing empire, which originally brought Kurt Safranski to New York—to a network of European photographers then unknown in the U.S.34 By putting images into circulation for their own financial profit, photo agencies also shaped visual culture, which is why they matter to more than just the economic or business history of photography. To succeed financially, photo agencies needed to sell their pictures many times to the maximum number of clients. This business imperative led them to “bank on images,” as Estelle Blaschke puts it, building up picture archives “as an investment and for long-term use.”35 Whereas magazines hired staff photographers to take exclusive images for their publications, picture agencies could publish in multiple magazines, and they relied on second sales—that is, the ability to resell a news photograph in an advertisement or a book.36 Photo agencies made individual photographs and picture sequences ubiquitous and recognizable, putting them into the widest possible circulation. Photo agency photographers worked differently from newspaper and wire service photographers, and their responsibilities were also different from magazine staffers. They needed to turn their cameras away from a news event to photograph the surrounding scenery, people, and fashion—images that might later illustrate a travel feature or a city profile. Even photographic agencies specializing in news pictures encouraged photographers to shoot with multiple sales in mind, inaugurating a practice that still guides the work of freelance photographers in the twenty-first century.37 The prospect of second sales shaped the content and style of the pictures that went into photo agency files in a variety of ways. In Weimar Germany, for instance, some picture agencies discouraged overt political imagery, “since a neutral picture had more potential to be sold to both liberal and conservative publications.”38 Zeynep Devrim Gürsel shows that agencies operated with a “futurepast” logic— an idea about the types of pictures of today that people will want tomorrow. Sometimes that meant that photographers replicated or searched out particular types of pictures to visually anchor contemporary events into a longer history. Thus during the 1944 Liberation of Paris, French photographers hoping to sell to the press and publishers sought out images that stylistically referenced paintings and photographs of the Revolution from the century prior.39 Nearly half a century later, during the Iraq War, agency photographers focused their cameras on the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue because it recalled the toppling of Lenin and the breaking of the Berlin Wall—the primary images associated with the fall of the USSR two decades beforehand.40 As picture agencies put certain images into circulation, they shaped the visual vocabulary of a given era, selecting the images that we now accept as historical documents. Historians seeking to understand how images come to stand in for certain moments or ideas can thus find pivotal evidence in photo agency sales.




World War II served as an important turning point in the business of photo supply and the photojournalistic profession, and it integrally shaped the media environment in which Magnum was created. Between 1939 and 1945 photography, film, radio, and the nascent form of television news accelerated to keep up with a conflict being fought on “five continents, seven seas, and a dozen different fronts.”41 Magazine and newspaper readership soared not only because of the urgency of World War II, but also because the illustrated press finally had the infrastructure and technological capacity to keep up with the pace and scale of the international conflict. the military and media worked together to anticipate and prepare every key event for the camera, from D-Day to the liberation of the camps. as they curated the unprecedented scale of the war into series of digestible photographic reports, they set the stage for a new era in which readers would expect to see news pictures by great photographers of anything deemed significant, no matter how far away it happened.42 On a practical level, orchestrating the war’s photographic coverage meant accrediting an unprecedented number of military and press photographers and developing new systems for getting photographers to the scene and their pictures back for publication. In the U.S. every unit of the armed forces had a basic team that included at least one still and one cinematic photographer. In January 1942 the associated press, Newspictures, International News photo, and Life magazine created the Still photographic War pool, which supplied photographers to every front of the war and made its photographs accessible to all publications in the U.S.43 In the field, photographers lightened their loads during combat by relying on the small handheld Leica and Contax 35mm cameras, estimating exposure time, and using fast Kodak film, which had thirty-six exposures per roll.44 radio and wire services and long-range airplanes helped their photos get to London or Washington D.C. faster than ever before. 45 While the wire photos appeared in newspapers, magazines relied predominantly on handdelivered film and published more photographic features each week. the most popular american magazine, Life, attained that status during World War II thanks to its patriotic war coverage and spectacular photography. as Life publisher henry Luce put it, “Life magazine didn’t start out to be a war magazine, but that’s what it became.”46 Magnum’s founders took part in photography’s total absorption in the war effort, as did other photographers who would later join the agency, among them Werner Bischof and Kryn taconis.47 after a stint with the Leco photographic service company in New York, David Seymour became an american citizen in 1942 and enlisted in the U.S. army. he served as a photo interpreter for the U.S. air Force intelligence in england and, after D-Day, as part of General Omar Bradley’s twelfth army Group.48 Capa went back to europe to cover the war in 1941. although he hoped to be hired by Life, which had contributed to his international reputation when it published his “Falling Soldier” photograph from Spain in 1937, his hungarian citizenship posed logistical problems.49 through the pIX agency, which had represented him in the late 1930s, Capa arranged for a war assignment from Collier’s and made 18

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his way to London, where he became friends with Life photographer William (Bill) Vandivert and his wife, Rita. On Life’s staff since the late 1930s, Vandivert covered the fighting in Europe for the Pool and worked frequently with John Morris. Morris was then an assistant picture editor in Life’s London bureau, responsible for getting photographers’ film back in time for publication in the U.S. About a decade later, Morris would join Magnum as the agency’s first executive editor. Capa was finally hired by Life in 1943 and met George Rodger when they were both assigned to cover the fighting in Italy for the magazine. Born in Cheshire, England, in 1908, the British photographer had worked for the BBC and the Black Star photo agency before being hired by Life. During the war, Rodger traveled predominantly through the Middle East and North Africa to document fifteen major British campaigns for the magazine. Life editors often promoted the wartime feats and arduous journeys of its photographic staff. A year before the better-known 1943 feature on Life’s only female photographer—“Life’s BourkeWhite Goes Bombing”—the magazine celebrated Rodger for undertaking the “longest continuous trek by a war correspondent” in a story titled “75,000 Miles.”50 Leading with a portrait of the handsome young photographer in military uniform below a map of his journey, the photo essay went on for eight uninterrupted pages, with seventy-six pictures laid out like a movie storyboard to highlight different moments from his travels from Africa to the Far East. While mirroring his uninterrupted travels, the continuous layout also attested to the photographer’s status at the magazine during the war. In 1944 both Rodger and Capa were part of the one hundred combat and fifty civilian photographers assigned to cover the D-Day landings, though Rodger, assigned to Gold Beach, saw no action.51 The operation subsequently became one of the most renowned instances of Life’s wartime coverage. Capa, upon landing in Normandy, made a series of grainy shots that became revered for their proximity to the fighting and—as the story went for decades—for miraculously withstanding a darkroom fiasco in London under John Morris’s watch that nearly “melted” all of Capa’s film. Robert Capa referenced that story in his highly embellished wartime memoir Slightly Out of Focus (1947), in which he also suggested that he spent about ninety minutes shooting up to four rolls of film before he became too frightened and made a run for it.52 Although critics, biographers, and even Capa himself acknowledged that the book was meant to inspire a blockbuster movie and that it went “slightly beyond and slightly to the side” of the truth, the D-Day story survived until 2014, when photo critic A. D. Coleman and a team of researchers started to piece together a more plausible story.53 Their investigation culminated in a rather undramatic conclusion, but one that underscores the crucial role of logistics to the history of photojournalism. After photographing what he could of the invasion on the beach, Capa jumped onto a U.S. landing craft and made his way to England on the U.S.S. Samuel Chase. But the film did not go straight to Morris at Life. All of Capa’s frames had to be checked by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) in London—the military body that also accredited all photographers in the Pool. SHAEF censored the frames with sensitive information, most likely “images of the armada crossing the English Channel on June 5 and of the ships and PHOTO AGENCIES AND THE MAGNUM MODEL


landing craft heading in to the Normandy coast on June 6,” because these would have revealed that Normandy was the site of the main allied invasion at a moment when the Germans still expected the major attack later in the summer at pas des Calais. the eleven blurry frames that were approved for publication (later named the “magnificent eleven”) actually gave no sign of the “size, scope and power of the invasion, clues to which the Germans would be searching for in the allied press.”54 the real feat of Capa’s film was twofold: first, while countless other rolls of still and moving footage sank to the bottom of the ocean, Capa was able to get his pictures back in time for publication in the June 19 issue of Life.55 Indeed, this is likely the reason he left the beach relatively quickly, for if he had missed his deadline, his pictures would have been “old news and his effort and risks in making them would have been for naught.”56 the second feat was that the darkroom story survived for so long, retold by people (especially John Morris) and institutions (including Magnum and the ICp) with their own agendas. While the latter were invested in Capa’s reputation as an incomparably brave war, Morris, who often referred to Capa and others as “his” photographers, told the story to underscore his own importance to Life’s wartime coverage. Indeed as a. D. Coleman concludes, Morris’s role as assistant editor meant that he would have been excluded from developing Capa’s film in the London darkroom because of its top-secret status. In the mythical retelling, however, everyone got to play a part. the D-Day myth therefore opens onto a larger story of how the Magnum founders’ wartime and postwar exploits became legends, repeated so frequently that “Magnum” became shorthand for heroic picture-making while the practical details of picture publishing were either left out or altered to make the story more dramatic. Cartier-Bresson joined the French army’s Film and photo Unit with the start of the war, but when France collapsed in June 1940, he was taken prisoner and sent to a labor camp in Germany. after escaping in 1943, he spent the rest of the war working with the National Movement for prisoners of War and Deportees, part of the French resistance. In 1944 he photographed the liberation of paris as a member of the Committee for the Liberation of press photography. he also wrote, edited, and served as technical consultant on Le Retour, a documentary film about the return of French prisoners that was produced by the U.S. Office of War Information at the request of the French National Movement for prisoners of War and Deportees.57 Sometime in august 1944 in paris, Capa introduced rodger to CartierBresson and Seymour and possibly initiated a conversation about creating a new photographic agency.58 World War II thus linked many photographers and editors in the postwar period. their shared wartime experiences often led them to work together and reminisce in print on the “good old days” of the war once the fighting was over. John Morris’s wartime work with Magnum’s founders is perhaps the best known, not least because of how often he retold the D-Day darkroom story in interviews, articles, and books; yet it was just one of many connections forged between 1939 and 1945.59 the hollywood directors John houston and anatole Litvak met the future Magnum founders Capa and Seymour while filming the war in europe for the U.S. army Signal Corps.60 after the war, they hired these and other Magnum 20

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photographers to document their postwar film productions, as we will see in chapter 5. At Holiday in 1953, picture editor Louis Mercier would endorse Cartier-Bresson’s portfolio of Parisian types by recalling how they met “in late August 1944 . . . [in] a jubilant liberated Paris,” linking the photographer’s authority on the city’s inhabitants to having lived through its occupation and liberation.61 And the editor of The Lamp, published by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, took pleasure in noting more than ten years after the end of the war, that Standard Oil’s assignment allowed George Rodger “to revisit territory he covered as a correspondent with the British Eighth Army during World War II.”62 Time and again, magazines would suggest that they trusted Magnum photographers because of their wartime work and that readers should do the same. Capa, Seymour, and others started talking about opening an agency because they had, by the mid-1940s, gained ample skills and connections. They also saw that photojournalism had become a highly respected and necessary profession. Before the onset of World War II, newspapers and magazines were far more visual than they had been a few decades prior. Yet as Barbie Zelizer shows, American journalists regarded that shift with ambivalence, fearing that images would replace the power of the written word at large. In response they argued that news photography was a mechanical job and that images were valid and useful only when they supplemented “the grander interpretive narratives of journalists.”63 World War II unraveled this tenuous dichotomy.64 Governments and news organizations poured unprecedented resources into training and equipping an unprecedented number of photographers. They clearly believed that words alone would not suffice in the global conflict. Photojournalists, for their part, captured the human drama of the war and took great risks to get their pictures. One of the most profound contributions of photography to war reporting occurred when photographers entered the Nazi concentration camps with the Allied forces. Among them was George Rodger, who accompanied the British army into Bergen Belsen and covered its liberation for Life.65 At the time, countless observers noted that photographs were necessary because words failed to describe the extent of the atrocities.66 Published in the press and displayed in public spaces, liberation photographs allowed people to bear witness and take responsibility for what had happened. While shaping the public’s relationship to the Holocaust for decades to come, liberation photographs also helped facilitate “modern photojournalism’s coming of age.”67 In the aftermath of the war, photojournalists became established and respected members of the journalistic profession with their own training programs (the first at the University of Missouri) and associations, including the American Society of Magazine Photographers, established in 1944, and the National Press Photographers Association (1946).68 They also attained a new level of celebrity as a result of their wartime coverage and the illustrated memoirs that many of them published in its aftermath. While Capa dramatized his wartime experiences in the U.S.-released Slightly Out of Focus, Rodger published two illustrated memoirs in England—Red Moon Rising (1943) and Desert Journey (1944)—even before the war was over.69 And if in previous decades photographers were perceived as detached, even mechanical, observers, after World War II they would forever be recognized as actors who crossed paths with their subjects.70 PHOTO AGENCIES AND THE MAGNUM MODEL


While revolutionizing the status of photojournalists, the war also changed the public’s relationship to the world. as Louis Menand put it, World War II “de-provincialized” americans through mediated and firsthand experiences, creating a hunger for images of the world that Magnum would work to satiate.71 an unprecedented number of american citizens went abroad for the first time in the 1940s, returning home with an intimate knowledge of the streets and people of Berlin, paris, and tokyo. For those who stayed home, the scale and urgency of the war’s photographic coverage made them care about faraway places as never before. they expressed that interest through an increased consumption of photographic images via the press and a renewed interest in geography.72 While looking at maps, americans also internalized new ideas about the world. Influenced by the global scale of the war as well as the advent of flight, National Geographic and Rand McNally updated their maps with the polar view, which visually emphasized the interconnectedness of the globe. Such views of the world appeared regularly in wartime films and in Fortune and Life, illustrating battles while also giving visual form to how americans should think about international politics.73 Indeed, Luce could have just as easily noted that while his magazine did not set out to be a global magazine, that is what it became. In the aftermath of World War II, Life’s ambitions to cover the world were tremendous, extending beyond news features to color photographic portfolios on art around the world and even the history of humankind. Such features became part of Luce’s mission to create “an educated populace and more democratic society” while “positioning america as the inheritor of Western civilization” in the postwar period.74 When World War II ended, the world was familiar and personal as it had not been before. publishers and image suppliers wanted to take advantage of readers’ newfound interest in faraway places and keep up magazine sales. to do that, they needed to show that they could cover peacetime as well as they had covered war.75 Magazines and agencies thus needed to continue employing the many reporters and photographers already stationed around the world. Yet whereas the war galvanized patriotism and unity among readers and publishers and gave photographers a clear story to follow, the post-1945 world laid bare a host of new political divisions and editorial possibilities. With no obvious, single conflict to report on, photojournalism professionals had newfound opportunities to make the news. at the same time, news pictures had become a new kind of vernacular language of the postwar world— one that multiple publishers and business leaders would want to employ in the service of their own goals. this was the context in which Magnum was founded, and which integrally shaped the agency’s structure and its markets. THE MAGNUM SETUP

the story of Magnum’s precise origins, as we have seen, is still laden with questionable details about where, when, and how its founding meeting took place. What sources do agree upon is that four of the seven people involved—robert Capa, Bill and rita Vandivert, and Maria eisner—were in New York. they solidified the structure and initiated the filing of Magnum’s certificate of incorporation while the other founders were working around the 22

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table 1  early magnum photographers key names, dates, and facts Magnum Photographer

Notable associations

Membership* before Magnum

Robert Capa

b. 1913–d. 1954



Dephot agency, Alliance Photo,

Henri Cartier-

b. 1908–d. 2004



Julien Levy Gallery, Regards

George Rodger

b. 1908–d. 1995



Black Star, Life magazine

David (Chim)

b. 1911–d. 1956



Regards magazine, U.S. Army

Bill Vandivert

b. 1912–d. 1989



Life magazine

Werner Bischof

b. 1916–d. 1954



Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich,

Ernst Haas

b. 1921–d. 1986



American Red Cross, Inge

Eve Arnold

b. 1912–d. 2012



New York School for Social

Elliot Erwitt

b. 1928



U.S. Army, Standard Oil

Burt Glinn

b. 1925–d. 2008



U.S. Army, Life magazine

Dennis Stock

b. 1928–d. 2010



U.S. Army, apprentice to

Cornell Capa

b. 1918–d. 2008



PIX agency, U.S. Army, Life

Erich Hartmann

b. 1922–d. 1999



U.S. Army, New School for

Inge Morath

b. 1923–d. 2002



U.S. Information Service, Heute

Marc Riboud

b. 1923–d. 2016



French Resistance

Kryn Taconis

b. 1918–d. 1979



Ondergedoken Camera (for the


Life magazine magazine, Harper’s Bazaar



Du magazine, Swiss Relief Morath/Heute Research (Alexey Brodovitch)

photographer Gjon Mili magazine Social Research magazine

Dutch Resistance), Time Inc. René Burri

b. 1933–d. 2014



Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich

Erich Lessing

b. 1923–d. 2018



British Army, Associated Press

W. Eugene Smith

b. 1918–d. 1978



Life magazine

Wayne Miller

b. 1918–d. 2013



U.S. Naval Aviation Unit under Edward Steichen, Life magazine

* Connotes shareholder status and full participation in the organization. On Magnum’s membership system, see chapter 1. For details on individual photographers’ statuses upon leaving, see Chèroux, Magnum Manifesto, 388–407.

world. In 1947 henri Cartier-Bresson was on the road in the United States for an assignment for Harper’s Bazaar.76 George rodger had recently finished a long trip through africa for London’s Illustrated and was exploring the Mediterranean.77 and Seymour was documenting the reconstruction of postwar europe for This Week magazine.78 all three learned about Magnum’s creation via telegrams, followed by a more detailed letter from rita Vandivert, which summarized the agency’s finances and structure.79 Magnum opened two sales and production offices: one in New York to deal with american publications (run by Vandivert) and one in paris to work with european magazines (run by eisner). each founder was asked to contribute $400 to launch the cooperative. the profits from each picture story sold would be divided 60/40 (after expenses), with 60 percent going to the photographer and 40 percent going to the agency, that is, toward staff salaries and general operations. regardless of who bought photographers’ pictures, Magnum would keep the negatives, and photographers retained the reproduction rights to their work. Keeping the rights to one’s work was an ingenious way to make money, and it was one of many practical details at the heart of Magnum’s operation that Vandivert described in her first letter to the founders. “the way Capa sees it working out for himself and the others is this,” she began: he makes a deal with a publication to send him somewhere, gets expense money, etc. and does the agreed number of stories or pages for them. then he shoots as much material as he can on the side, keeping closely in touch with both offices so that we know what he can get, just where he will be and how long he thinks it worthwhile to stay. Only by this close cooperation can we hope to save waste of time, energy and material—the photographer must know what the magazines are interested in, what they are hoping to get, and the agency girls must know at all times what the photographers are up to (except on their evenings off).80

With a tinge of glamour and mischief, Vandivert’s letter demonstrated that three things were central to Magnum: the needs of its clients, entrepreneurialism and creativity on the part of the photographer, and close communication between photographers and office staff. Magnum incorporated many of the core business practices used by earlier picture agencies discussed above, and these allowed Magnum’s pictures to circulate and accrue value. First, the photographers needed to spread out to cover international stories for its markets. rodger would take the “Near east,” Seymour would cover europe, Capa would begin in russia, Cartier-Bresson would set out for the “Far east,” and Bill Vandivert would remain in the U.S. this structure was not particularly utopian or original, as Magnum often says it was: it simply emulated the leading international news bureaus and magazines where photographers got their start (table 1).81 the particular regions assigned to each photographer were of interest to the postwar magazine market, while the photographers’ passports, personal


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relationships, and connections on the ground (described in the next two chapters) ensured their access to those regions in the first place. Each photographer needed to make the maximum number of stories wherever he was working. These could be assigned or unassigned. Guaranteed assignments were given by a client in advance of the trip and covered the photographer’s travel expenses. Depending on the client’s budget, photographers could also be reimbursed for their film, processing, and research or translating assistance and receive a daily rate. Most assignments stipulated a predetermined amount for the photographer’s images (with color fetching higher prices than black and white) and included expectations for the quantity of material—that is, enough pictures for a photo essay spanning X number of pages. Clients assigning stories to Magnum photographers generally received “first reproduction rights,” which meant they would publish the photograph or picture story before anyone else.82 Guaranteed assignments offered photographers financial stability and helped get them to a specific location, but their work did not end once the assigned story was completed. Like freelancers at competing picture agencies, Magnum photographers were always on the lookout for additional stories to maximize their earnings. Photographers kept Magnum staff informed of their travel plans via regular telegrams and letters so that staff could send them new assignments in the area or find clients for stories they wanted to shoot. George Rodger, for one, understood this logic immediately. He responded to Vandivert’s letter about the creation of Magnum with details about his upcoming road trip through Africa, and he asked her if she knew any representatives at Willys Jeep—a company that was looking to build on the vehicle’s military popularity and enter the consumer market. “They might be interested in having a couple of their vehicles shown through Africa, to end up perhaps in Capetown,” and if so, Rodger was willing to change his itinerary, produce some car publicity, and also shoot a news story about British refugees moving to South Africa.83 Although it did not work out with Jeep in 1947, Magnum photographers regularly thought and worked like this, shifting seamlessly from publicity to editorial work. Unassigned stories were generally sold in one of two ways: a Magnum staff member might pitch a story idea to a magazine before the story was completed. Or she might get to work after the story was already shot, developed (at one of Magnum’s regular film labs in Paris, New York, or London), edited (with or without the involvement of the photographer), and captioned. These dealings with magazine editors took place in person or over the phone. Both photographers and staff solicited assignments, but for the most part, staff negotiated prices and working conditions on behalf of the photographers.84 If so many of these business practices were par for the course in running an agency, then how was Magnum actually different from its competitors? The first thing to acknowledge is that postwar publications did not limit themselves to buying photographs only from Magnum, because no single agency could ever fulfill the hundreds of assignments magazines issued each year. Black Star photographers, for instance, appeared in the credits of Life and Standard Oil’s The Lamp as frequently as Magnum’s, and both magazines also relied on



independent freelancers, staff photographers, amateurs, and the wire services, not to mention their own staff photographers.85 Yet Magnum differed from its competition in two important ways. First, it was the only photo agency owned and run by photographers. photographers sat on Magnum’s Board of Directors, and photographers filled the roles of president, vice presidents of finances, europe, or the U.S., and secretary-treasurer. photographers had the final say on editorial and financial matters, which meant that they were always thinking about the organization as a whole as well as their individual activities (and profits). an even more important byproduct of Magnum’s cooperative model is that photographers were the gatekeepers to membership, granted through a rigorous examination of potential photographers’ pictures and contact sheets. So while initially Magnum became known through the work of its acclaimed founders, within a decade membership in Magnum became a mark of prestige in its own right. No other agency name brought photographers the same cachet. In other words, of everything that Magnum produced, nothing was more important than its exclusive, even elitist, brand, promoted in the industry press, through exhibitions, in photo books, and in frequent mailings to its client network.86 the second distinguishing factor was Magnum’s international system of distribution, discussed below. Unlike european photographers who resettled in the U.S. and produced work as émigrés, and unlike american photographers who went to europe and worked as expatriates, Magnum’s photographers remained on the move. two of its european-born founders, Seymour and Capa, became american citizens (in 1942 and 1946 respectively), but they went back to europe immediately after the war. they covered postwar events and, crucially, forged relationships with editors of new and recovering magazines. rapho, pIX, and Black Star also had photographers around the world, but Magnum surpassed these agencies when it came to reselling the same pictures to many publications through a network of sales agents throughout europe. thus Magnum’s pictures were seen widely and gained iconic status not only because they were good or made by famous photographers, but because Magnum’s staff kept in touch with dozens of editors with whom they worked out mutually beneficial deals. MAGNUM’S STAFF, OR THE WOMEN OF MAGNUM

the popular image of Magnum has for decades been linked to the courageous, generally wartime, exploits of its male photographers.87 to counter this reputation as a boys’ club, Magnum has recently been giving more attention to its female photographers, including eve arnold (associated with Magnum since 1951) and Inge Morath (a member since 1953).88 But women were always at the heart of Magnum’s operations; they just weren’t behind the cameras. recognizing these women’s contributions to the agency means adjusting our definition of Magnum to include its largely forgotten, yet highly competent, staff. Like pIX (created by a photographer and editor team) and Black Star (created by a sales agent, publisher, and former magazine editor), early Magnum needed rita Vandivert’s organizational abilities and the sales prowess of Maria eisner, honed during her time running alliance photo. Within 26

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weeks of its creation, Magnum also hired secretaries, bookkeepers, couriers, picture editors, sales agents, and picture librarians—many of whom were women. As at Life, where women occupied the majority of the behind-the-scenes photo editing and photo research positions, the Magnum “girls” whom Vandivert referred to in her 1947 letter were front and center.89 They were the ones who made daily editing and captioning decisions and negotiated fees and sales in a magazine world dominated by male editors.90 While photographers worked in faraway places, Magnum’s largely female staff offered personal and professional support through weekly, and sometimes daily, letters. In the subsequent chapters, the staff’s correspondence will serve as primary source material for its content, that is, for what it reveals about how magazines and picture agencies operated. But their stream of communication also attests to the labor history of photojournalism, in which women played a far more important role than has been acknowledged. 91 Magnum’s staff served as assignment liaisons, helping photographers to establish rapport with journalists or navigate local bureaucracies. They had full command of the same technical matters as photographers, including shutter speeds and exposures. After examining photographers’ film and contact sheets, staff assessed the technical quality of their work and made concrete recommendations for the future. They told them, for instance, when it was time to realign their lenses or when a photographer needed to shoot more vertical color to increase his chances of getting a cover.92 Staff also studied the picture market and told photographers about different magazines’ tastes, some of which sound appallingly insensitive to a contemporary reader but which vividly capture the kinds of conversations that happened in editorial meetings at midcentury. Life, Vandivert told Seymour in 1947, wanted really dramatic pictures of postwar Europe, “pictures of starving hordes and corpses everywhere.”93 Writing to George Rodger a decade later, Paris bureau chief Trudy Feliu told Rodger that Illustrated preferred “firstperson stories by photographers. They are mostly of the type ‘The Zulus mauled me but I got my picture.’ . . . Not always too tasteful but you’ve certainly got enough to make their hair stand on end, which is what they like.”94 Photographers’ letters, in turn, were often grateful and gracious. Asking for even more feedback on their film and published stories, photographers showed that they trusted the staff’s aesthetic and journalistic sense and that they relied on them in every stage of a story’s production. They were good at these tasks not because they were women, but because they had experience from established media institutions. Upon leaving Magnum, many continued to work with pictures. Thus Magnum influenced visual culture not only through the pictures it put into circulation but also via the actual people who worked in its offices (table 2). In 1948 Joan Bush left Life to work in Magnum’s Paris office, where she sold stories to French editors and coordinated photographers’ assignments. Upon leaving Magnum in 1950, she became a photo editor at Picture Post and then the World Health Organization, where she eventually led its international media presence.95 Trudy Feliu also worked at Life before becoming Magnum’s temporary bureau chief in Paris in 1954. Jinx Witherspoon worked as an editor at Ladies’ Home Journal before joining George Rodger as research assistant, PHOTO AGENCIES AND THE MAGNUM MODEL


table 2  early magnum staff key names, dates, and facts Staff Member

Years at Magnum position

experience before and after Magnum

Maria eisner


Secretary treasurer and

alliance photo (1933–1940)

John G. Morris


executive editor,

Director, Magnum paris New York and paris

Life (1941–1945) Ladies’ Home Journal (1945–1953) Washington Post (1964–1955) New York Times (1966–1974) National Geographic (1983–1989)

Jinx rodger (née


temporary editorial Staff,


editorial Staff, paris

Witherspoon) Joan Bush

New York and paris

NBC, BBC (1945–1946) Ladies’ Home Journal (1946–1950) Life (1944–1948) economic Cooperation administration (1950–1952) Picture Post (1952–1956) World health Organization (1956–1982)

Inge Bondi


editor for Special projects and advertising,

BBC palestine (1946–1947) New York Post (1949–1950)

New York trudy Feliu


paris Bureau Chief

Sam holmes


associate editor and

Life and CBS (dates unknown; before Magnum) Fernandina Newsleader (FL) and

picture Library Director,

Wilmington Star-News (NC) (dates

New York

unknown; before Magnum)

Michel Chevalier


european editor and

Lee Jones


associate editor and later

paris Bureau Chief New York Bureau Chief

Paris Match (dates unknown; before Magnum) This Week (dates unknown; before Magnum)

collaborator, and, in 1953, wife.96 In the early 1950s, she devoted months to editing pictures and organizing files as a part-timer in both the New York and paris offices, and even helped rodger get an assignment to travel through africa for the economic Cooperation administration.97 She accompanied him on all of his long journeys through the Middle east and africa and worked on his film, captions, and archive once they settled in england. Inge Bondi, hired as a secretary in 1950, came with experience from the BBC public relations office in palestine. She quickly expanded her portfolio of responsibilities and by 1958 was Magnum’s editor of advertising and special projects. In that capacity, she forged lucrative relationships


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between Magnum and Madison Avenue advertising agencies (as we will see in chapter 5) and was responsible for overseeing Magnum’s inclusion in a range of prestigious museum exhibitions in the United States (chapter 6). Dozens of other women are nearly impossible to track because they did not have public personas, did not write memoirs, and did not leave behind a paper trail that could help reconstruct their careers. Yet “Michelie” had “full responsibility of [Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work]” in the mid-1950s, and “Yolande” fulfilled the bookkeeping and receptionist roles while dealing with all “photographers’ travel problems.”98 Their frequent appearance in Magnum’s correspondence is a reminder of their impressive skill sets and integral roles. The most senior staff member at Magnum from 1953 to 1960 was a man, yet his career trajectory was similar to that of the other staff. In 1951 Magnum’s founding photographers began to look for an organizational leader to replace Maria Eisner (who left in July of that year) and to address the information and image overload that they were generating.99 They turned to John Morris, who had become the picture editor of Ladies’ Home Journal after leaving Life in 1945. Hired in January 1953 “with responsibility for directing MAGNUM’s world-wide operations,” executive editor John Morris oversaw all editorial sales and production in the U.S. and Europe, which entailed communicating with all of the photographers and managing all of the office staff.100 He provided leadership and continuity at Magnum during the tumultuous 1950s as the market for photojournalism changed and the agency lost founders and presidents Robert Capa in 1954 and David Seymour in 1956. In January 1958 Morris helped hire Lee Jones, who was previously a picture editor at This Week, as an editorial associate for Magnum’s New York office. She took charge of story production and sales in the U.S., and when John Morris left Magnum in 1960, she took over as New York bureau chief. After Magnum, Morris remained one of the top picture editors in the United States. He worked at the New York Times during the war in Vietnam and then National Geographic. He served on a host of juries and advisory committees that shaped the photojournalistic profession, from the Missouri Photo Workshop (founded in 1949 by Clifton and Vi Edom) to the Miami Conference (created by Wilson Hicks at the University of Miami in 1957), and advised the Museum of Modern Art’s photography department.101 Most crucially for this book, Morris’s conviction that he was an important figure within the history of photojournalism motivated him to keep an extensive archive about his career.102 When I met Morris in 2013, he shared a copy of his Magnum-related archive, providing me with one of the most voluminous sources on the agency’s history (and no doubt hoping he would make it into the story). INFORMATION OVERLOAD

The very scale of Morris’s archive—nearly six thousand pages—showed that overproduction was a significant problem for the agency. Both the mandates of the photojournalistic profession and Magnum’s setup encouraged photographers to produce huge amounts of film. Magazine editors needed photographers to overshoot their assignments so that



editors and writers had an exhaustive pictorial account from which a small number of images would be chosen.103 Simultaneously, Magnum staff needed variety and large quantities of frames to maximize sales potential. rolls of film shot on assignment for an editorial client in russia or an industrial client in the Middle east could very well include scenic shots and portraits of local people that staff would try to sell to Holiday or National Geographic. portraits of national leaders or celebrities might be printed, laid out, and filed away for a future obituary or news profile. Cartier-Bresson was thinking along these lines in October 1949 when he instructed Magnum’s staff member Joan Bush to “make a good spread with [his] Matisse pix, if the dear old man disappears one day.”104 though the photographer was in Singapore at the time, he was mentally scanning his previous rolls of film and thinking about how to get more use out of them in the future. Yet the material overload at Magnum included more than pictures. photographers wrote frequently to office staff about what they were seeing, learning, and photographing. their letters included captions to film; research on stories; lists of mechanical issues with their cameras; and names of people who should receive thank-you presents. Staff replied frequently and at length, updating photographers about their negotiations with editors, giving them feedback on films, and filling them in on what other Magnum members were up to. Depending on how far away photographers were, sending and receiving letters from Magnum could take weeks. even though they often traveled with journalists or their spouses— who served as research assistants and writers—photographers often felt disconnected from their clients and colleagues. Much to the exhausted staff’s chagrin, photographers regularly asked for more updates about other photographers, more comments on their films, and generally just more contact. early Magnum was an exhausting effort in photographic production and in communication, its offices bustling with activity late into the evening and on weekends.105 In one snapshot of the New York headquarters where Magnum stayed from 1953 to 1955, all of the surfaces are covered with piles of press prints and papers (fig. 2). at least three typewriters are clacking at once while one person makes a phone call, one tries to read, and the photographer elliott erwitt and his wife, Lucienne, leaf through a magazine, their newborn baby cooing on the couch beside them. No doubt other sounds emanated from the desks and offices beyond the frame. the atmosphere at Magnum was not unlike the “sonic and kinesthetic cacophony” journalists experienced in turn-of-the-century newsrooms when they recalled the “throbbing of telephones and . . . a rushing of messengers, a running to and fro of heated men, clutching proofs and copy.”106 though Magnum’s clients had weekly rather than daily deadlines, its atmosphere could be just as charged. Morris tackled these issues by streamlining Magnum’s operations and systematizing its workflow. Upon starting in 1953, one his first proposals entailed cutting membership— which had ballooned to nearly forty photographers—and implementing a hierarchy based on photographers’ length of tenure and the amount of capital they put into the agency. By the summer of 1955, Magnum photographers were divided into contributors, associates, and members.107 associate and member photographers became shareholders, putting in 30

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Magnum Photos office, Sixty-Fourth Street, New York, 1953. © Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos.

$500 and $1000 into the organization respectively. Members were on the Magnum board, which meant they made financial and personnel decisions. With a majority of shareholders needed to vote in associates or member photographers, neither staff nor the founders could extend casual invitations to friends or protégés, as they had in the late 1940s. Prior to the implementation of this structure, Magnum had occasionally enlisted freelance photographers as “stringers” to help with assignments when Magnum members were not available. (Many stringers were Americans because Magnum’s founders were primarily based in Europe.) With the new hierarchy, stringers were replaced by “contributors”— photographers who did not put in capital but lent Magnum prestige. Its earliest contributors included such well-known American photographers as Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Lee Miller. All of these figures sold their photographs through their own representatives and dealers, but their contributor status meant that Magnum had a regular, albeit limited, selection of their work available for sale to the press.108 Morris especially hoped that limiting membership would help Magnum’s small and overburdened staff. The secretarial and editing needs of associate and member photographers now became the staff’s main priority. Simultaneously, Morris began to streamline Magnum’s communication process. The result was a highly regulated system of correspondence that offers the historian a treasure trove of details about Magnum’s operations. First, Morris introduced a weekly memo that summarized the week’s distribution and provided updates about individual photographers’ travels and story prospects. These memos had a publicity PHOTO AGENCIES AND THE MAGNUM MODEL


function as well since they were sent to Magnum’s clients, reminding them of Magnum’s bustling success. Staff helped compose additional weekly memos, one focused on U.S. business and one on international operations.109 a fourth type of weekly report was called a “snippet.” Organized alphabetically by photographer, this document consisted of private messages from staff about prices, assignment details, and sales prospects that was physically cut up into strips for each addressee. a copy of the entire report stayed with the Magnum offices, but photographers only received the cutout addressed to them, most often attached to Morris’s weekly memo. to facilitate international assignments, Morris introduced another weekly memo in 1953 called “Where’s Magnum?” (fig. 3). Morris hoped that editors would tack the paper onto their bulletin boards and keep an eye on it as news stories developed around the world. By 1957, Magnum distributed the memo to about twenty editors in the U.S. and just over fifty in europe.110 With time, additional logs and memos became necessary. In 1960 Magnum’s editor Inge Bondi developed an advertising log to keep track of noneditorial work and later created a special projects log for museum exhibitions. Because Magnum photographers and staff came to the agency with experience, they brought firsthand knowledge of how magazines conceived of, assigned, and edited photo essays. a recurring theme in their 1940s and 1950s correspondence is, how can photographers think more like the editors to whom they are trying to sell their work? how could they think about and shoot for the magazine page?111 how could they get better at making picture stories rather than single images? how can they improve their captioning? Its memos and letters are filled with information about the types of stories different magazines liked and details about magazines’ production schedules and the prices they paid for pictures. as a whole, they add up to a remarkably in-depth picture of the agency’s markets. MAGNUM’S MARKETS

In the U.S., magazines had done exceedingly well during the war, and they became Magnum’s primary clients in its aftermath. When Magnum was founded, Look’s circulation had reached 2 million, and by 1948 Life had 5.45 million subscribers (which does not include newsstand sales or the people who read borrowed copies).112 But these were not the only magazines with which Magnum wanted to work. Other widely read and bountifully illustrated magazines included National Geographic, This Week, Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s, and Ladies’ Home Journal. they were smaller operations than Life and did not define themselves exclusively as picture magazines. But they had ample resources and more malleable production schedules and political perspectives than the time Inc. publication. this made them, time and again, fitting partners for Magnum. after the war, american publishers also had money to launch new titles that appealed to segmented markets. In 1946 the Curtis publishing Company added the travel-oriented Holiday to its successful line of magazines and frequently commissioned Magnum photographers to shoot color stories outside of the U.S.113 and in 1954, time Inc. debuted Sports Illustrated. though John Morris called the latter “an outlet for some of the finest color around”—referencing its access to time Inc.’s state-of32

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Where’s Magnum? April 15, 1957. Courtesy of Magnum Foundation Archives.

the-art printing facilities—only a handful of Magnum photographers showed interest in working with the magazine in the 1950s.114 photographers who excelled in industrial photography often published in time, Inc.’s “most beautiful magazine,” Fortune, founded in 1929 to cover industry and business for the upper echelons of american society.115 In europe the growth of the illustrated press was slow and limited by paper and ink shortages, which made printing expensive. Magnum’s leadership knew that european magazines would, in the late forties and early fifties, publish shorter features than american publications and that they would print far less color.116 european magazines also had smaller budgets, which meant that they could rarely pay Magnum photographers to shoot original picture stories. as a result, it was common for Magnum to secure advance funding from american magazines and then resell the story in europe. But european markets were not an afterthought for Magnum. european magazines were in dire need of picture material and often bought Magnum work that american editors rejected. In 1952 robert Capa told George rodger that often “a story is quite sufficient for europe but not so for U.S. magazines. . . . [european] editors are not only hungry but they can quickly realize how to lay out and how to use a subject.”117 Last-minute sales were also possible in europe, while american magazines had more rigid editorial policies and longer production schedules. and whereas a news story packaged for the european market could be sold “as is” in nine countries (robert Capa called this selling a “vertical stack”), in the U.S., a story had to be re-edited to suit each magazine’s audience and editorial perspectives.118 One of the main responsibilities of Magnum staff was working with photographers to develop, edit, and re-edit photo essays that would appeal to cultural and political mindsets on both sides of the atlantic. already in July 1947, Seymour’s colleagues in New York instructed him to shoot stories “that will stand up in three markets—american, British, and european.”119 In the following chapters, we will look closely at Magnum’s photographs in american publications, and we will occasionally encounter their pictures in european contexts. Magnum’s photographs were republished in europe because Magnum had concrete systems for working with european editors and publishers via its paris office.120 Staff printed multiple sets of the same pictures and distributed them, with captions, to different magazines or sales agents.121 to deliver film from the field to Magnum’s offices, and then send edited work to magazines or between its New York and paris headquarters, Magnum made use of various transport networks. It hired motorcyclists, paid couriers on trains and planes, and even developed standing accounts with airlines that regularly transported their film.122 Magnum was, after all, an international photo agency: international not just because of where its photographers went, but also because of the international network of clients to whom it sold its work. a 1950 photograph of Magnum’s paris headquarters—maps tacked to the wall, the leading european editors seated at the table next to photographers and staff—encapsulates its european network well (fig. 4). Most have looked up from the assignment lists and letters sprawled on the table to listen to robert Capa. Magnum’s first president personally brokered sales and gave out assignments, which he arranged with friends and colleagues such as Len Spooner of Illustrated, shown in the foreground in glasses, and Epoca’s alberto Mon34

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A Magnum Photos meeting in Paris, 1950. From left to right: Robert Capa, Maria Eisner, Alberto Mondadori (Epoca), Ernst Haas, George Rodger, Joan Bush, David Seymour, Leonard Spooner (Illustrated), Werner Bischof. © Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos.

dadori, who is about to light his cigarette. Capa’s hand gestures to his protégé Ernst Haas and the piles of courier envelopes along the wall, waiting to be opened and filed. So how did Magnum actually sell stories in Europe? Magnum’s archive highlights the main players of European publishing and attests to a tremendous shift in sales strategy in under fifteen years. To create a steady income stream for the Paris office, Magnum initially gave certain European magazines first-look rights or contracts. By the end of the 1950s, with the European economy greatly recovered, the Paris office worked with a network of sales agents who sold Magnum’s pictures throughout Western Europe on a commission basis. The situation in each country was slightly different. Len Spooner, editor of London’s Illustrated magazine, was friends with Robert Capa, and he became Magnum-Paris’s first contractual client. For a fixed monthly sum, Spooner saw all of Magnum’s pictures before anyone else in England. He would pay Magnum additional fees if he chose to publish their photos, but if he could not use the material, he agreed to quickly pass it on to other magazines in the country, before the pictures lost their news value.123 Because of this arrangement, over sixty picture essays by Magnum photographers appeared in Illustrated between 1947 and 1951.124 PHOTO AGENCIES AND THE MAGNUM MODEL



Early Magnum photo essays in Illustrated. Original artwork by Monica Ong Reed, Yale University Digital Humanities Laboratory.

By mid-1952, Magnum was far better known than it had been in 1947, and other editors became interested in having preferential access to the agency’s pictures. Britain’s Picture Post offered Magnum a higher paying contract and the agency accepted. Yet Capa and Spooner remained involved because Magnum trusted his editorial judgment and picture sense. In late November 1953, Capa told Magnum that he had convinced Picture Post to employ Spooner (who had since left Illustrated) as “Magnum’s representative and pictorial advisor. Under this new set-up our chances . . . to have our stuff laid out and published in a way we like it are greatly increased.”125 Just a few years later, rumors about the demise of Picture Post (which closed in May 1957) led Magnum to look for a reliable sales agent to handle the market in England. The position had high turnover. Between 1956 and 1957, David Mitchell of Pictorial Press Ltd. was quickly replaced by Eric Pothecary (the latter recommended by George Rodger). Noting that the magazine situation in England was rather “confused,” a Magnum report on the European market (most likely by Trudy Feliu) suggested that the agency should also focus on advertising and industrial photography in England—a market that was already booming in the U.S.126 In 1958 John Hillelson became Magnum’s representative in London, holding this position for nearly three decades.127 An excellent salesman, Hillelson forged a relationship between Magnum and Queen, a large slick magazine in England akin to the French Réalités, and regularly sold Magnum work to London Illustrated, Go, Woman’s Mirror, and the Sunday Times Supplement.128 In France, things changed dramatically in Magnum’s first five years. In 1947 a pessimistic Capa told Maria Eisner that “Paris at the moment does not pay” and encouraged photographers to shoot more stories about France, but not for French readers. 129 But two years later, the French industrialist Jean Prouvost started Paris Match, hiring Roger Therond as its editor. Like Life, the weekly Paris Match positioned itself as its country’s leading illustrated news magazine, and it employed a large staff of photographers who, like Magnum’s, “travel everywhere.” The magazine quickly began to buy the agency’s news feature stories from around the world, paying about $500–$600 for a six-page photo essay, with more for color.130 Other publications vied for the agency’s business. In 1952 Magnum’s stockholders read that “France is nearly our biggest market on the mainland of Europe. Match . . . wants stories with guts, and they pay for them. Point de Vue is soon going in for lots of color, and [the monthly] Réalités is giving assignments. . . . While their text is sloppy their layouts are excellent.”131 Magnum’s Paris staff sold work to French editors directly, and the agency’s first presidents, Capa and Seymour, were highly involved in cultivating relationships with French publications, including La Semaine de France, launched by aviation industrialist Marcel Dassault as a competitor to Paris Match.132 With the French market growing steadily, Magnum hired Michel Chevalier to manage its Paris office in 1957. Previously an editor at Paris Match, Chevalier further expanded Magnum’s sales in France. In 1960, Chevalier’s last year at Magnum (he resigned in February 1961 to start his own magazine), Magnum published nearly double the number of pages in Paris Match (199) as it did in Life (116).133 The Allied occupation of Germany and Austria led to the creation of new publications and established new channels for publishing photographs in both countries.134 The short-lived PHOTO AGENCIES AND THE MAGNUM MODEL


Heute (Today), published by the occupying authorities in Munich from 1945 to 1951, used photography to promote an american vision of democracy, equality, and internationalism among Germans recovering from the war. possibly thanks to Capa’s connections, it became one of Magnum’s first european clients, publishing the agency’s stories on travel, fashion, and film productions to promote knowledge of contemporary european culture. Magnum also hired the agent paula Wehr to represent the agency in occupied austria and Germany. For $400 a month, she arranged for first-look rights for Münchner Illustrierte, which had between two and seven days to decide whether it would keep Magnum’s pictures before returning them to Wehr for redistribution to other publications.135 By the mid-1950s, Magnum was selling mostly black-and-white pictures to Münchner Illustrierte, Quick, Der Stern, and EBZ. though paris staff found paula Wehr “impossible to bear” on a personal level, they praised her for selling Magnum’s material widely and getting “very high prices.”136 around the same time, John Morris called Germany a “triple opportunity . . . an important culture, an important story area, and [an] important market,” even though its lack of a center made picture distribution there more challenging.137 recognizing the sales opportunities in Germany, Magnum established a German desk at its paris office around 1959. herbert Schaaf became Magnum’s liaison with German publications and was promoted to associate editor by 1961, when Revue and Der Stern were the agency’s leading German clients.138 In Italy’s publishing center of Milan, new magazines appeared: L’Europeo and Oggi in 1945; La Settimana Incom Illustrata and Settimo Giorno in 1948; and Epoca in 1950 shortly thereafter. Magnum signed a contract with Epoca, founded by alberto Mondadori and modeled on Life in its commitment to high-quality pictorial reporting. Epoca agreed to pay 1.2 million lire to see thirty-six black-and-white and twelve color stories by Magnum photographers each quarter.139 the magazine was especially eager to see coverage of the U.S. Its staff requested wide-ranging subjects, from the Metropolitan Opera to Coca Cola. It also purchased older Magnum photo essays, including Capa’s coverage of the USSr (1947) and Israel (1948), publishing these in the early 1950s with extensive color.140 Yet Magnum’s relationship with early Epoca was imperfect. the magazine failed to credit Magnum photographers a handful of times and it was often late with payments.141 Epoca was disappointed when Magnum did not provide spot news coverage, leading Magnum to refer it to the wire services.142 the contract broke off in 1951, and Magnum went on the open market in Italy, selling its pictures through a Milan-based agent named Ferdinando Carrese. Yet Carrese could not earn a steady income, and Magnum re-signed with Epoca in 1954.143 the new contract gave Epoca first Italian rights to Magnum’s picture stories for three months.144 Magnum’s other clients in Italy included Le Ore (which trudy Feliu praised for the “best layout and story treatment” in Italy); L’Illustrazione Italiana (focused on travel and eager to buy color stories from Magnum’s archive); Oggi, and Tempo. In early 1956 Magnum’s relationship with Epoca changed again after the magazine signed a new contract with Paris Match. “For a fixed monthly sum (reportedly about $6,000 a month) the contracting magazine [gets] the entire production of Match, with full sets of prints sent off daily and advance lists of contents,” explained trudy Feliu to Magnum pho38

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Early Magnum photo essays in Epoca. Original artwork by Monica Ong Reed, Yale University Digital Humanities Laboratory.

tographers. If Epoca did not want to publish the material, it could resell it to other Italian publications. as a result of this setup, Epoca essentially became a subagent of Paris Match, and Magnum had to compete with its own customers for european distribution.145By 1958 Carrese had hired the journalist Franco di Bella, a time-Life correspondent in Milan, to serve as liaison between Magnum and the Italian editors.146 By the 1960s the agency moved away from magazine contracts and was selling pictures through publifoto, the picture agency run by Carrese. It also hired a second representative in rome, and by 1961 the Italian market made up 10.8 percent of Magnum’s european sales.147 In Switzerland, rosellina Bischof, the widow of Magnum photographer Werner Bischof, became Magnum’s de facto agent in the mid-1950s.148 as a result of her efforts, the Swiss magazines that regularly published Magnum’s work included Sie und Er, Die Woche, Du, and Weltwoche.149 In Belgium and holland, the agent Imre rona placed Magnum’s work in Patriote Illustre, Kath Illustre, and De Spaarnestad, though Magnum was often unhappy with the low prices that rona secured.150 Staff was happier with the highly effective agent Kurt Schneider, who sold Magnum stories to each of the leading magazines in Scandinavia, especially Billed Bladet in Denmark and Aktuell in Norway, throughout the fifties.151 By making photographers the owners of their business, Magnum tweaked the photo agency model without reinventing it altogether. photographers and staff could not study every market and speak every language, but they knew when and where to get help. the time and resources Magnum invested in its european network distribution system were essential to the agency’s business strategy, because each successful distribution meant money as well as publicity for Magnum. the founders thus took advantage of all of the technologies and professional trends that were already being put in place, and they did so at an opportune moment: when the demand for news pictures had never been greater. But what stories would the photographers shoot now that the biggest single story of the twentieth century—World War II—had ended? and how would they get those stories published? With their business incorporated and their staff in place, Magnum went on the hunt for clients who wanted pictures of the postwar world.


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wrote a short memoir for Exposure, the magazine published by the Society for Photographic Education.1 The sixty-six-year-old picture editor was not yet ready for retirement, but he was already thinking about his legacy. He organized the profile as he did numerous interviews until the end of his life at the age of one hundred, explaining how he crossed paths with Robert Capa, W. Eugene Smith, and other famous photographers during and after World War II.2 Yet his biggest achievement, he revealed this time, was inspiring The Family of Man, known then and now as the most important photographic exhibition of the postwar period and credited with canonizing the humanist style of photography.3 Curated by Edward Steichen, the exhibition brought together 503 images by 271 photographers that were organized thematically, with galleries devoted to images of birth, death, work, play, love, and joy. Many of the pictures were shot up-close and showed people going about their everyday lives with empathy and intimacy. After opening at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955, The Family of Man, under the auspices of the United States Information Agency (USIA), toured sixty-one countries, N 1982 JOHN MORRIS


where it was seen enthusiastically by nine million people.4 though many critics dismissed Steichen’s show both for its political naïveté and on aesthetic grounds, the viewers who were photographed looking at the show were clearly empathetic.5 So too were the photographers whose pictures were included in the exhibition. Magnum was especially proud that forty-three images, or 14 percent of the show’s content, had been selected from its files—a representation larger than that of any other photo agency. the agency quickly made humanist photography central to its brand in publicity mailings, exhibitions, and articles placed in the industry press. historians followed suit, to this day defining the humanist aesthetic via Magnum’s photography and The Family of Man.6 Magnum supplied many of the pictures, but Morris said he gave Steichen the actual template. he explained that in the spring of 1947, he had just started a new job at Ladies’ Home Journal and had “obtained backing for a worldwide photographic series intended to compare the daily lives of farm families.” the series, which ran every month for an entire year, was called “people are people the World Over,” and he had arranged to have most of its pictures shot by a new agency called Magnum. the series “caught Steichen’s eye.” Seven years later, the curator modeled his galleries on Morris’s photo essay installments—which featured spreads on families eating, praying, and getting around. Steichen even selected a number of “people are people” pictures for “his ‘Family.’ ”7 Because Morris had the original idea and had commissioned Magnum to take the pictures, his Exposure memoir implied that humanist photography should, in a sense, be traced back to him. Morris was correct in some ways. “people are people the World Over” was indeed Magnum’s first major photo essay, and it was commissioned by Morris at Ladies’ Home Journal. Its universalizing message was similar to the one in The Family of Man, and it reflected the vision of its picture editor just as the MOMa exhibition reflected that of its curator. But “people are people” is important for more than whom it inspired or who came up with the idea.8 Written in 1982, Morris’s profile is a prime example of how later interpretations of the ambitious and complex photographic projects from the late 1940s collapsed them under the humanist label and defined them in relation to their better-known counterparts. In the process, their historical significance has been lost. rather than showing the advent of a humanist style, Magnum’s earliest projects, which are the subject of this chapter, open on to the close relationship between photography, advocacy, and news in the late 1940s. “people are people the World Over,” as well as David Seymour’s “Children of europe” portfolio for UNeSCO, show that soon after its founding, Magnum supplied editors and publishers with human-interest pictures that were used to create subtly different visions about the “postwar” world. though both “people are people” and “Children of europe” include empathetic photographs of regular people, they represent two competing internationalisms: the one-world internationalism of the american Ladies’ Home Journal and the european internationalism of the United Nations and UNeSCO. What these projects did have in common was their opposition to the american Century crusade of henry Luce and Life. Working out of both New York and paris, Magnum’s photographers and agents straddled two worlds and sets of identities and were able to work with press and 42

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institutional partners who represented both an American and a European vision of the postwar world. Understanding how they did this requires situating Magnum into the larger intellectual, social, political, and business context in which the agency and its pictures operated circa 1947. A POSTWAR PARTNERSHIP: THE GOULDS, JOHN MORRIS, AND MAGNUM

True to the collaborative nature of magazine publishing, the idea to visually document the lives of farming families around the world emerged out of a conversation between the managing editors of Ladies’ Home Journal, the Journal’s picture editor, and Magnum’s president, Robert Capa. While the Journal’s leadership fundamentally shaped the ambitions and limitations of the project, Magnum’s international network of photographers made it possible for the Journal to turn its editorial vision into a serialized photo essay. Owned by the Curtis Publishing Company of Philadelphia, the Ladies’ Home Journal was created in 1883 to inform and entertain its predominantly white, middle-class, female readers whose lives revolved around their domestic responsibilities.9 When Bruce and Beatrice Gould became the Journal’s managing editors in 1935—following almost two decades of floundering leadership and dwindling readers—they transformed the magazine’s editorial content and updated its appearance, leading sales to climb. The Journal became a relatively progressive publication intent on swaying public opinion on such taboo subjects as contraception, the high rates of maternal mortality in the U.S., syphilis, and divorce. The managing editors also took over the art direction, redesigning the Journal’s page layout and going after a dramatic, modern look.10 In a color feature on the Journal’s production, Mrs. Gould epitomized the fashionable working woman, posing confidently in her state-of-the-art editing office, where an issue of the Journal had just closed (fig. 7).11 The Goulds understood that images had a role to play in communicating the magazine’s tempered radicalism.12 Seeing the popularity of illustrated magazines all around them, the Goulds were eager to improve the Journal’s use of photography and photo essays. In 1945 they hired John G. Morris, who had trained under Life’s influential picture editor Wilson Hicks, to serve as their new photo editor.13 McCalls, the Journal’s main competitor soon followed suit, recruiting two Look editors, Daniel Mich and Henry Ehrlich, to their staff. The Journal was thus one of multiple magazines after World War II that hoped to make better use of photography with the help of experienced editors from the general illustrated weeklies.14 At the Journal, where the Goulds declared, “Ideas are the life blood of a magazine,” Morris’s responsibilities included thinking up distinctively photographic stories, and accepting when most of his ideas were rejected.15 Soon after Morris came on board, the Goulds encouraged editors to think about building on the success of the tremendously popular “How America Lives” series. Launched in 1940 by executive editor Mary Bass, “How America Lives” (HAL) hired established photographers to spend up to one week living with an American family, collecting intimate snapshots and gathering data about their daily affairs (fig. 8). The installment gave readers a glimpse into every aspect of the family’s lifestyle: from their HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES FROM THE POSTWAR WORLD



Managing editors Bruce and Beatrice Gould in “How the Journal Lives,” Ladies’ Home Journal (May 1949), 194. Courtesy of University of Southern California Libraries.


“How America Lives: The Sullivan Struggle,” Ladies’ Home Journal (March 1948), 206–207. Courtesy of University of Southern California Libraries.

home décor, meals, and evening pastimes, to their spending patterns and painful disagreements. While the families came from diverse economic backgrounds, they were for the most part white, modeled traditional gender roles, and conformed to core American values such as hard work, frugality, and self-reliance.16 Yet “How America Lives” did more than measure families’ lifestyles while celebrating the American spirit. Each installment featured pages of photographs of the families at home and in their communities, beckoning readers to study the visual content as carefully as the text. The Journal’s editors admitted that they occasionally staged scenes in their studio, provided makeovers to homes before a shoot, and gave family members clothes to wear. Yet each photographer hired for the series tried to create spontaneous, everyday scenes that readers could recognize from their own lives. The hope was that their pictures would exemplify the social documentary aesthetic of 1930s America.17 As one of the Journal’s most popular features, HAL integrated documentary photography with two equally appealing currents in American journalism that Magnum would regularly tap into in the late 1940s and 1950s: human-interest stories and sociology. Human-interest stories became a regular feature of written and illustrated journalism in the nineteenth century, when they were invented to appeal to the widest range of newspaper readers possible. While some human-interest stories dealt with incredible things that HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES FROM THE POSTWAR WORLD


happened to ordinary people—such as fires and murders—more often they consisted of gossip and trifling events that were entertaining, memorable, and could boost newspaper sales.18 these kinds of stories were central to making the press both popular and profitable, and their appeal increased further when new print technologies allowed publishers to include illustrations to accompany the text.19 Once photographic images could be printed alongside the written word, human-interest stories became a staple of modern photojournalism. During the interwar period, such stories took on a new political tenor. Magazines such as the German Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, the Soviet USSR in Construction, the French Vu, the english Picture Post, and the american Life exploited the “day in the life of” angle to shed light on the fate of laborers, to promote social change, or to uphold leftist political platforms.20 portraits of mothers and children were particularly effective in showing the plight of everyday people as a result of the economic or political upheavals of the 1930s, whether in Depression-era america or Civil War– torn Spain.21 the daily experiences of anonymous individuals continued to shape the most acclaimed photographic reports of World War II and its aftermath, seen in robert Capa’s now iconic documentation of French collaborators being ridiculed in the streets of paris after the fall of Vichy France or ernst haas’s coverage of prisoners of war returning to austria.22 In a range of press contexts, the human-interest element made stories about World War II and its aftermath palpable. the advent of sociology likewise had a profound impact on magazine culture. Beginning in the 1920s and 1930s, government agencies and corporations embraced widespread polling and surveying, the results of which were publicized through popular culture channels and allowed people to find out who the american public “really was.”23 By the 1940s, the entrenchment of what Sarah Igo termed “the averaged american” became a source of news and entertainment. radio programs and newspaper articles publicized and debated the findings of studies such as Middletown and the Kinsey reports, while the tools of sociology—bell curves, graphs, and public opinion findings—shaped the form of the news stories themselves. In these same decades, journalists and social reformers increasingly turned to photography to gather visual evidence of tenement overcrowding, child labor, and the effects of drought on migrant farmers.24 Sociology is at the heart of the best-known chapters in photographic history, including the american Farm Security administration’s (FSa) photographic unit, which was tasked with documenting the activities of the resettlement administration and american rural life. Under the direction of roy Stryker, a trained sociologist, FSa photographers were taught to shoot from carefully crafted shooting scripts that were based on social and economic research, and they were asked to provide extensive reports from the field.25 When government funding declined in the early 1940s, magazines began employing former FSa photographers and methods pioneered by Stryker, now for the purpose of informing and entertaining magazine readers curious about the private, everyday life of ordinary families. “how america Lives” in particular hired notable FSa photographers, including esther Bubley.26 according to the Journal’s managing editors, “how america Lives” was representative of the kind of work that the Journal needed to publish more of once the Second World War 46

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ended.27 While encouraging its editorial staff to come up with illustrated stories that were “linked up in some way with people’s everyday concerns,” the Goulds were not simply after feel-good fluff pieces. During the war, the magazine covered events overseas and on the home front, publishing editorials by such notable leaders as Eleanor Roosevelt and Walter Lippman.28 Its postwar content needed to be equally rigorous. Within two years of joining their team, Morris pitched a story that appealed directly to the Goulds’ progressive politics and their request for more stories about “ordinary life” and the problems of “ordinary people,” but on a global scale. “My experience abroad during the war and my recent observations of the United Nations,” Morris wrote to the Goulds in early 1947, “have led me to believe that people will become world-minded only if they can be made to concentrate on the cultural unity of the world rather than on its political division.” In the proposal for the story that became “People are People the World Over,” Morris made a direct connection between the job of a magazine editor and the political reality facing postwar readers: “if people will only stop to consider the fundamental natures of those whom they often consider ‘foreign,’ they will soon realize that there are really no foreigners—any more. And if there are no foreigners there are no people to fight, for you don’t fight ‘your own kind.’ So the editorial job is to explain peoples to peoples in intimate, vivid terms, taking them not country by country but trait by trait, problem by problem.”29 A story about the everyday lives of everyday people would have the explicit purpose of contributing to world understanding. It would also keep the magazine’s readers engaged by tapping into their new interest in global affairs. Morris’s proposal reflected the new “global imaginary” underpinning both the internationalism of the United Nations and the brief, waning one-world movement that took root during World War II and was codified in the eponymous book by Wendell Wilkie.30 One World became the best-selling nonfiction book in America in 1945, when it sold 4.5 million copies and enamored readers with the prospect of a world without boundaries, made possible by the advent of air travel.31 Wilkie’s vision took on a different tenor after World War II, which ended with the detonation of two atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Stunned by the United States’ ability to use such extensive force, American scientists, intellectuals, political leaders, and magazine publishers used all possible media channels to argue for a one-world government to oversee international policy. It would take control over the newly developed atomic weapons and their capacity for world annihilation.32 The Ladies’ Home Journal had already expressed its support for the movement, publishing, among other features, an urgent editorial by the acclaimed journalist Dorothy Thompson in 1946. Thompson advocated for a world government that would control international policy and war-making powers for future generations.33 Echoing this logic of shared global responsibility, Morris described the amazing variety and interconnectedness of the postwar world, observing that “there is far more cultural unity in the world than we usually suspect.” He described a world of mobility in which goods and experiences connected everyday people: “Consider for example the universal appeal of motion pictures. . . . Consider the jeep . . . the deluxe hotel . . . air travel . . . Paris fashions. . . HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES FROM THE POSTWAR WORLD


Consider that the vaccine injected into the arm of a Sikh may have been prepared by a Jewish laboratory technician in a New York hospital.”34 Notably and quite unlike henry Luce’s 1941 editorial “the american Century”—which told Life readers that the U.S. had a mission to spread its values and culture to the rest of the world—Morris did not suggest that the United States needed to be the global leader.35 his language echoed the internationalist values of the 1946 charter of the United Nations educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which identified cultural ignorance as the root cause of war and began, “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”36 Both the UNeSCO charter and “people are people the World Over” suggested that international policy was not enough to ensure peace, and that individuals needed to gain intimate knowledge of, and personal empathy for, other people and their cultures.37 Morris wanted to use popular mass media channels to dispel readers’ ignorance and ensure that no more wars would be started “in the minds of men”—or rather, women, who in mid-century america were seen as responsible for shaping their families’ values and politics.38 and the picture editor knew that photographs would be more convincing than words alone, not least because of the success of the illustrated haL series. he marveled at the scope and scale of his idea, which could “consume the energies of an entire staff of photographers in itself.”39 although he did not mention Magnum in his proposal, Morris had recently learned about the agency’s creation from Capa and understood that Magnum could make such a project possible by enlisting its international team, and Morris could call on former Life war photographers to cover any remaining locations.40 For Magnum, the assignment promised to employ its photographers who were already based around the world, and its founders hoped that Morris would provide a sizable income boost to their nascent organization. the Goulds liked Morris’s idea from a political and journalistic perspective, but they were not immediately convinced how photography would support the series’ message. Before signing up any other photographers to the project, Morris and robert Capa flew to the Goulds’ native Boise, Idaho, in search of the story’s first family. Morris was there to ensure that Capa’s pictures would suit the Goulds’ tastes and interests.41 the editor recounted that the pair drove for hours until they found a picturesque red barn whose owners, conveniently, “looked like they were picked by hollywood central casting” for the part of the american family.42 the pratts agreed to let Capa and Morris stay for a few days and photograph them as they went about their daily activities. a week later, the Goulds approved Capa’s photographs, twenty of which—including a posed family portrait, the pratts at dinner, and Mrs. pratt in her kitchen—became the series’ template and the foundation for a shooting script that Morris developed for the other photographers.43 the twelve countries selected for the series covered six continents and represented a range of cultures and political systems, including former allies and axis nations (the United States, France, Germany, england, Japan, and Italy were featured) as well as egypt, pakistan, and equatorial africa. With the Goulds’ approval in place, Capa recruited George rodger 48

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and Seymour to shoot five of the countries, and between Magnum’s and Morris’s international contacts, they signed up the photographers Larry Burrows, Marie Hansen, Phil Schultz, and Horace Bristol to work in the remaining locations as Magnum stringers. Each photographer received an extensive questionnaire like those made for “How America Lives.” Each was asked to work as a sociologist, asking everything from how much money families spent on soap to what careers fathers wanted for their children. Statistical information and memorable details became the foundation for Morris’s short essays, which accompanied each installment. Working with John Morris’s secretary, Jinx Witherspoon, Rita Vandivert helped finalize what staple foods each family should be farming in order to “give variety to the story,” and she instructed photographers to “cable before shooting” if they had to deviate from the instructions.44 The series’ requirements were inflexible—every single scene had to be shot in order to make the thematically organized installments work—and the $15,000 budget limited, so the team of photographers had to follow Morris’s script exactly and be efficient with their film and their time.45 It was well worth the effort from Magnum’s perspective. The Journal not only paid for the assignment up front but also covered photographers’ expenses and materials on location.46 The money helped George Rodger finance his travels through Africa, which yielded a number of stories for Illustrated magazine in England. Capa was able to repackage his story on the Czechoslovakian farming family for additional income from Sie und Er while Seymour produced a number of stories on postwar Germany and Austria that sold to Illustrated, Epoca, Quick, and Images du Monde.47 The idea and execution of the Journal project was thus beneficial to all sides: to the managing editors looking for a new series to raise the prestige of their magazine; the picture editor, eager to share his views on the postwar world and prove himself to his bosses; and for Magnum, in need of revenue flow and work for its many photographers. PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE THE WORLD OVER

When it appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, “People are People the World Over” immediately alerted readers to its astounding scale: “Here are 88 of the 2,000,000,000 people who inhabit the planet Earth. They are 12 families who represent 12 countries, 3 races and 5 religious faiths. They speak 11 languages.”48 Morris’s text also revealed the series’ moralizing goal and took care to frame it in opposition to what readers were seeing on a daily basis in the press: “The conclusion of our survey will surprise only those who write newspaper headlines. It is simply that people are pretty much people, no matter where you find them.”49 To support this claim, the feature was organized by activity rather than country, so that readers were immediately confronted with shared aspects of daily life—such as eating, shopping, and bathing—and then given visual and textual clues about how these activities varied around the world. Before delving into the first activity, the introductory installment opened with a series of family portraits (fig. 9). In each photograph, the family members were lined up neatly, wearing their best clothes and smiling broadly at the camera. Even while the kimonos and serapes served as visible markers of different cultures, the bigger message was that “the family is still the basic building block of society.”50 These pages made HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES FROM THE POSTWAR WORLD



“people are people the World Over: Introduction,” Ladies’ Home Journal (May 1948), 42–43. © Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

a direct appeal to the readers’ values—the centrality of family life, emphasized regularly in the Journal and in american media more broadly—and their shared experience of posing for the camera and creating memories through photography. the family portraits established photography as a recognizable and therefore trustworthy language that Journal readers could comprehend, while the series’ layout—designed by Dave Stech, who went on to have a long career as the associate art director at Life—resembled a family album, an established site for documenting private life and mediating familial relationships.51 this close visual resonance to the photo album was thus far from coincidental. “people are people” as well as its precedent “how america Lives” demonstrated that vernacular and professional photography were evolving simultaneously and in reference to each other, and that both were integral to readers’ visual experience. In a fitting appeal to the magazine’s female readers, the first installment of the series was titled “Woman’s World revolves around the Kitchen,” and it showed twelve black-and-white photographs of women from as many countries, each engrossed at her stove (fig. 10). the pictures of women standing or sitting at their stoves were astonishingly similar, showing that the photographers had adhered to Morris’s shooting script carefully and consulted Capa’s template photographs from Idaho when shaping the composition of their shots. In 50

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“Woman’s World Revolves Around the Kitchen,” Ladies’ Home Journal (May 1948), 44–45. © Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

the first installment, all of the matriarchs appeared in full or partial profile, and the frames included enough of their surroundings so that readers could see the particulars of their kitchens, including bits of tables, ovens, pots, and aprons. Morris noted the visible differences—for instance, that “only three of the twelve wives have electricity, only four have running water”—but regularly came back to the commonalities, including men’s “international reluctance to do housework.” Indeed, not a single husband could be spotted in the kitchen shots.52 While Magnum’s photographers provided the raw material, Morris and his collaborators shaped the series’ message during postproduction. And certainly the series presumed that what is American is universal. Inspired by “How America Lives” and modeled on Capa’s pictures from Idaho, the shooting script expected photographers to find visual equivalents to an American family’s routine. At times the categories did not transfer well. In “This is the World at Home,” the English and American nuclear families sit comfortably in their living rooms, while in Mexico the family seems unnaturally squeezed into their small adobe house (fig. 11). In China, Pakistan, and Equatorial Africa, the families sit outside with their neighbors. Clearly, domesticity and privacy did not track in the same way. Many of the families did not have refrigerators or cars like the Pratts, showing a global hierarchy of development. And HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES FROM THE POSTWAR WORLD



“this is the World at home,” Ladies’ Home Journal (January 1949), 44–45. © Magnum photos. Courtesy of University of Southern California Libraries.

installments on such values as education (“this is how the World Studies”) and religion (“this is how the World prays”)—regularly explored in “how america Lives”—presumed that the same commitments should be found globally. Yet the Journal’s uniform texts, layouts, and picture-editing decisions all worked in the service of the series’ universal message. each family received a three-by-four-inch picture, placed evenly from its neighbor and arranged around the centerfold’s borders. For later installments, the Journal used the same formula of identically sized photographs surrounding two paragraphs of text and two views of the globe on which the same locations were listed. Morris also selected images with mirror-like compositions. In “how the World Gets around,” each image focused on a few family members with just enough of their unique landscape included in the frame: a row of parasols lining a street in Japan, the arid land of Mexico, the piles of rubble and skeletal remains of buildings in Germany. In the November 1948 installment, most of the photographs of families eating were shot slightly from above, capturing the entire family with their traditional garb and seating arrangements. though photographers took pictures of their families from different angles, including looking into the camera and acknowledging the presence of the photographer, Morris’s selection of pictures almost never showed the subjects making eye contact with the viewer.53 his goal 52

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of convincing readers that “there are no foreigners anymore” required visual uniformity rather than variety. It left little room for interpretation on the part of the reader, and it erased the presence (and subjectivity) of the photographers almost entirely. As we saw, Morris drew on the language of internationalism when “People are People” was just an idea. In print the series made two very purposeful references to the United Nations. The October 1948 installment showed children of farmers around the world “united in the pursuit of knowledge,” learning in standard classrooms with teachers or in makeshift settings with family members. Morris emphasized that education would “enable them to live as free men in a free world,” a statement that echoed the underlying premise of UNESCO, which carried out literacy campaigns in remote villages and used photography in educational exhibitions so that children would learn to understand and respect foreign cultures.54 In February 1949 he concluded the transportation story with the wish that “under the large, loose cloak of the United Nations, these, our families, may live as neighbors.”55 Using image and text then, Morris worked to make the abstract language and values of human rights, internationalism, and United Nations visible and easily recognizable. COMPETING VISIONS OF THE POSTWAR WORLD: THE LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL, LIFE, AND HEUTE

“People are People” took part in a larger battle over how Americans should visualize and relate to the postwar world and its people, and it offered a countercultural message in the context of the American media landscape. Its grid-like arrangement of pictures had no prescribed order, and it emphasized shared activities that could be seen in just one glance. This made the series quite different from the exoticizing and voyeuristic visual tactics used in the same years by magazines such as National Geographic.56 Even more importantly, the series used photography to offer an anti–Cold War, and an anti-Life magazine, analysis of the world. In the same month that Ladies’ Home Journal showed its readers a series of idyllic and picturesque photographs of agriculture in “This is How the World Farms,” Life led its July 1948 issue with an article titled, “If We Should Have to Fight Again.” Written by General Carl Spatz, the commander of the U.S. Army Strategic Air Force that dropped the first atomic bomb, the story explained “the principles of air strategy and the meaning airpower has for this country in the atomic age.”57 The general appeared in a largescale photograph, posing stiffly but with self-importance in front of a map of the world at the Pentagon’s Air Force headquarters, which located dozens of countries, just like the globe in the Journal series (fig. 12). This map’s purpose, however, could not have been more different. Titled “World Air Order of Battle,” the map compared the military air strength of the world’s nations—a far message from “People are People the World Over.” In Life articles such as these, maps and diagrams of the world were used to scare readers about the possibility of global destruction through nuclear warfare and to show support for the development of American atomic and military power. In contrast to Life’s map, the emblem of “People are People the World Over” consisted of two views of a bright blue globe and complemented the series’ symmetrical layout and two-page format. Rather than charting HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES FROM THE POSTWAR WORLD



“If We Should have to Fight again,” Life (July 5, 1948), 34. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

precise locations, the Journal globe reminded readers that all of the families were part of the same world united by shared traits and concerns.58 the very limited redistribution of “people are people” also underscores how countercultural its message was. the photo essay received mixed responses from Journal readers and Morris’s colleagues. One editor at the Journal derided the series’ “grade school geography textbook format,” but Morris thought that the series’ didacticism could be a boon for childhood education. he inquired into possible funding from the rockefeller and Ford foundations to expand the project’s photographic research and attempted to have it published as a textbook with harper & Brothers, McGraw-hill, and MacMillan.59 he also considered various ways to have UNeSCO adapt it into “film strips, text books, and exhibits for use in primary and secondary schools throughout the world,” but that vision never came to frui-


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tion.60 In the U.S. Morris was able to resell the photo essay only to International House Quarterly, the magazine published by the American organization that established dormitories on college campuses for international students to live together and thereby promote understanding among generations of the world’s future leaders. Its audience, in other words, was already committed to getting to know people from other cultures.61 In Europe, where Magnum had a distribution system reaching nearly a dozen magazines, “People are People” sold only to the German-language illustrated Heute, which began printing the story in July 1948.62 Published by the American occupying authorities in Munich from 1945 to 1951, Heute was one of a number of publications established through the Marshall Plan that used photographic stories as part of its intertwined agenda of denazification and the promotion of American culture.63 James Rolleston notes that if fascist myths had been formed, in part, through photographic images, Heute aimed to “counteract the memory of spectacular special effects [of Nazi visual culture] by ordinary-yet-inspiring imagery of daily life, the universal third person . . . somehow supplanted by an infinite variety of unpretentious first persons.”64 Rather than addressing Germany’s recent history, the magazine focused on showing readers the “sheer variety of the present” through human-interest stories, political reportage, and extensive features on international movie productions, Parisian fashion, and global tourism.65 The Morris-Magnum collaboration was one of many photographic stories that participated in promoting the magazine’s distinctively American version of democracy, equality, and internationalism among Germans recovering from the war, but it was unique for its heavy-handed approach. Heute titled the series “Menschen wie du und ich,” or “People Like You and Me,” turning the story into a plea that addressed the ideologically fragile German readers ready, Americans feared, to turn back to fascism.66 The series’ emphatic exploration of life in the present could be an effective tool for recalibrating the worldviews of people who had been told that the present was a mere stepping stone between Germany’s oncepowerful past and its ideal future. Instead of the Journal’s double projection of the Earth, Heute’s single map of the globe was stretched out across the introductory page of the series, and a tangle of lines anchored the family portraits to an emphatically unified world (fig. 13). Heute included more text than the Journal version, thereby heightening the series’ educational function. While proceeding in the same order as the U.S. version, Heute gave each installment an extra page, allowing Magnum’s images to be reproduced at a larger scale. From a production perspective, this page allotment showed that Heute was in greater need of editorial content and photographic material than domestic publications, which also made Heute a reliable market for early Magnum’s travel, fashion, and entertainment stories.67 Both the American and German publication contexts of “People are People” challenge the notion that the series modeled an apolitical humanism in the aftermath of the Second World War, or that it reflected an internationalist politics that could be traced back to Magnum’s founders. In the United States the project aligned with the Goulds’ one-world-ism,




“Menschen Wie Du und Ich,” Heute (July 1948), 9. © Magnum photos.

and it offered american readers an alternative to the aggressive, pro-arms-race foreign policy being promoted in the pages of Life. In its address to the German public, the anti–Cold War message of “people are people” was instrumentalized to support an official american vision of the postwar world in which the U.S.—rather than the USSr, europe, or the United Nations—defined what a progressive internationalism looked like. With the help of the Marshall plan, the United States attempted to wield such discursive power by shaping the production and distribution of film, radio, and magazine content.68 “Menschen wie du und ich” shows that in light of Heute’s need for photographic material and Magnum’s need for international sales, editorial content could be shaped by a picture editor with a worldview that was actually in opposition to mainstream american foreign and media policy. It could also be supplied by an experimental picture agency started by european photographers who were just learning to get clients and were willing to have their work serve a variety of postwar internationalisms. as the case of David Seymour shows next, those who


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resisted being ideologically and editorially flexible faced professional challenges in the American market. The sale of “People are People” to Heute rather than to a UNESCO publication—which was John Morris’s original intention—also shows the repercussions of a larger debate between American and European institutions about who should shape the editorial content and visual culture of postwar publications in the former Axis nations. Whereas Henry Luce’s vision of the American Century placed that responsibility squarely on the United States, the Magnum-Journal series carried an international vision about cultural exchange and cooperation. Morris’s text regularly put faith in the United Nations and made no explicit reference to American leadership, even though the series held up American values and standards of living as a model for all families. In Europe, the very prospect of buying and reproducing written and photographic material from the United States made the United Nations and its network of agencies wary, given their vision for spreading a European, and especially French, model of civilization around the world.69 At a 1946 meeting on the state of the press, UNESCO committee members considered the notion of a free press alongside the practicalities: what infrastructure was left after the war, and where UNESCO should invest its resources to ensure that a variety of views and independent stories circulate, especially in the “ex-occupied” countries. The Preparatory Commission on the Press noted that while American newspapers and news agencies were “old structures on solid foundations” that could provide UNESCO with “readymade” stories at a cheap price, the group feared that relying on American material would stifle the rebirth of independent voices in Europe. Given the media’s involvement in propaganda efforts during World War II, UNESCO was wary of letting one country dominate how “the truth” was “revealed to the masses.”70 Their concern over giving that power to American publications and agencies shows how the U.S. and Europe were vying for cultural influence in the postwar and Cold War world. Magnum’s European makeup and Parisian office gave it an advantage in this context. While partnering with an American editorial team at the Journal, Magnum’s culturally European photographers like Seymour could simultaneously find a common language with—and gain assignments from—leaders of UNESCO on projects about the “postwar” world that failed to interest the American market. THE STRUGGLES OF DAVID SEYMOUR

When the European campaign ended in 1945, David Seymour, who had spent part of the war as a photo interpreter for the U.S. Army, returned to New York. He was not eager to go back to his job developing and retouching photographs at the Leco Service photo lab. His first big journalistic break after the war came a few months before Magnum’s founding. In early 1947 he was assigned to travel to England, France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany with a team of journalists to survey postwar life for This Week, a Sunday magazine supplement that was syndicated to major newspapers across the United States. At the time This Week



had a higher readership than Life. titled “We Went Back!,” the story appeared in print on august 10, 1947, and aired on CBS four days later.71 the print version consisted of short reports on the state of “bread,” “shelter,” “the americans,” “politics,” “morals,” and “children.” the twenty-page photo essay demonstrated the hardships ordinary people faced two years after the end of the war, including food and coal shortages. the text relied heavily on first-person statements by the story’s protagonists: a road builder from Normandy, a dock worker from London, a tokyo farmer, and policeman from paris. the focus on everyday working people around the world came out of the same investment in human-interest and sociology that drove the production of “people are people the World Over.” In “We Went Back!,” Seymour’s pictures gave readers a glimpse into the lives of tired and “calloused” Germans who lived among ruins, angered by the russian and american presence alike.72 In the reports on shelter and children, This Week’s associate editor Jerry Mason printed some of Seymour’s photographs in large format to heighten their emotional impact (fig. 14). In one, a German miner’s daughter stares intently at the camera while filling up on soup distributed by the red Cross, symbolizing the war’s toll on children while promoting the work of humanitarian organizations. Children were often in the news in 1947, their stories and pictures mobilized by magazine and newspaper editors to build support for reconstruction and rehabilitation in europe.73 Just that year, the United Nations relief and rehabilitation administration’s efforts to return kidnapped children from Germany to their families in eastern europe became “a public spectacle” in the press.74 Seymour’s story in This Week was part and parcel of a larger movement to present children as the “symbolic heart” of postwar relief and rebuilding efforts.75 Concluding with the hopeful observation that the children of former enemy states were now america’s “best hope,” the story aimed to build support for the Marshall plan, launched two months prior.76 Seymour was preparing to return to New York after his “We Went Back!” tour through europe when he received a cable from his old colleague Maria eisner. eisner informed Seymour of Magnum’s creation and instructed him to stay put because he had been assigned to cover eastern and Western europe for the new organization.77 In order to maximize business, Magnum’s photographers needed to generate story ideas from “their” part of the world and secure their own clients. they also had to know what magazine clients were interested in. echoing the instructions that the Goulds gave to John Morris, Maria eisner and rita Vandivert often reminded Magnum photographers to think in terms of human-interest stories. In one of her first letters to Seymour, Vandivert explained: “Lots of magazines seem to be thinking in terms of a two-page spread on any simple but lively subject—preferably something where the idea is familiar to american readers but the setting strange and interesting . . . stories showing how people live, their family life, their work, their recreation, hobbies, etc.”78 though she disparaged american editors for their predictable tastes on behalf of their readers (two-page spreads, surveys of the routine aspects of everyday life), Vandivert hoped that Seymour would apply this journalistic template to an international context and generate such stories in europe. 58

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“We Went Back!” This Week (August 10, 1947), E14. © David Seymour/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

Seymour’s first few years of Magnum membership did not bring a string of successes. He faced two major challenges.79 First, he did not yet have the fame or the established relationships with American editors that Rodger, Capa, and Cartier-Bresson enjoyed. In the late 1930s, Seymour had worked for Vu, Regards, and Ce Soir, covering Popular Front politics in Paris and creating an influential body of work on the Spanish civil war.80 But his time in the HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES FROM THE POSTWAR WORLD


U.S. air Force during World War II took him away from reporting while Capa and rodger worked for Life and became established as the leading photojournalists of their day. as a result, Seymour needed to take more financial risks when the war was over. he needed to produce stories on his own time or accept short assignments that paid less but that would introduce his work to american publications. Yet he was slow to take initiative. his early letters to the New York office often asked for more guidance on what and how to shoot than staff had time for and elicited strong responses from his cofounders. “Send in full, separate memos on every well-researched idea you have. Send in completed stories, well captioned and with a full memorandum. Don’t send in disorganized material. But please, stop bitching,” an exasperated Bill Vandivert once wrote.81 From a market perspective, Seymour’s interest in the aftermath of World War II and the holocaust was equally problematic. Capa had shot a few stories for Life on those topics while still a staffer in 1945, photographing the first rosh hashanah service held in Berlin since 1938 and a chateau in northern Germany housing the illegitimate children of Nazi officers (dubbed “Super Babies” by Life.)82 But these stories were brief and lighthearted, and they appeared in the magazine a few months after Germany’s surrender, when the war was still on readers’ minds. Seymour wanted to tackle that same story two years later, recognizing— as historians now do—that the world did not simply return to normal in 1945.83 For much of 1947, his preoccupation with the war’s aftermath made him resistant to Magnum’s sales plan of tailoring articles to specific magazines and thinking in snappy picture spreads and humaninterest stories. Seymour first proposed a trip to his native poland to document the transfer of polish refugees to the annexed territory of Silesia and to follow ethnic Germans expelled from poland back into Germany. In his story pitch, Seymour tried to employ journalistic parlance, explaining that “the migration was apparently one of the biggest in history. . . . the whole story will be of utmost interest in November when the Big Four will meet in London and discuss the problem of eastern borders of Germany. [London’s] Illustrated wants the story very much and considers it a good idea.”84 to make such a story financially viable, Magnum needed to sell it to an american magazine. But from their conversations with editors at This Week, Look, and Life, Vandivert and eisner both felt that Seymour’s ideas—which also included stories on the physical reconstruction of europe and the work of the Inter-allied reparations Commission—were too somber to be turned into photo essay features for the U.S. market. they also lacked a concrete human-interest angle at a time when editors were explicitly looking for stories about individuals rather than ideas or institutions.85 Life was less interested in international human-interest stories and would only buy Seymour’s poland story, said Vandivert, if “things get sufficiently bad this winter over there . . . they want pictures of starving hordes, and corpses everywhere and they wouldn’t believe that although things were bad the picture didn’t look like that.”86 While Life leaned toward sensationalism and shocking visual evidence, the Saturday Evening Post preferred a more lighthearted approach. It finally bought the poland story in


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December 1947, but its editor asked Vandivert to tell Seymour to focus more on “the everyday things that ordinary people do.” It clarified that “we like pictures that are informal, candid, and easy-going . . . such everyday things as housewives marketing, kids playing in the street, workmen enjoying a drink—make the best pictures.”87 Seymour was frustrated not only by the prescribed treatment of the story but also because many of the items on the Post’s shooting script were, by the time he received it, impossible to fulfill. He could get photographs of war damage and rebuilding (“important streets, intersections, citizens doing everyday chores”) and the building of homes for the arriving Polish peasants, but he would not be able to photograph university students “chewing the fat with a background of other university buildings still damaged” because classes had stopped for the winter holidays, as had the refugee convoys that brought Poles in and took German residents out.88 Seymour slowly realized that American magazines were not particularly interested in seeing the visual evidence of population transfers or the suffering of displaced people in the war’s aftermath. The editorial climate in America around 1947 that he experienced—of looking forward rather than back, embracing future economic and social developments rather than reflecting on the war that it had just experienced—was similar to Tony Judt’s classic description of Europe, where “silence over Europe’s recent past was the necessary condition for the construction of a European future.”89 Notably, when Seymour’s first big break as a Magnum photographer came in 1948 with “Children of Europe,” the assignment to finally focus on the “postwar” story came from an international organization—UNESCO— rather than an American publication. WORKING WITH UNESCO

As we saw earlier, UNESCO’s Paris-based leaders recognized the importance of mass communication for influencing public opinion after the war.90 To aid in these efforts UNESCO’s first director general, the British scientist and eugenicist Julian Huxley, recruited the filmmaker John Grierson to serve as UNESCO’s first director of mass communications and public information in 1947. Grierson, already known internationally as an advocate of film and other visual media for the purposes of education and advocacy, coined the term “documentary” in the 1930s.91 Although the bureaucratic operations of UNESCO led to Grierson’s departure just a year after he arrived, he tried to convince his colleagues that the organization needed to learn from politicians and use mass communications as a psychological tool in order to advance democracy and international understanding.92 Cinema was certainly important for UNESCO and Grierson alike, but Seymour’s work with UNESCO shows that the organization was also learning from photojournalism when developing its mass communications strategy.93 Not only did it hire Seymour, a press photographer, to cover the fate of Europe’s orphaned and displaced children, but it relied extensively on print media, including self-published newsletters, magazines, brochures, and illustrated books for years before launching more extensive television and radio campaigns in




the first issue of Impetus (paris: UNeSCO), October 1949 (successor to Reconstruction Newsletter). photo credit: UNeSCO/ernst haas. Courtesy of UNeSCO archives, paris.

the 1950s. What’s more, UNeSCO’s publications were remarkably candid about serving as an alternative market for photographs of the war’s aftermath. In October 1949 UNeSCO’s heftily titled “Newsletter on reconstruction and rehabilitation” was relaunched as the catchier Impetus—a magazine that would, like its predecessor, publish photo essays about european reconstruction (fig. 15).94 the new issue opened with a letter from the editor, which explained why the magazine had rebranded and framed its relevance for the postwar world. When World War II, “the biggest and longest news story in the history of journalism,” had ended, publications turned to covering the United Nations’ relief and reconstruction efforts because the story “made good copy: famine forestalled . . . bridges rebuilt . . . refugees repatriated.” Impetus’s editor acknowledged that the UN agencies benefited from such coverage directly, as “people of good will responded to the needs of the survivors” and relief committees were able to grow their activities. after a few years, those headlines had become repetitive, and postwar reconstruction “was ‘news’ no longer,” but Impetus declared that it would continue to report on the story of reconstruction.95 While openly acknowledging that the magazine needed to raise money and promote the activities of UNeSCO, Impetus also exposed its own methods: publishing photographs and reports about reconstruction would be a way to keep the story fresh and make people continue to care about the war’s effects. the logic behind Impetus’s editorial policy would soon help the Magnum photographer most concerned with the story of the war’s aftermath. In September 1947 Seymour and Julian huxley’s secretary were both in attendance at the CIaM (International Congress of Modern architects) conference in Bridgewater, england. Seymour was covering the conference for what he hoped, despite the pessimism of Magnum’s staff, would become a story on the reconstruction of europe in Fortune and London’s Illustrated. It was there that huxley’s


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secretary showed interest in having UNESCO collaborate on the report. Within weeks, Fortune’s editors backpedaled, but UNESCO remained interested. Seymour thus had few prospects for magazine work in January 1948 when he wrote to Vandivert and Eisner asking them to weigh in on UNESCO’s proposal and to clarify, among other things, who exactly John Grierson was: “Huxley is excited over the reconstruction story. John Grierson (?) wants me to give him the project, well presented and the amount of money I need. George Voodraf (?) the US secretary said: sounds interested, he’ll approve it.” Seymour called them “crazy, excited, strange people,” and so he told Vandivert and Eisner to decide whether “a trip over Europe—under the auspices of UNESCO—is worthwhile. . . . I leave this entirely up to both of you girls.”96 The “girls” ruled in UNESCO’s favor. Within a few months Seymour established contact with Grierson and took the assignment. Magnum was relieved that he finally had a largescale project that would employ him for some time and allow him to travel throughout Eastern Europe as he had wanted to do since 1947.97 The photographs of orphaned and abandoned children that Seymour made between March and June 1948 in Poland, Hungary, Austria, Italy, and Greece appeared in a standalone booklet published by UNESCO titled Children of Europe.98 The report began with a letter by Seymour written from the perspective of an anonymous child who had survived the war and who was now informing adults—eager to forget the devastation they had caused and eager to look away from the traces of suffering—about the costs of the war on children. Seymour filled the text with statistics (“There are 1,700,000 orphans in Poland, 100,000 in Warsaw alone”) and described the nature of children’s physical and emotional suffering: their amputated limbs, blindness, and burnt faces, their loneliness and feelings of despair. His letter was accusatory, and so were his captions, many of which addressed readers directly in French, English, and Spanish. Above an image of children’s makeshift homes in the rubble, he declared: “Orphans, abandoned and bombed out. . . . We struggle to live in the wreckage you have left us.”99 Surveying their living conditions in abandoned side streets and piles of wreckage, Seymour produced images of children within desolate landscapes (fig. 16). In the book’s second page-spread, three pictures show a group of barefoot, minimally dressed children climbing through ruins. In the photograph on the left, they look like they may lose their footing at any moment. On the top right, two groups of children have climbed high onto what used to be buildings, calling to each other from their make-believe towers. “Our playground: ruins. Our toys: shell-cases and bombs,” the caption reads. Seymour’s photographic survey then turned to close-up portraits of frail, anguished teenagers still recovering from physical and emotional ailments. Pictures of displaced families and masses of homeless children came next. Only after creating this picture of dire need did the report show what kind of help UN agencies were providing. In one picture, two children look intently at the photographer, their gaze just higher than the camera, showing him their empty cups (fig. 17). The picture resembles the photograph he made two years prior for This Week in




Children of Europe (paris: UNeSCO, 1949), 16–17. © David Seymour/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

Germany, but its petitionary quality is heightened by the empty cups that the children tilt toward the camera, calling upon viewers to support organizations such as UNICeF. “Milk for the children sometimes, but they need it every day,” the caption reads. Yet while This Week clearly identified the young girl as German, the children in this report—ten thousand copies of which were produced by 1951—were never identified with a particular country, suggesting that they could be helped only through a large-scale, international effort led by the UN.100 While there were no explicit fundraising appeals in the widely distributed publication, Seymour’s photographs also appeared in the UNESCO Courier, a UN publication targeting a broad, english-speaking public, alongside instructions on how to help europe’s children.101 Magnum distributed and sold the images from “Children of europe” more widely than any other assignment by Seymour to date. his images appeared in weekly magazines, including Life, Illustrated, Sie und Er, and France-Illustration, where they became as much about Seymour’s journey through europe and the quality of the photographs he brought back as they were about the fate of the war’s young survivors.102 although Life magazine failed to take interest in Seymour’s polish refugee story proposal in 1947, once the project was completed, it devoted seven pages to the children of europe in December 1948. the magazine reproduced some of his photographs in very large scale and with minimal captions in order to focus readers’ attention on the heartbreaking evidence of the war’s aftermath that 64

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Children of Europe (Paris: UNESCO, 1949), 40–41. © David Seymour/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

Seymour had brought back. Life was the first in the U.S. to print Seymour’s photograph of Tereska drawing her home on a blackboard, initiating that picture’s journey to its current status as a postwar icon (fig. 18). This startling portrait of a child’s tumultuous mental state was excluded from the Children of Europe book, likely because it did not clearly show how the UN was helping children in need and perhaps because its meaning relied too much on its caption. Conscious that such photographs contained little information about the work being done by UNICEF, Life editors explained that some of Seymour’s images “were not necessarily typical but . . . dramatize the enormous task” of aiding “the slow progress from sickness to health.”103 Yet the story ended with a short list of the international and American organizations to which Life readers could contribute in order to help the children, acknowledging that Seymour’s pictures worked as both news and advocacy.104 Life had finally given Seymour his break, recognizing his talents as a photographer and as a reporter. But Seymour’s major debut in the magazine began as a public relations and fundraising campaign. He made those pictures not simply because he was empathetic, but because UNESCO needed an established photojournalist who could apply the reportorial and visual strategies of print media to raise money for and build awareness about UNESCO’s activities. Life showed its support for UNESCO’s logic when it reprinted those pictures as an editorial feature, and as publicity for Seymour himself. HUMAN-INTEREST STORIES FROM THE POSTWAR WORLD



“Children of europe,” Life (December 27, 1948), 16–17. © David Seymour/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.


In the 1940s, “Children of europe” was one answer to what a not particularly well-known freelance photojournalist committed to documenting the story of the war’s aftermath could do in a political and media climate in which the war was no longer a story worth dwelling upon. Following the pictures’ wide distribution, Seymour’s career took a turn for the better. More assignments came his way, and Seymour himself adapted to the tastes of his clients. editors welcomed his color stories on religion and politics in Greece and Italy, and more intimate stories of the work-life balance of such celebrities as Ingrid Bergman.105 the UNeSCO story was a success, but the idea that it was exceptional for its moment gained momentum only after Seymour’s unexpected death covering the Suez war in 1956.106 First, the UNeSCO pictures dominated Chim’s Children, a retrospective exhibit that opened at the art Institute of Chicago months after his death and toured internationally into the 1960s. the project also became the centerpiece of the earliest monographs on the photographer, published between 1966 and 1974 with the involvement of the robert Capa–David Seymour photographic Foundation, created by Capa’s younger brother Cornell.107 as we will see in chapter 6, that foundation and its immensely influential Concerned Photographer


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exhibition (1967) singled out Seymour’s UNESCO pictures as an exemplary accomplishment in the history of photography. Both claimed that Seymour had shown how the camera could reveal the human condition. These ideas—about Seymour’s empathy and the humanism of his pictures—continued to circulate with every new installation of the Concerned Photographer exhibit in the U.S., Europe, and Asia into the 1970s. Over time, Seymour’s pictures of Europe’s children became central to his legacy as an engaged and concerned photographer.108 Before the project started its path to iconic and exemplary status, however, it was just one instance of how international aid organizations and professional photographers— especially Jewish photographers—worked together in the second half of the 1940s. In addition to UNESCO, the short-lived United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) relied extensively on the work of professional American photographers, including Arthur Rothstein and John Vachon, who had been employed by the FSA in the 1930s and the Office of War Information (OWI) in the 1940s.109 So did UNSCOP, the UN Special Committee on Palestine, whose photographer Ruth Gruber documented the lives of displaced persons in Europe and became best known for her coverage of the Exodus ship, denied entry into Palestine in 1947.110 Others at Magnum took assignments from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Economic Cooperation Administration. 111 This was an era of transition and instability. Tracking down the archives of itinerant photographers and defunct agencies from the late 1940s poses its own challenges, yet these collaborations deserve much more attention, and not only for the Magnum story. Photographers’ career trajectories in the late 1940s open onto a bigger history that remains to be written about how social documentary evolved into war photography and then into humanitarian photography. They also show that international organizations did much more than offer a context for generating “humanist” pictures of the world: they offered important stepping stones to long careers in photojournalism in the 1950s and beyond. Indeed, Magnum’s early pictures became “humanist” only after they had done their work as journalistic, useful, and petitionary images. The agency was fortunate when it found idealistic partners and funders such as Grierson and Morris who wanted to keep the story of World War II alive. Magnum walked away from these projects with new revenue, connections, and concrete experience. Its photographers began to accept new commissions from international organizations, and they produced three more global surveys for Holiday magazine in the 1950s (discussed in chapter 4). They also saw that they liked working with Morris enough to hire him, in 1953, to serve as Magnum’s first executive director, charged with managing Magnum’s clients and finances. Yet neither “People are People” nor “Children of Europe” is synonymous with the agency’s postwar work or its values. Magnum photographers worked at a frenetic pace, mostly on individual stories rather than group projects. As photojournalists, they could not ignore the newsiness of new conflicts breaking out in India, China, and Israel/Palestine. Nor could they discount Americans’ fascination with Russia amid the escalation of the Cold War.



Magnum’s photographers knew that Life’s politics were antithetical to the message of “people are people,” but they also knew that the magazine paid well and that the prestige of being published in its pages was priceless. how would Magnum get into Life, which already had an extensive network of staff photographers all around the world? the next chapter turns to how henri Cartier-Bresson, robert Capa, and George rodger learned to work with Life and time Inc. covering the news as freelance photographers.


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with excitement when they opened their agency in 1947 and began setting up their first assignments. In telegrams and letters, they welcomed each other to the “Time-Inc. Stink Club,” taking a jab at Life and the publishing company that had, until recently, employed Capa, Rodger, and Vandivert. For a moment, Magnum fancied itself a group of rogue photographers who had done something outlandish by going into business for themselves. Few photographers willingly left the prestigious ranks of Life, the most influential publisher and producer of news pictures in America. Quite the opposite: people in the industry rolled their eyes about the dozens of aspiring photographers who intimated they worked for Life simply because someone there had said, “If you get something, show it to us.”1 Magnum’s founders laughed because they were going to chase after the same stories as Life staff photographers and try to get their stories into Life first. Then they would try to distribute those same stories to Life’s competitors in the U.S. and magazines in Europe. And they laughed because they were not sure if their agency would even last one year. AGNUM’S FOUNDERS WERE GIDDY


But Magnum survived, and the inside joke was leaked. It was repeated so much that it got picked up in histories of photography, which used it to villainize Life and glorify Magnum as follows: Magnum was a “time Inc. Stink Club” because Life was an intolerable hierarchy. at time Inc., staff photographers had to submit their precious images to the tyrannical, group editing process where darkroom technicians, researchers, writers, art directors, department heads, and managing editors all had a say over which pictures to print, and how. Magnum promised to shelter its photographers from that process because it would do the editing in-house, and would present Life and other editors with finished photo essays, edited and captioned exactly as the photographer intended. For decades the “time Inc. Stink Club” has been used as shorthand for all the things that Life staff photographers could not do but that Magnum freelance photographers ostensibly could: come up with, shoot, and edit their own stories; keep their negatives; control their copyrights; and choose where their images would appear.2 the idea of Magnum as a “time Inc. Stink Club” has a grain of truth, but it has oversimplified the financially precarious position of Magnum’s freelancers and the interdependent, collaborative relationship between Life and the photo agency. this chapter looks at Magnum’s relationship with Life in order to show what it meant to work as a freelance photojournalist after World War II and to better understand the news picture industry as a whole. the ranks of Life’s photographic staff had doubled as a result of World War II, and these staffers enjoyed the stability of a regular paycheck, regardless of how many stories they shot (or failed to shoot), and regardless of how many pages of pictures they published each month. Magnum photographers, by contrast, did not have this kind of security. they knew that in order to succeed financially, they would have to publish in, and take assignments from, as many magazines as possible. Life was high on their list because it paid top dollar and was the best place to advertise the Magnum name. By the end of the 1940s, all of Magnum’s founders had published in Life. By its ten-year anniversary, Magnum was publishing nearly two hundred pages a year in the magazine.3 But how exactly did Magnum’s photographers get their news stories into Life? as this chapter shows, photographers’ citizenship, nationalities, political views, and ideas about photography shaped their coverage. So did their relationships with editors and other collaborators, especially spouses and writers. henri Cartier-Bresson, robert Capa, and George rodger all tried to use their unique connections to their advantage while covering the news in asia, the Middle east, and the USSr between 1947 and 1954. Yet like David Seymour in postwar europe, the other Magnum founders sometimes had a hard time convincing Life editors to underwrite and publish their work. that may come as a surprise, because many of their photographs from this time have become icons of postwar history. CartierBresson’s portrait of a man staring at Gandhi’s funeral pyre with anguish and grief encapsulates India’s struggle for independence after years of British colonial rule (fig. 19). For many viewers, Capa’s photograph of a family crowding onto the deck of a ship off the coast of haifa quickly registers as a document of Jewish survival after the holocaust. photographers’ relatives and Magnum itself encouraged such readings beginning in the late 1960s, when 70

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The cremation of Mahatma Gandhi on the banks of the Sumna River. Gandhi’s secretary watches the first flames of the funeral pyre. Delhi, India, 1948. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos.

these images became evidence of the founders’ compassion for and interest in the universal human experience after the upheavals of World War II. Yet there is much more to these images and the stories behind them. On one level, the projects discussed in this chapter are representative of how illustrated magazines in the U.S. and Europe reported on the volatile “postwar” era, as the Allied nations shifted their priorities from reconciliation and retribution toward the renewed conflicts of the Cold War. The year 1948 signaled the start of political consolidation and geographic partition in such countries as India, China, and Israel and was accompanied by widespread violence. The media flocked to the stories unfolding beyond Europe’s boundaries at the same time that political and cultural leaders saw that “history” was moving into the rest of the world.4 Magnum’s archive allows us to see how its photographers, staff, and clients discussed these global shifts and how they consciously shaped their representation in the press. The 1940s work of Cartier-Bresson, Capa, and Rodger is therefore not simply a record of postwar history.5 Their pictures open onto the complex business and political negotiations that took place in the field, in the Magnum bureaus in New York and Paris, and in Life’s editorial offices. There are concrete reasons why Cartier-Bresson succeeded in producing memorable coverage in India and China, and why Capa and Rodger faced steeper learning curves while trying to cover the news in Israel/Palestine.6 We can get at this story when we begin by asking what it actually meant to freelance for Life. FREELANCING FOR LIFE



Founded in 1936 as the mass-market picture magazine of henry Luce’s time Inc. empire, Life magazine aimed to make use of photography to inform and educate readers about their world. the magazine was foremost an illustrated news publication, and its weeklong production schedule gave Life an advantage. While daily newspapers illustrated stories with single snapshots at best, Life editors had time to assemble extensive pictorial essays about key events from the past week. Images appeared in sequences so that they could tell wellrounded stories. those photographic features were published using the latest printing techniques—including high-speed rotary presses, fast-drying ink, and coated paper— developed by the Donnelley and Sons company in Chicago. Life was beautiful to behold, and unlike time Inc.’s other heavily illustrated magazine, Fortune, it was also inexpensive. the quality of its pictorial reporting, coupled with its affordability, quickly made it the most widely read illustrated in america, especially among white middle-class readers.7 today Life has become known for the great photographs it published and the top-notch photographers (Magnum founders among them) whose pictures graced the magazine’s pages. Internally, Life founder henry Luce pinned the magazine’s success not only on the quality of its photographs, but also on the scale of Life’s picture supply and the work of its editors.8 the photographs appearing in Life came from a variety of sources. Staff photographers were first in line when Life editors had a story in mind. they traveled where directed and shot assigned stories, many of which never appeared in print. Yet staff photographers did not mind for the most part, because they were salaried employees and their job perks were many. Life paid travel expenses around the world, purchased their photographic equipment, and supplied assistants—including researchers, reporters, and translators— when photographers were working in the field. the magazine also opened doors. Because of Life’s international reputation, common citizens, celebrities, and world leaders alike welcomed Life’s staff photographers with the hopes of being featured in the magazine. at its height in the 1950s, Life’s photographic staff included over forty photographers stationed around the world, yet this team could not keep up with all of the news or with Life’s weekly picture needs. the magazine’s remaining photographs came from other sources, including independent freelance photographers and amateurs. News picture agencies such as associated press, acme, International, and World Wide provided Life with individual pictures on a spot-news basis. For its longer-form photo essays, Life often turned to photo agencies, including Black Star, pIX, and Magnum. there were two sections of the magazine that paid freelancers especially well and that brought photographers high visibility. “the Big Newspicture of the Week” served as Life’s first extensive photo essay: a pictorial report on a significant piece of news that took up anywhere from four to twenty pages, uninterrupted by advertisements. When a big news story was lacking, the front of the magazine was also the place for major pictorial scoops— as in the case of Cartier-Bresson’s 1954 pictures of the USSr, discussed below.9 Life also printed a photographic essay at the back of each magazine. these essays were not as


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time-sensitive and allowed for a more in-depth look at a subject. Photo essays were often longer than news stories, and because they were printed weeks before the issue closed, they often included color photographs.10 Getting into the magazine meant getting the story that Life needed and wanted—not the story that sat well with a photographer’s own politics or interests. True to the nature of magazine publishing, each story in Life reflected the editorial politics of Time Inc., which sometimes meant its ardent anti-Communism and the belief that America should influence global culture, politics, and economics.11 Story angles were often decided upon in editorial meetings, when Life’s contents were approved by its managing editors. Shooting scripts—the instructions given to photographers along with their assignments, including background research—were put together by department editors and approved by the picture editor. The scripts dictated the types of scenes photographers should capture as well as the larger message that the story should convey. Photographers, for the most part, respected the work flow and tools of photojournalism at Life. Freelancers who wanted to have their work published (and get paid) were wise to adhere to Life’s instructions and establish good working relations with its editors. In trying to secure a Life assignment or place an existing set of pictures, Magnum photographers and staff dealt with Life’s editorial offices. The magazine’s picture editor (a post occupied by Wilson Hicks from 1936 to 1951, when he was replaced by Ray Mackland) oversaw the flow of all pictures in and out of Life. Picture editors negotiated fees and reproduction rights with picture agencies, and they determined the conditions of an assignment, including page guarantees, page rates, and travel expenses. If Life wanted a set of pictures that a Magnum photographer had shot, the agency heard from Hicks, and vice versa: he was often Magnum’s first point of contact when a photographer wanted to sell work. When Life assigned Magnum photographers to a story, Magnum also worked with the department editors who oversaw the story’s production, as well as the researchers and writers who captioned the photographs and wrote the accompanying texts. In the 1940s Life’s news editor was Edward K. Thompson. When Thompson became Life’s managing editor in 1949—a post that he held until 1961, overseeing all of Life’s departments and supervising the production of every issue of the magazine—he continued to correspond with Magnum photographers about the details of their news assignments. At times Magnum experienced Life as the pushy operation it was. Life used its status and its large budget to get the pictures it wanted, and it often fought with Magnum over negatives and whether the agency could resell its work to European publications. But Life was also admirably well run and staffed with talented picture editors and reporters. Magnum understood this well, and it also knew that its photographers were up against serious competition. “The market for freelance photographers stinks,” said Robert Capa in 1952—an observation that applied equally well to 1947. If Magnum was going to survive as an agency, each member had to become “a better photographer and better newspaperman than the editors and the staffers on the magazines.”12 Capa, Cartier-Bresson, and Rodger each tried their luck with varying degrees of success.




When henri Cartier-Bresson set out to cover asia for Magnum in 1947, the French photographer was known predominantly in artistic circles in New York and paris. his pictures had appeared in French magazines in the 1930s, but he was not yet an established photojournalist in the United States.13 and he did not have any experience in this part of the world. Cartier-Bresson decided to document the end of colonial rule in Southeast asia largely because of his wife. Born in Java, Sumatra, ratna Mohini trained as a dancer and moved to paris in 1936, marrying Cartier-Bresson the following year.14 By the 1940s, she had become an activist for Indonesian independence. When a 1947 assignment for Harper’s Bazaar took them to the U.S., the couple befriended a number of UN delegates involved in the Lake Success talks on Indonesian independence, and this group became their hosts in India—the first stop on their three-year journey.15 On the ground, ratna became Cartier-Bresson’s reporter and cultural advisor. She made introductions, handled logistical details, and conducted research for his stories while he worked the cameras. Magnum staff understood this working method well. When they wrote to Cartier-Bresson about his assignments and other agency business, they addressed the letters “Cher henri and eli,” using ratna’s French nickname.16 In January 1948 a close friend of ratna’s helped Cartier-Bresson secure a private interview with Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the movement for Indian independence, on the day after his fast protesting Muslim-hindu violence in the wake of India’s partition. Gandhi was assassinated by a member of a right-wing hindu organization a few hours after their meeting.17 Cartier-Bresson had taken some of the last pictures of Gandhi alive, and he was there to document the aftermath of his death. this opportunity ushered in a new stage of Cartier-Bresson’s career as a photojournalist, though he was not the only photographer on the ground. Life’s own staff photographer Margaret Bourke-White was already in India working on a Gandhi story. But as the photo historian and former picture editor Claude Cookman shows, a number of things went wrong for the american photographer.18 First, Bourke-White was escorted out of Gandhi’s home after using flash bulbs against the family’s wishes. a few days later, she lost most of her film from Gandhi’s funeral when her bag was trampled by crowds of mourners. Cartier-Bresson, by contrast, established a good rapport with Gandhi’s family. as a result, he was able to take many more pictures of the leader, and his images had more emotional immediacy and spontaneity. Cartier-Bresson’s portraits of Gandhi after his fast catch the leader mid-sentence and mid-sip and are shot so close that the photographer may well have been sitting at his feet. at Gandhi’s funeral, Cartier-Bresson held on to his equipment as he moved through the crowds. and when he spotted his friend, the associated press photographer Max Desfor, working from a small makeshift platform, Cartier-Bresson even tossed Desfor his camera so that Desfor could get him a bird’s-eye view of Gandhi’s funeral pyre.19 Cartier-Bresson understood the stakes of the story, but he was not working with Life in mind. he knew that the magazine’s staffer was already on the ground, and he planned to sell his pictures to Harper’s Bazaar, where the editor, alexey Brodovitch, had first-look rights to 74

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Cartier-Bresson’s work. But when Life learned that Cartier-Bresson had photographs of Gandhi, Wilson Hicks pressured Magnum to sell the pictures to them instead. After the dramatic events in India, made worse by Bourke-White’s film fiasco, Life was desperate for the best and most extensive picture coverage, and it threatened to never buy from Magnum again if Cartier-Bresson did not oblige. Life editors did not hesitate to pressure photo agencies and in general use their influence and money in their quest for pictures. As a young business, Magnum could not afford to lose the powerful Life as a potential client. In consultation with Cartier-Bresson, Magnum’s editor Maria Eisner sold the first look from India to Life and another, alternate set to Harper’s Bazaar. She also fought to retain all of CartierBresson’s negatives when Life resisted.20 “Gandhi Joins the Hindu Immortals,” published on February 16, 1948, in the magazine’s news section, included nine photographs by Cartier-Bresson and only five by Bourke-White. On the first page-spread, Cartier-Bresson’s pictures took readers into the intimate circle surrounding Gandhi’s body: family members in tears, Prime Minister Nehru in a state of shock, and Gandhi’s secretary, a look of anguish and disbelief on his face as the flames rise in front of him (fig. 20). The pictures allowed the story to focus on the heart of the action before taking a view from above. On the next spread, printed across two full pages, was Desfor’s photograph: Gandhi’s body enveloped by the fire, a sea of people looking on (fig. 21).21 The amount of space given to Cartier-Bresson signaled Life’s satisfaction with the pictures, and the magazine paid him an even higher compliment when it assigned him rather than Bourke-White to follow the journey of Gandhi’s ashes for the March 15 issue. The Gandhi story established Cartier-Bresson as a reputable photojournalist and signaled the start of a long working relationship with Life, showing time and again that his successes hinged on much more than his innate talents as a photographer or the luck of being at the right place at the right time. While his wife helped him succeed in India, his French citizenship allowed Cartier-Bresson to document the Communist Revolution in China the following year.22 His first assignment in the area came in November 1948, when Life news editor Ed Thompson asked that the photographer “leave by earliest plane . . . for China to do a story quote the last time we saw Peiping unquote asking for extensive coverage . . . for essay type story.”23 Cartier-Bresson was by far not the first photographer to go to the region for Life, and in previous years the magazine had sent its staff photographers. Mark Kauffman had covered the civil war in China for Life’s news section in February 1947.24 The prior spring, Life published a photographic essay on Peiping architecture, shot entirely in color by the magazine’s staffer Dmitri Kessel.25 But on the eve of the Communist revolution, Life editors understood that the French photographer would have better luck gaining access to the Communists than an American photographer, especially since the U.S. had publicly supported the Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek. Life’s American staff writer and photographer took the last plane out of China, while Cartier-Bresson was able to work there for another six months, producing an even more extensive photo essay on Communist Shanghai for Life’s October 1949 issue, which an American would not have been able to do.26 FREELANCING FOR LIFE



“Gandhi Joins the hindu Immortals,” Life (February 16, 1948), 24–25. © henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

the China stories brought Cartier-Bresson fame and recognition—including an award from the Overseas press Club of america for his Shanghai story—and they also taught him about shooting and thinking in photographic essays. In the case of peiping, ed thompson sent Cartier-Bresson a detailed shooting script that requested more than a dozen types of people, scenarios, and moods to photograph. “You should look into little side streets,” read one line of the script, “visit shop keepers and investigate what problems crisis has brought to bird fanciers and whether little factories off hatamenstreet still produce cloisonné and whether there still metal for makers of lamps and shiny dishes on brass street.”27 “a Last Look at peiping,” which opened Life’s January 4, 1949, issue, shows that the photographer took these instructions to heart. Cartier-Bresson preserved the calm air and sense of peeping in that thompson had asked for (fig. 22). the largest photograph on the first full pagespread of the story shows how Cartier-Bresson captured in detail the faces of old men and bird fanciers. together with the snapshots of boxers and newspaper peddlers, medicine men and bird merchants, this picture anchored a visual narrative about peiping’s traditional way of life, which the american magazine insisted the Communists would soon destroy. each photograph on the spread has specific qualities that allowed Life’s layout artists to create an effective layout. Cartier-Bresson focused on people rather than places, provided 76

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“Gandhi Joins the Hindu Immortals,” Life (February 16, 1948), 26–27. Photograph by Max Desfor with Cartier-Bresson’s camera. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

both individual and group portraits, and used some images to suggest movement while capturing stillness in others. This variety allowed editors to devote an entire page-spread to the tranquillity of the city under the subtitle “City Finds Serenity in Birds and Boxing.” Three years later, a number of these images reappeared in Cartier-Bresson’s renowned photo book The Decisive Moment, where they showcased his ability to see a geometrically balanced scene and click the shutter just in time. But in the late 1940s, the conditions in which Cartier-Bresson worked—on the move in remote locations without proper facilities to print and edit images—prevented him from identifying the decisive moments in his rolls of film. In fact, it was Life’s film editor Peggy Sargent who first examined Cartier-Bresson’s film, selecting those frames that she felt the news editors needed to see. Editors including Hicks and Thompson then selected the photographs that should be published. The photographs’ reappearance in The Decisive Moment demonstrates that Cartier-Bresson agreed with Life’s decisions. The photographer often praised Sargent’s keen eye, and he also admired the layouts that Ed Thompson and Life’s art directors created from his photographs. “[You] know so well how to bring up the significant picture and give an harmony to the whole material,” he once told Thompson.28 In his introduction to The Decisive Moment, Cartier-Bresson also acknowledged that Life staff were some of his most important FREELANCING FOR LIFE



“a Last Look at peiping,” Life (January 4, 1949), 14–15. © henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

mentors: “It was only in the process of working for [magazines] that I eventually learned— bit by bit—how to make reportage with a camera, how to make a picture story.”29 although Cartier-Bresson delivered the pictures that Life wanted and enjoyed great visibility in return, each business negotiation still proved challenging for Magnum. his assignments in China paid exceedingly well: peiping came with a six-page guarantee for $1800 plus expenses; Shanghai guaranteed $250 per page and a minimum of eight pages. (Staff photographers, by contrast, could never be sure how many pages their stories would fill, and they did not receive bonuses for longer essays.) But each time, eisner had to argue with Wilson hicks to get back Cartier-Bresson’s negatives and secure european rights. hicks gave in, but told Magnum his policy had not changed: he only capitulated to please CartierBresson.30 as a result, Magnum devised new strategies for dealing with Life—for instance, asking the magazine to contribute toward rather than covering all of the expenses. this could leave a photographer in the red if a story did not sell very well, but it also guaranteed that Life did not feel full ownership of the assignment and thus would not try to stop Magnum from selling the same pictures in europe. Magnum had to work hard to find a sustainable way to work with the U.S. magazine, but the agency and Life found an interdependent and fruitful working relationship in the late 1940s. While its photographers 78

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delivered stories that its staffers could not get—something we will also see in the case of Robert Capa—working with Life also taught Magnum to be smarter about the business side of its news sales. SELLING THE PROMISED LAND: ROBERT CAPA IN ISRAEL

When Cartier-Bresson was just setting out for India, Robert Capa had already returned to New York from a successful six-week tour of the Soviet Union with John Steinbeck. The pictures Capa took behind the Iron Curtain in the summer of 1947 sold to over fifteen magazines in the U.S. and Europe, and they made him the highest earner at Magnum.31 By early 1948 his finances were in good shape, and thanks to the publicity surrounding his wartime chronicle Slightly Out of Focus, Capa’s reputation as a photojournalist was secure.32 The photographer was in a strong position to go anywhere he pleased when, in the spring of that year, violence in the Middle East made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. Following Great Britain’s announcement that it would terminate the British Mandate of Palestine, the UN General Assembly voted, in November 1947, to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Palestinian Arab leaders rejected the plan, as did the surrounding countries of Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. What began as periodic episodes of Arab-Jewish violence in the region escalated into a civil war and turned into the full-fledged Arab-Israeli War when the above-mentioned countries invaded Israel following British withdrawal and Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948.33 Capa recognized the news value of these events, and he was also interested in the region for personal reasons. The Hungarian-Jewish Endre Friedman had spent most of his adult life as an émigré, first in Berlin, then Paris, and finally the United States, where he arrived in 1939. Like other Jewish photographers of his generation, he adopted a name that was legible across language barriers and free from Jewish associations in the hope that this would help him sell his pictures to diverse magazine clients.34 In interwar Europe and postwar New York, Capa traveled in circles of exiled Jewish photographers and picture editors, many of whom took an interest in Israel and the fate of global Jewry after the Holocaust.35 By many accounts, Capa began to support the idea of a Jewish state after World War II and even thought about moving to Tel Aviv. His belief in the right of the Jewish people to have sovereignty in Palestine makes sense for someone of his generation and life trajectory. 36 In the spring of 1948, however, neither his professional credentials nor his personal connection to the story was enough to get Capa what he wanted most: an assignment from Life to cover the British withdrawal from Palestine. The magazine had already sent its staff photographers Dmitri Kessel and John Phillips, so Capa pitched the story to Len Spooner of London’s Illustrated and set out to Israel with just that one client. Between June and July 1948, Illustrated published three extensive photo essays by Capa, including “Palestine War: First Frontline Pictures” on June 19, 1948 (fig. 23). Like Dmitri Kessel’s Life story “Warfare Spreads in the Holy Land” from six months prior (fig. 24), Capa’s report focused on images of the new Israeli soldier and the barren, rubble-strewn land, showing that American and British magazines relied on the same visual tropes to represent the conflict. Both stories FREELANCING FOR LIFE



“palestine War: the First Frontline pictures,” Illustrated (June 19, 1948), 6–7. photos by robert Capa © International Center of photography/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

featured strikingly similar images of Israeli soldiers training, scouting from houses and hilltops, and resting at the end of the day. together the images underscored Jewish cohesiveness and preparation—a not particularly happy observation for publications that were generally aligned with Israel’s opponents, as we will see. the similarity of Capa’s and Kessel’s pictures also shows why, even once actual fighting broke out in June, Life did not want Capa’s pictures, having reported on the war’s early rumblings in January. Capa shot the Israeli troops in actual combat, but as a Jewish photographer he had access to the same types of scenes as the Jewish Kessel a few months prior. as Capa later told George rodger, “LIFe will not buy anyone’s story on a feature subject when they have their own photographers in the area,” so a freelancer’s best bet was to get access to a breaking news event and shoot it from a completely different vantage point than a staffer.37 But there was more to Life’s early rejection of Capa’s services. In the summer of 1948, Life had assigned its staff photographer John phillips to cover the war from the arab side, in a sense betting against pictures of the Israelis and their fledgling state.38 the son of a British father and French mother, phillips had spent part of his childhood in algeria and had British citizenship. In the early 1940s he established powerful connections in the arab world while working for Life. With the outbreak of war in Israel/palestine, phillips procured a uniform and press accreditation from Jordan’s arab Legion, run by the British General John Baggot Glubb and known as Glubb pasha.39 phillips dominated Life’s coverage of Israel/palestine, shooting four of the six stories that Life published between 1948 80

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“War in the Holy Land,” Life (January 19, 1948), 24–25. Photographs by Dmitri Kessel. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

and 1949.40 Most of those stories were shot from the Arab side. His “Jews Score a Preliminary Victory” from May 10, 1948, showed the masses of Arab refugees in Haifa waiting to be transported out on British ships, while other pictures focused on the Jordanian King Abdullah and his army, both training for battle and arriving in destroyed Arab towns after the fighting. A two-page report in Life’s news section on June 28, 1948, featured Phillips’s triumphant portrait of Abdullah and his advisors at the Dome of the Rock, printed across most of the page spread (fig. 25). The leading photograph in “Arabs Sack Holy City”— a title suggesting the chaotic and seemingly unplanned nature of the attack—was surrounded by smaller images of Jewish refugees fleeing the Jewish quarter of the Old City.41 Life often used this double-page template in its news section to show how an urgent set of events had unfolded. In this case, the portrait of an alarmed child running through dust and fire on the left, coupled with the before-and-after scenes of the Jewish quarter at right—populated and then deserted—provided a sense of narrative. From Life’s perspective, these images were also successful because they included Arab figures in recognizable dress and showed key architectural features: the famous mosque at the center, the horseshoe arch at right. Such visual details allowed readers to quickly identify the Old City of Jerusalem.42 FREELANCING FOR LIFE



“arabs Sack the holy City,” Life (June 28, 1948), 36–37. photographs by John phillips. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

as a Jewish photographer with an american passport, Capa’s only chance of getting into Life depended on his ability to capture something equally eventful on the Israeli side, away from the fighting with Jordan and Saudi arabia in the east, with Lebanon and Syria in the north, and egypt in the south. his break came on June 22, 1948, when (from the safe distance of the UN headquarters) he witnessed the Altalena affair in tel aviv, on Israel’s western coast (fig. 26). the incident erupted when Israeli Defense Forces opened fire on the Altalena ship, which was carrying five hundred troops and thousands of weapons belonging to Israel’s right-wing faction, the Irgun.43 Capa’s pictures—which Life purchased for $500 and laid out in a similar format to phillips’s story two weeks prior—showed the attack step by step. the pictures increase in drama from left to right as the calm stances of the UN observers give way to light shooting and then heavy bombardment. at the center of the spread, the Altalena goes up in smoke while passengers jump ship and paddle to the shore. With this focus on the internal conflicts among Jewish political factions, Capa delivered a story that Life had lacked and that phillips, based on the Jordanian side, could not have shot. Capa did not get much space in Life in the early months of the war, but his status as a freelance photographer gave him an advantage over phillips in terms of how far his images could circulate. Magnum’s paris office sold his photographs to european magazines including Sie und Er (Switzerland), Aktuell (Norway), Regards (France), Point de vue (France), and 82

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“Jew Fights Jew in Israel,” Life (July 12, 1948), 38–39. Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

Billed Bladet (Denmark).44 In the U.S., Capa’s 1948 pictures of Israel’s fight for independence sold well to pro-Israel publications, including the Zionist publicity organ Haganah Speaks. Published by the lobby group Americans for Haganah, the paper had a circulation in the tens of thousands and was read by the group’s donors and activists, who promoted immigration to Israel and raised money for Israel’s defense forces.45 Unlike Illustrated and other weeklies that used Capa’s pictures to show general readers many aspects of the war—the fate of civilians, the lives of new immigrants—Haganah Speaks focused exclusively on military operations. Their role here was illustration rather than narration, and they could afford to go right into the details rather than setting the general stage. What do soldiers look like? Where do they train? In a story from mid-June 1948, for instance, Capa’s pictures show the army preparing to travel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, focusing on the buses and trucks that carry the troops (fig. 27). In other pictures, readers could make out the faces and bodies of the young, newly minted Israelis fighting for the new state. Yet by comparison to Capa’s work from Russia or his later work in Israel, Capa’s 1948 pictures received relatively little attention and space in the press, particularly in the U.S. They became better known only after their inclusion in the 1964 publication Images of War, the first retrospective of Capa’s work released on the ten-year anniversary of his death. Organized by his brother Cornell Capa, this monograph signaled the first posthumous effort to FREELANCING FOR LIFE



“Battle for Jerusalem Life-Line,” Haganah Speaks (June 16, 1948). Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/ Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

brand Robert Capa as the heroic and engaged war photographer people know him as today.46 The book included only black-and-white images from the major conflicts Robert Capa had covered, distilling his career into his pictures of the Spanish Civil War, the SinoJapanese War, World War II, the Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War. It left out the vast majority of Capa’s Israel work, shot after 1948 with a focus on peaceful themes, often in color. The latter did not have a place in what soon became Cornell Capa’s concept of Robert Capa as “a concerned photographer, embodying truth, commitment, and engagement.”47 And yet the peaceful color work is precisely what the postwar market eagerly bought up. ISRAEL NEWS, ISRAEL PUBLICITY

The end of the Arab-Israeli War did not mean the end of photographic stories on Israel, but it did mean that the nature of those stories and the markets for them changed. Capa learned that if his pictures were going to sell more widely than they had in 1948, he would have to search out more types of clients and partner with high-profile collaborators. Thus in 1949 he convinced Irwin Shaw, a well-known writer who was covering Israel for The New Yorker, to work with him on the ground.48 Capa sold their joint story on Jerusalem to Illustrated and to the travel magazine Holiday, where his friend, the managing editor Ted Patrick, was always looking for great travel writing by big names and color stories by talented photographers.49 He also saw an opportunity in the book market. For decades, Jewish organizations had hired photographers to document the land of Israel and subsequently published photo books to help their publicity and fundraising efforts. Other books were authored by Jewish photographers who traveled to the country out of personal curiosity.50 Capa therefore made plans with another friend, the Jewish publisher Richard Leo Simon of Simon & Schuster, to publish A Report on Israel, which combined Shaw’s text with four extensive photo essays by Capa on the 1948 war, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the Galilee. With these projects, Capa secured secondary and tertiary sales for his pictures, but as a savvy photojournalist, he realized that he first needed magazine clients to fund his travels and publish the pictures as news. With the end of the war in Israel, leading magazines such as Life and Look began to publish in-depth features about life in the country, frequently timed to coincide with Israel’s Independence Day.51 Capa saw that he could capitalize on this market: he knew the country and had connections in Israel, including with military and government officials. Such pictures served as great promotion for the new country, which meant they could be marketed to Jewish organizations as well. For his Israel trip in 1949, Capa secured assignments from Illustrated and Look. The next year, John Phillips’s departure from Life—following a dispute with Wilson Hicks—meant that Capa could cover Israel’s third anniversary for Life’s 1951 mid-May issue. Capa’s photo essays from these years explored the exciting yet laborious process of restarting life in the new country—a theme that had already been developed by Jewish photographers prior to 1948, often for the purpose of raising money for Jewish resettlement. His 1949 “Israel Reborn” story in Look led with a full-page photograph of a young couple arriving at a relocation camp in tattered clothes and laden with heavy suitcases (fig. 28).52 Yet FREELANCING FOR LIFE



“Israel Reborn,” Look (November 8, 1949), 25. Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.


“Israel Faces the Facts of Life,” Life (May 14, 1951), 118–119. Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/ Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

the pair is smiling as they stride across the camera, eager to start their new life. For this picture Capa shot the couple slightly from below, using a socialist realist camera angle that photographers often used to celebrate the strength of Jewish pioneers and immigrants.53 A few years later he employed the same vantage point for Life, getting even closer to his subjects and making ample use of color film, which greatly pleased Life editor Ed Thompson.54 The Iraqi and Yemeni Jews in “Israel Faces the Facts of Life” look hopeful despite their makeshift surroundings and the physical danger they would soon face when fighting with their neighbors resumed (fig. 29). A layout devoted to portraits of the immigrants underscores the diversity of Israel’s Jews, reading as good public relations for the state. The intimate close-ups may have been Capa’s attempt to make pictures that were “as much unlike the pictures taken there before as possible,” he told Life picture editor Ray Mackland.55 Decades earlier, images of Jewish pioneers had become a common public relations trope when promoting Jewish settlement in Palestine, but those images often focused on groups of people farming or building dams in undeveloped parts of the country.56 Capa’s pictures, by contrast, showed the immigrants as people—with attention to their faces and their new everyday surroundings. Capa’s photographs helped Life tell the contemporary story of Israel, but they also served as free public relations for a host of Jewish organizations invested in the country. Diaspora Jews would have seen in these photo essays a more targeted story about how the Jewish FREELANCING FOR LIFE


National Fund or their local federations were helping to cultivate the land and resettle immigrants.57 Capa himself understood that his images would encourage american Jewish readers to send money to Israel. In early 1951 Life forbade Magnum from selling Capa’s Life rejects to the United Jewish appeal (UJa) for its new Israel campaign before Life’s own story hit the stands. Maria eisner, who had previously haggled with hicks over Cartier-Bresson’s negatives, could not get the new picture editor ray Mackland to budge. Capa told her not to press Life to release the pictures. “UJa is going to be extremely happy with the big Life story,” he wrote to eisner. the last page-spread of “Israel Faces the Facts of Life” shows just how right Capa was.58 Subtitled “Where the Money Goes,” the text used Capa’s research notes to explain what it took to provide for a new immigrant’s basic needs ($1600), and it discussed the high costs of maintaining Israel’s army and patrolling its borders. a few pages earlier, the story elaborated on the logistical aspects of relocation, including the work of the Shaar aliyah camp and how UJa was providing housing, medical care, and education for the new arrivals. these references to UJa were no coincidence. Magnum knew that Jewish philanthropic organizations were willing to pay top photographers to produce their publicity materials.59 In 1950 Capa arranged for UJa to share the costs of his Israel trip with Life—a setup that also ensured that Life would not prevent Magnum from reselling Capa’s pictures abroad, as they had tried with Cartier-Bresson’s. On the ground, Capa worked for two sponsors and in two media: taking photographs for Life and shooting a fundraising film for UJa, which the organization screened in the U.S. to raise money. the twenty-six-minute film followed two boys from their arrival in the Shaar aliyah relocation camp in haifa to their resettlement in a kibbutz in the Negev desert.60 a photograph of Capa at work on the movie in the tal Shachar settlement takes us behind the scenes, showing the mediated nature of Israel’s creation (fig. 30).61 here are the same tents shown in the Life story. the men wear the same sleeveless t-shirts, hats, and shorts, and the women don the same housedresses and hairstyles that appeared in Capa’s magazine essays. the country’s new inhabitants smile and look comfortable, like they are already used to film and still cameras. Immigrants knew that their images would be shown to Diaspora Jews, especially in the U.S., who were in the position to send money and lobby for the young country, and they welcomed such fundraising campaigns.62 In their moment, Capa’s pictures helped generalize the Jewish experience of World War II in books and even advertisements. In one photograph, a man who lost his family in the holocaust stands tall under the weight of a wooden beam. his face is too wrinkled and his beard is too gray for his forty years, yet his eyes glimmer with new life. Shaw’s and Capa’s 1950 A Report on Israel simply called the weathered but resilient man “the Face of the people” (fig. 31). that same year, UJa reused another photograph from the book—that of a toy seller—to tell a tragic story and make an urgent case for supporting Israel (fig. 32). Subtle alterations to this picture—cropping at the bottom, washing out of the brick building behind the vendor—helped focus all the attention on the man and his wares. Using a standard technique of 1950s advertising, the photograph and its title (“the Miracle of the toy Seller”) piqued the reader’s curiosity so that she would ask, who is this person, and what is so miraculous about him? the copy below explained that the man is a merchant from eastern europe 88

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Henry Mogenthau Jr. takes photographs of new immigrants in Tal Shachar while Robert Capa films the scene for the documentary The Journey, 1950. Unidentified photographer. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Henry Morgenthau III.

who survived being “starved” and “shot at.” Now he has “found sanctuary in Israel.” Then came the appeal to give to UJA to help more people like this toy seller and to build new cities to accommodate more refugees. The narrative was most likely invented by a copywriter to summarize the recent Jewish experience. As Barbie Zelizer has shown, such generalities often accompanied photographs after the Holocaust in both news and advertising contexts.63 In this case, the UJA campaign relied on the documentary image and the close resemblance between the advertising and editorial pages of Life (which often printed large images with descriptive texts below) to turn Capa’s toy seller into an urgent call for action.64 By placing his pictures in a range of magazines, books, and advertisements, Capa and Magnum helped to institutionalize the most popular visual tropes associated with the new state of Israel, especially that of the new immigrant. Their wide distribution is key to understanding their success in their day. Unlike Cartier-Bresson, who relied on Life to jump-start his career as a photojournalist, Life’s reliance on staffer John Phillips in the Middle East encouraged Capa to seek out other publication contexts and thus discover multiple markets for his pictures, including publicity and advertising campaigns for Israel. Images were already central to the project of a Jewish homeland for decades before 1948, and they continued to FREELANCING FOR LIFE



Irwin Shaw and Robert Capa, A Report on Israel (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1950), 20. Photo by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.


Life (February 13, 1950), 98. Photo by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

shape popular discourse about the country well into the 1960s via photo exhibitions, films such as Otto preminger’s blockbuster Exodus, and tantalizing advertisements for Israeli tourism and the country’s airline el al.65 Capa took part in this much larger visual production of Israel after 1948, and his connections to a range of publishers and writers, coupled with his ability to control the resale of his work, sealed his pictures’ success. PURSUING THE UNSOLICITED STORY: GEORGE RODGER IN PALESTINE

Capa was not the only successful Magnum photographer who was occasionally rejected or sidelined by Life. Between late 1951 and early 1952, George rodger documented the lives of palestinian refugees who had been uprooted from their homes during the arab-Israeli War and were still living in refugee camps, predominantly in Jordan, three years later.66 the photographer repeatedly tried to place this story in Life to no avail. the rejection hurt him personally, and in subsequent decades he claimed that his work from the region never saw the light of day because the american press was controlled by Jews.67 Yet the situation was far more complicated. the case of his refugee story shows just how many factors had to be aligned for a Magnum photographer to have his work published in Life. It also shows how photographers’ own recollections of their careers changed over the years, obscuring many of the practical and political details involved in working as a freelancer in the postwar world. In the same years that Cartier-Bresson traveled through asia and Capa photographed Israel, rodger covered africa. at the end of his life, the British photographer said that he went to africa to escape the trauma of covering the liberation of Bergen-Belsen in 1945.68 In other contexts, he said he could feel the coming tide of decolonization and wanted to photograph the continent before it changed forever.69 these explanations were framed with the benefit of hindsight, and they promoted the image of rodger as a Magnum photographer concerned with humanity rather than a freelancer stymied by international border regimes. When rodger learned about Magnum’s creation from rita Vandivert in May 1947, there was no talk of “fleeing civilization.” rodger had actually hoped to go to the Middle east. Like others at Magnum, he must have recognized that magazines would soon be eager for good pictures from the conflict-ridden era. his extensive knowledge of the region put him in a strong position to take those pictures. as a Life staffer during World War II, rodger traveled through sixty-one countries in the Middle east and North africa, documenting over a dozen major campaigns with the British army. In 1941 a picture of rodger with the emir abdullah I appeared below Life’s table of contents, underscoring the photographer’s close relationship to one of the most powerful men in the Middle east.70 rodger also consciously branded himself as a culturally savvy adventurer-explorer beyond the pages of the magazine. In a publicity portrait of the photographer likely taken in 1941, rodger appears in a kaffiyeh and loose-fitting desert clothes, presenting himself as a Lawrence of arabia with cameras (fig. 33). But in early 1947, rodger learned that the new border regime limited his access. the Middle east, he told Vandivert, “isn’t what it was before the war. Now it is comprised of a lot of watertight compartments, each of which is darned difficult to get into.”71 rodger’s plans to 92

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The photographer George Rodger, wearing desert gear and Leicas. Date unknown. © Magnum Photos.

operate out of Cairo had recently been thwarted when he failed to get a residential visa. As a British citizen, he had to base himself in a sterling area since he did not have access to other currencies. Thus, he and his wife Cicely decided to take a tour through the Britishheld territories of Africa, where Rodger was sure that there would be “a tremendous amount of feature material to be found en route.”72 While Capa and Cartier-Bresson shot feature stories in the USSR and China that were picked up by the largest magazines in the U.S. and Europe and brought the photographers international recognition, Rodger’s pictures from the same period had a much more limited circulation, which kept him off the radars of key magazine editors. His stories from Rhodesia, Uganda, Southern Sudan, Abyssinia, Nigeria, and the Congo appeared in Illustrated, whose editor Len Spooner helped underwrite the trip.73 But because the stories reflected a narrowly British set of interests in the economies and inhabitants of its empire, Magnum’s Paris office did not have much luck distributing them internationally. By the spring of 1949, Rodger was bringing in the least amount of income of Magnum’s photographers.74 Despite the limited distribution of this work, Rodger returned to Africa for another six months between 1950 and 1951, this time working for the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), which had been set up to administer Marshall Plan funds. Rodger’s job was to FREELANCING FOR LIFE


photograph the eCa’s activities in the French and portuguese territories in africa and in the Belgian Congo.75 the trip materialized because of rodger’s budding friendship with Jinx Witherspoon following the death of his first wife, Cicely. at the time, Jinx was John Morris’s colleague at Ladies’ Home Journal and was friends with the new director of the magazine unit at the eCa, Norton Wood. She convinced Wood to hire rodger to take pictures, promising that she would do the research and write story texts.76 even more so than CartierBresson’s wife, Witherspoon became from this point forward rodger’s assistant, collaborator, and like-minded confidant.77 She coordinated and researched their travels and was also an avid writer, authoring a number of articles that accompanied rodger’s photographs in the Saturday Evening Post, Illustrated, and National Geographic.78 aside from being a logistical nightmare—rodger and Jinx often arrived to find that the dams or roads they needed to photograph were never built—the assignment required that rodger give away the american rights to his work. (the eCa was supposed to distribute his pictures in american periodicals and use them in eCa publicity materials.) the Magnum paris office sold rodger’s stories from africa to Paris Match, Epoca, and Illustrated, but in the U.S., the eCa proved that it was highly ineffective at placing images in the press. rodger’s seven thousand pictures were mostly filed away in the eCa agency archives.79 american editors did not really know what rodger had been up to between 1947 and 1950. By the time he finally arrived in the Middle east in 1951 for an assignment from Illustrated, he discovered that his perspectives and pictures were not coveted as they had been during World War II. rodger’s first postwar assignment in the Middle east came from Illustrated magazine, whose editor Len Spooner asked rodger to spend two weeks covering the 1951 Christmas season in Jerusalem and Bethlehem for a seven-page lead story. Stationed in paris at the time, George and Jinx, who had left Ladies’ Home Journal and was temporarily working for Magnum, hurried to secure visas. (the couple married in 1953.) In a letter to her parents, Jinx explained that the premise of the Illustrated assignment was what Christ would find if he returned to the holy Land that year.80 Illustrated wanted the photo report to reproduce the age-old image of palestine as the holy Land and to address the contemporary political situation. rodger’s British citizenship, which made it easy for him to secure a Jordanian visa, coupled with his own relationship to palestine, made him the right photographer for the assignment.81 Not unlike nineteenth-century British and French photographers who came to palestine in search of a timeless, biblical landscape, rodger had long related to palestine as the land of the Old and New testaments.82 In his 1944 memoir Desert Journey, rodger suggested that the growing Jewish population posed a threat to the image and reality of palestine as the holy Land.83 after 1948, rodger continued to express the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiments common among British Imperial subjects of his generation and upper-class social standing. his thoughts on the region, recorded in letters to relatives and friends, are strikingly similar to those of Glubb pasha, the famous British leader of abdullah’s transjordanian army (the British-funded arab Legion), which captured east Jerusalem and the West Bank for Jordan in 1948.84 after meeting rodger in 1941 during a Life photo shoot, Glubb pasha—the general whom Life dubbed the second Lawrence of arabia—became one of the 94

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photographer’s main contacts in the area.85 Rodger shared Glubb Pasha’s concerns about Jewish immigration, seeing it as part of Israel’s inevitable plan to expand its borders beyond internationally sanctioned lines.86 Both also regretted the decline of British political and economic power in the Middle East.87 Jinx Witherspoon saw things similarly when it came to Israel/Palestine. The daughter of Christian missionaries who spent her childhood in Lebanon and Syria, she often wrote to her parents about the absence of “Christian love and forgiveness in Palestine” and, like Rodger, called Jews the primary aggressors in the region.88 At this point it may be difficult not to ask how George Rodger ended up in business with the Jewish Robert Capa in the first place. Magnum’s founders had been on the same side during World War II, and in those years Capa and Rodger also had the same employer: Life. But after the war, the neat, good-versus-evil alliances were replaced with messier partnerships, not only on the level of governments, but also in business. While Capa, Seymour, and Cartier-Bresson were empathetic to the Left, Rodger’s inclusion shows that not all Magnum photographers shared the same politics, and yet they could still work together. Rodger’s imperialist sympathies and cultural anti-Semitism were sidelined in the quest to cover the world, build up Magnum’s brand, and allow each photographer to support himself. Problems emerged, however, when photographers covered the same region or went after the same client with very different types of stories. This is what happened in the case of Israel/ Palestine—a trying chapter of Magnum’s history that is rarely mentioned but that says much about the complicated work of running a picture agency. After finishing the Christmas assignment for Illustrated, George and Jinx began working on an unassigned story about Palestinian refugees, whom they saw as the hopeless victims of the Jewish state.89 A few months prior, Life had published a long but lightly illustrated exposé on Palestinian refugees by Time Inc.’s Middle East correspondent James Bell, but neither Jinx nor George saw the article as potential competition (fig. 34).90 George actually befriended Bell, and the two began to share research on the region, which George and Jinx collected through interviews with United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) officials and through extensive reading.91 The pair then came up with what they thought was a compelling shooting script meant to show the humanitarian and political implications of Palestinian displacement. They would include “a few tear jerkers which the Americans love, such as a small baby crying over his UNRWA ration” and “a Palestinian family over-looking Israel and their former home.” There would be scenes of “Palestinians living on a border village, cut off from their lands and cattle by barbed wire—and the Jews plowing their own land and milking their own cows!” The story might end with pictures of “mass meetings, where contempt and despite arise against America and Great Britain (as well as the Jew!).”92 They set their highest hopes on Life, but they also pitched the story to Jinx’s old boss at Ladies’ Home Journal, John Morris, who had introduced Rodger to Jinx and was still, at this point, working for the women’s magazine.93 Rodger and Jinx were confident that their photo essay could make a big splash, but they were also afraid that their side of the story would never be known. “Am I right or wrong in believing that there must be a conspiracy of silence in America designed to suppress all information from this part of the world that could in any way be taken as being anti-Jewish?” FREELANCING FOR LIFE



James Bell, “the Forgotten arab refugees,” Life (September 17, 1951), 91. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

asked rodger of John Morris in a passionate letter enumerating over a dozen questions and facts (not all correct) about the palestinian refugee situation in late 1951.94 Jinx was even more direct. Before she and George even began work on the story, Jinx warned her parents that “we shall have the Jews against us tooth and nail” and predicted that their report would never be published.95 a week later she referred matter-of-factly to the “Jewish controlled or Jewish influenced press (which means just about every newspaper and magazine in the [United States] except the Christian Century)” to explain how difficult it would be to convince any editors or publishers to see the story from their perspective.96 that was also how rodger described the fate of their story decades later: “My version of these facts was never published because the editors of american magazines were nearly all Jewish.”97


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Were George and Jinx correct in some way? The unsavory task of ethnically profiling Magnum’s leading magazine clients shows that neither their editors nor publishers were, in fact, Jewish.98 Yet as the wide circulation of Capa’s pictures indicates, Jewish and Zionist organizations did have sophisticated media strategies in place in both the U.S. and Europe, and they used all possible media and channels to build support for the Jewish state.99 By contrast, Palestinian Arabs lacked political leadership, to say nothing of a cohesive public relations program. In the 1940s and 1950s, representatives of the UNRWA or Arab state leaders spoke for Palestinians in the media.100 Yet this reality, however unbalanced, is not the Jewish media conspiracy that the Rodgers portrayed. Once they were done with their shooting and note taking in January 1952, the couple sent the Palestinian story to Magnum for distribution. Robert Capa sent a long letter to Rodger in response. As Magnum’s president, Capa was often involved in editing, selling, and critiquing his colleagues’ work. He had been in the Paris office when Rodger’s film arrived. He read the text and had helped edit the pictures. Then he tried to sell the story to Life’s managing editor, Ed Thompson, in New York, but no luck. Thompson, as we saw previously, “had a piece from Jim Bell on the same subject not long ago so he was not especially interested.”101 Capa then suggested how Rodger could infuse his stories with his political perspectives and still get the work published. “The text piece, not because I am not in agreement with it, is the best example of what you should not do,” Capa began. “Eighty per cent of your piece was ponderous, general and editorial, in the sense that columnists are editorial.” Capa understood that Rodger felt “very deeply about the subject,” and he suggested that he should have disguised his own perspective “in facts, conversations, colorful bits and pieces.” Even more problematic was the dissonance between Rodger’s text, “full of misery and drama,” and the pictures, which showed “a fairly peaceful and nearly contented camp, certainly far more orderly and clean than the camps on the other side.” Capa tried to conclude the letter gently. “I hope you will not interpret my criticism wrongly. I have fallen into the same mistake when I was far away, isolated, and impressed,” and he hoped that if Rodger heard it from him directly, he would avoid the same pitfalls in the future.102 With this letter, the Magnum president turned a potential political conflict into a disagreement about working strategy. Indeed, the founders could not have had more different perspectives on this part of the world, especially regarding how that reality should be communicated via image and text. While Rodger clung to his story as the truthful one, Capa approached the issue with more flexibility. He implied that Magnum photographers’ work needed to read as personally disinterested though not necessarily uncritical. There was an art to making the pictures and research serve a political perspective. Above all, Rodger needed to understand how the press operated. He needed to see magazines’ gaps in coverage and be ready to offer something that no staff photographer or writer could. These were the ways to succeed as a freelancer, and these were the lessons that Capa himself learned when he mostly failed to get published in Life in 1948.



though Capa has often been portrayed as the great ideologue—the concerned photographer whose commitment to humanity threads together his entire photographic career— his letter showed that he was in fact pragmatic and adaptive. Instructing rodger to disguise his story in “colorful bits and pieces,” Capa exposed his own devices. the photographer was always on the lookout for striking details, regardless of whether he was on assignment in Israel or vacationing with royalty in the Swiss alps for Holiday.103 anonymous haganah soldiers, immigrant merchants, and kibbutzniks were human-interest devices that allowed Capa to communicate the story of Jewish resilience and survival. Capa knew that such images would sell to the Jewish organizations that hired him and to the variety of magazines interested in human-interest stories from around the world. he also suspected that rodger needed to move on and find a more newsworthy subject: “when Suez and teheran are burning, the quiet middle between the two is not going to excite editors very much,” he signed off.104 the whole incident upset Capa, and a month later he wrote an exasperated report to the shareholders about the “stinking” freelance market. though he addressed all seven Magnum photographers, his comments seemed especially aimed at his British colleague, who by this point had entered into a personal feud with Capa.105 Neither George nor Jinx took Capa’s critique well. “It’s so hard to break through against all that Zionist propaganda and the Jewish control over the american press,” Jinx wrote to her parents. “We have had some hot letters from some N.Y. friends who have read the text—they think we are just anti-Jewish and telling a lot of lies.”106 rodger was not willing to employ the tricks of the trade that Capa suggested, and it looked to him like all of Magnum was against him for not doing its job of distributing and selling his pictures. he decided he had one last resort: a direct appeal to henry Luce. George and Jinx both raised up Luce above others in the industry for not simply supporting Israel’s territorial and military policies. as Luce’s biographer notes, the publisher was fascinated by the arab world, and he expressed an anti-Semitism that was part of a “casual bigotry” shared by members of the upper class—not only in Great Britain, but also in america.107 Like Jinx, Luce was born and raised in China, the child of Christian missionaries, which made the photographer and his wife hopeful that he would see the palestinian issue from their perspective. the couple also shared Luce’s (and Life’s) ardent anti-Communism. thus they pitched the story of the palestinians not only as the product of Israel’s collusion with the West, but also as a new front of the Cold War. On May 5, 1952, George rodger wrote directly to Luce, relying on his previous position as a Life staffer and on the publisher’s levelheadedness: “LIFe and tIMe are among the very few publications which have had the courage to approach the Israeli-arab situation objectively,” he typed earnestly, and he encouraged Time and Life to “embark on a thorough Middle east expose.”108 But rodger never made a strong case to publish his own story. Quite naively from an entrepreneurial perspective, he praised the Middle east reports by time Inc. staffer James Bell. Luce responded favorably to rodger’s analysis and assured him that Bell—not rodger—would continue to highlight the “Middle east menace.”109 Over the next five years, Life reported on the Middle east through the Cold War framework rodger pro98

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“Glubb Tells How Our Mid-East Enemies Work,” Life (April 16, 1956), 145. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

posed, but without the freelancer’s pictures. There were anxious profiles on the former mufti of Palestine and Egypt’s Nasser, both of whom looked favorably upon the USSR.110 And when the magazine finally addressed the Palestinian refugee situation, the story was by yet another friend of Rodger’s—the recently ousted British general of the Arab Legion, Glubb Pasha himself.111 During the Cold War, Life loved to print stories by ousted politicians and Iron Curtain defectors who shared Time Inc.’s worldview and could present its readers with a firsthand account of what was happening in a strategic part of the world.112 Glubb’s 1956 article offered an explanation of how the West’s “Mid-East Enemies Work,” describing the rise of anti-imperialism and Arab nationalism in Jordan as a Communist conspiracy and calling the Palestinian refugee camps a bastion of hatred toward the West (fig. 35).113 The article expressed all of the ideas that George and Jinx had related to Luce years prior. In the words of a political celebrity, FREELANCING FOR LIFE


however, they had far more value to Life. and the images illustrating Glubb’s report—a valley overtaken by tents and refugees, and portraits of Glubb himself—were by Life staff photographers John phillips and David Douglas Duncan. rodger had made similar photographs in 1951, but phillips’s and Duncan’s pictures were already the property of time Inc. and they could be easily retrieved, at no additional cost, from Life’s picture collection for publication. While painting himself as the misunderstood ally of the palestinians and suggesting that Life mattered most to Magnum and the postwar magazine landscape, rodger neglected to tell Luce—and his interviewers decades later—that several european magazines bought and printed his pictures. rodger was well aware of the importance of european magazines for Magnum’s business, elaborating in a 1952 report on the dozens of clients that regularly published Magnum photographs.114 rodger’s own work on the palestinians appeared in england’s Picture Post, the Dutch De Spaarnestad, the Swedish Vecko Journalen and the German Münchner Illustrierte.115 In Picture Post and Vecko Journalen, the images were part of longer reports on Christmas in Bethlehem, where the emphasis was on street processions of priests and monks and midnight mass rather than the political and humanitarian situation in the Middle east. the fate of refugees received more attention in the German and Dutch magazines, both of which dedicated half a page to rodger’s panoramic view of a refugee camp in Jordan, an image that harkened back to nineteenth-century landscapes of the holy Land through the birds’-eye-view perspective and broad sweep of rolling hills and roads (figs. 36 and 37).116 rather than offering a timeless perspective, rodger’s photograph drew attention to the numerous tents punctuating the scene, near which one could make out groups of people standing and sitting in the blazing sun. On the left-hand side of the page-spread, Münchner Illustrierte also ran his striking profile of a palestinian woman draped in black. Balancing a large woven basket on her head while guiding a child through a group of refugees, the woman served as a symbol of the precariousness of palestinian day-to-day existence.117 the photographs that appeared in De Spaarnestad could have doubled as publicity for the UNrWa, showing orderly and clean palestinian children learning, exercising, and receiving their water rations (fig. 37). Indeed, the director of the UNrWa had been one of George and Jinx’s main contacts on the ground. the scenes he showed them would have served the agency’s annual reports well, but in an editorial context they testified to european investment in UN agencies, which did not receive the same media support in the U.S.118 rodger may not have intended to tell the story of the UNrWa, but his pictures nonetheless did, blurring the line between publicity and news similarly to Capa’s photo essays on Israel’s new arrivals. the distribution of the Magnum founders’ pictures also shows an important difference between american and european press attitudes toward Israel/palestine. While american magazines reported on Israel, and Zionist organizations helped produce and reproduce the image culture of those magazines—commissioning and rebuying the same pictures from the same agencies and photographers—european magazines readily embraced the humanitarian, UNWra-led agenda in the Middle east.119 100

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“500 000 ohne Hoffnung,” Münchner Illustrierte (date unknown, circa early 1952), as preserved in George Rodger’s tear sheet collection. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos. FIGURE 37 G

“880.000 Vluchteling—De Palestijnse Oorlog,” De Spaarnestad (date unknown, circa early 1952), as preserved in George Rodger’s tear sheet collection. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos.

In later interviews, rodger was also selective when he claimed that the palestinian story was central to his work in the region between 1951 and 1952. During his six-month stay in the Middle east, he wisely spent most of his time on more lucrative assignments. While trying to place the palestinian story in Life, rodger was already shooting features on Glubb pasha, the arab Legion, and the sheikh of Kuwait, whom the press dubbed the richest man in the world in the wake of Kuwait’s oil boom. With these stories George and Jinx got “nearer to the news,” in Capa’s words, and they felt the rewards immediately. Upon arriving in Kuwait in January, they found five cables outlining seven assignments, including one from Illustrated, a feature for the New York Times Sunday magazine, and another for National Geographic.120 all of these assignments came with guaranteed prices and expense accounts, assuring George and Jinx that they would make up what they lost while producing the palestinian refugee story on their own dime.121 the articles resold widely across europe, and they showcased rodger’s superb skills in color photography, which paid much more than black-and-white photographs. Epoca produced a particularly striking layout of his Kuwait pictures, all shot against a bright blue sky, which contrasted brilliantly with the orange fire and black smoke rising above the oil fields (fig. 38). his pictures may have appealed to editors precisely for rodger’s knack for exoticizing, Orientalist imagery of local dress and customs. rodger’s Illustrated story on the arab Legion— made possible through rodger’s long friendship with their commander Glubb pasha—framed the Bedouin soldiers on their camels and against the desert landscape (fig. 39). Shot upclose and from below, the photograph exploited the dramatic contrast between the old and the new. Donning white-and-red checkered kaffiyeh and sitting on the bright, handwoven saddles, the Bedouin soldiers practice shooting their British-supplied enfield rifles. Magazines on both sides of the atlantic embraced visual stereotypes that quickly helped readers identify a certain part of the world, and rodger obliged. In Illustrated his photographs helped celebrate what many feared was the beginning of the end of British power in the Middle east. though rodger later reduced his postwar work in the Middle east to his failed attempt to publish the palestinian refugee story in Life, the distribution of his pictures tells a different story. rodger capitalized on the european magazine market, where editorial perspectives were more closely aligned with his politics. Yet his geopolitics alienated him from the other Magnum founders. rodger was the only Magnum photographer to express his views on the Middle east and the media in stark pro-Jewish versus pro-arab terms. his passionate embrace of Cold War discourse and his commitment to protecting Western imperial interests in the region was unique as well. the tone he struck in his letter to Luce, in fact, could not have been more different from the message of “people are people the World Over,” which Magnum had produced with John Morris to compete with Life’s hawkish vision of the postwar globe. and while the other Magnum founders showed interest in the fate of socialism after World War II (Cartier-Bresson in his coverage of China; Capa in the USSr; Capa and also Seymour in Israel), rodger shot down Israel precisely as a “hotbed of Communism in the Middle east” and repeatedly asked his american colleagues and Luce why, despite america’s “fight against communism,” the country would support Israel.122 But Life did not need photographers 102

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“Il Petrolio di Kuwait,” Epoca (date unknown), 50–51, as preserved in George Rodger’s tear sheet collection. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos. FIGURE 39 G

“Proud Guardians of the Desert,” Illustrated (April 12, 1952), 20. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos.

to share its global politics; it needed freelancers to get in and get the story when its own photographers could not. that is what rodger (and initially Capa) failed to do in the Middle east, but what Cartier-Bresson did exceptionally well in the USSr. FREELANCERS GAIN THE UPPER HAND BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN

When Cartier-Bresson decided to travel to the Soviet Union in 1954 without any magazine backing, he was, like George rodger in the Middle east, taking a financial risk. Yet two factors encouraged him to go. Stalin’s death in March 1953 had inspired newfound interest in russia, and his own reputation, solidified after the release of his 1952 book The Decisive Moment, suggested he might be able to sell future work. Unlike George rodger, who was not exactly beloved by american editors when he produced his report on the refugees, Cartier-Bresson was well known. his photo book was widely reviewed in the press, and it was being turned into an international traveling exhibition. In its own promotional article for the book, Life bragged it had understood Cartier-Bresson’s genius early on and printed many of his pictures first.123 the book’s publisher, richard Simon, insisted that after months of waiting, Cartier-Bresson finally received his visa to the USSr when the photographer sent in a copy of The Decisive Moment to prove his credentials.124 even if this is not entirely true, it appears that his international reputation, combined with his leftist political networks dating back to the 1930s, helped him gain entry.125 Cartier-Bresson and his wife spent three months in the USSr beginning in July 1954. While henri photographed, ratna took notes and collected research. Upon their return to paris, it was she who meticulously captioned all of his film and wrote up short, contextual stories to accompany the pictures. Writing and captioning was an incredibly important part of the freelancer’s job because magazine editors could not make sense of photographs without text, especially when a story was not initiated by the magazine. Magnum photographers constantly struggled with this step, and Cartier-Bresson, in fact, struggled most of all.126 to address the issue, Magnum’s editor John Morris encouraged photographers to use reporters when they traveled. In 1955 he explained to the shareholders, “Whereas Life photographers originally worked alone on major stories, the increasingly higher standards of picture journalism gradually forced them to work with reporters on almost every story. We can only compete when we find means of financing similar operations.”127 We know by this point that Magnum freelancers were constantly competing with Life staffers to get into the magazine. But they could rarely afford to hire reporters. to solve the problem, many kept asking their partners—almost always wives and girlfriends—to do this service for free. photographers at the competing Black Star photo agency did the same.128 Magnum’s limited editorial resources meant that ratna was also part of the ad hoc editing team Magnum assembled when Cartier-Bresson got back from the USSr. John Morris flew to France to join them, and the entire Magnum staff in paris spent November and December editing Cartier-Bresson’s three hundred rolls of film down into a long distribution package of images and text that could be shown to magazines.129 as in the case of his Gandhi story in 1948, Cartier-Bresson was not photographing russia with Life in mind. In 1954 Holiday editor ted patrick—who also published Capa’s work from 104

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Israel, and who paid Cartier-Bresson to shoot long features in Paris and throughout Europe—wanted to devote an entire issue to Cartier-Bresson’s Russia.130 But John Morris tipped off his old colleague Ed Thompson in October 1954 and the Life editor wrote preemptively to Cartier-Bresson, coaxing him to sell the photos to Life instead. Getting direct access to the Soviet Union was an immense challenge for Life. Amid Stalin’s efforts to reinstate strict discipline and secrecy after World War II, the USSR closed itself off to foreigners, especially journalists.131 Life’s weekly obsession with the Cold War and Time Inc.’s larger commitment to, in the words of Luce, “beat[ing] the bejesus out of Stalinism [and] liquidat[ing] the Soviet Communist Power System,” certainly did not help its photographers or reporters get in.132 Yet Life needed photographic material about Russia, especially after the death of Stalin on March 5, 1953—an event that was first analyzed only in the March 16 issue, by which point the magazine had received the same photograph of Stalin lying in state that SovFoto, the Soviet news agency, had distributed to all the American publications. For the next few issues, Life narrated the “ghastly” details of Stalin’s rule using drawings of what the nighttime arrests and show trials may have looked like.133 Then Life finally got a peek at post-Stalinist Russia in color thanks to amateur photographs taken by a group of American journalism students who had been part of a rare delegation through the USSR.134 Life’s excitement about Cartier-Bresson’s photographs makes good sense when considered against this backdrop of printing official and stock images, hand-drawn illustrations, and amateur snapshots in the weeks prior. When Ed Thompson wrote to Cartier-Bresson, he preempted any reservations about selling to Life because of its anti-Soviet stance, promising that its politics would not shape the picture editing or layout. He said, “It would be our plan not to try to read anything into it that isn’t there . . . we would follow your captions as closely as possible.” He even invited Cartier-Bresson to New York to guide the layout, but it does not appear that the photographer went.135 Many have noted that Cartier-Bresson’s photographs offered a unique view of Russia in Cold War America. Indeed, Americans reading Life were used to official photos of Soviet industry and political meetings, but in Cartier-Bresson’s pictures, people took pride of place while politics were literally in the background, in the form of the Red Square, Stalin-era buildings, or Moscow metro reliefs. Cartier-Bresson inserted himself into crowds and got up close (fig. 40). He showed Soviet people going about their everyday activities: looking at art or attending the theater, spending time outdoors with their children. There was an intimacy to the pictures, an attention to people’s expressions and their relationships that was underscored by the picture selection and thematic layout. Life paid $40,000 to use CartierBresson’s pictures in two American issues (January 17 and 31) and in its international edition. (Today that would be just over $361,000.) Magnum was able to distribute the photographs to European magazines as well. The pictures appeared in multiple installments of Paris Match, Picture Post, Epoca, and Der Stern, demonstrating that Cartier-Bresson’s report successfully capitalized upon a global, and not just American, fascination with the Soviet Union. But did Life stick to its promise of not reading anything into the pictures? Comparing Life’s photo essays to the international distribution shows how Life did impose Time Inc.’s FREELANCING FOR LIFE



“the people of Moscow” Life (January 17, 1955), 18–19. © henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

politics through picture selection and layout. Cartier-Bresson’s russia story in Life concluded with a massive photograph, captioned “Sturdy Young Soviets,” taken at a physical culture parade at Moscow’s Dynamo stadium (fig. 41). In it, about a hundred children run out from a stream of jets toward the top party leaders, who are shown up-close on the next page. the children’s bodies are toned but the children are not particularly sculpted or organized. the photograph undermines the constructivist and later socialist realist mode of representing Soviet athletes, which emphasized muscular young bodies moving in unison and used dramatic camera angles to underscore the grandiosity of the display and the synchronicity of the Soviet collective. Cartier-Bresson did shoot images in that style, but they were not in Life; those were the pictures that european magazines selected for publication. Epoca and Paris Match both chose more grandiose and formally better, more captivating photographs of the same parade at Dynamo, dedicating four pages to the athletic displays (fig. 42). the leading photo in Paris Match is particularly interesting because in the routine the participants spelled out “peace” in every language, and Cartier-Bresson chose the “decisive moment” when the word was in english (fig. 43). Life, ever concerned with the atomic threat from the east, was not in the habit of showing Soviet culture as aspiring to peace. In 1955 the magazine also did not want 106

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“The People of Moscow” Life (January 17, 1955), 28–29. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

to admit how organized and prepared the Soviets were for next year’s Olympics. Just a few months prior, a Life editorial had noted with concern that “the Russians are winning practically every international sporting event they enter,” and Life urged Americans to accept that they wouldn’t win more medals. American athletes were simply not willing to suffer “stress and strain . . . at the expense of mind and soul” like those overzealous Russians.136 By contrast, the European publications showed that they were threatened by neither Soviet sportsmanship nor the socialist realist aesthetic in which Cartier-Bresson worked during that trip. By 1956 Life had ramped up its anti-Soviet rhetoric in response to the revolutions in Poland and Hungary, showing that Cartier-Bresson’s Russia pictures really had been an aberration from Life’s usual representation of the Soviet bloc. The magazine’s longstanding antiCommunist and anti-Soviet politics continued to affect the mechanics of picture supply. European freelancers in general, and Magnum in particular, had the upper hand because they could work behind the Iron Curtain. After publishing an exposé by a Polish defector, who told of Wladyslaw Gomulka’s commitment to the Kremlin, Life’s staff photographer Lisa Larsen was denied permission to stay in Poland and cover the elections.137 But Magnum, as an independent organization with left-leaning European photographers and a Paris office to boot, could get its own photographers in. One Magnum member who went to FREELANCING FOR LIFE



“Le Peuple russe: Première Partie: La Vie à Moscou,” Paris Match (January 29, 1955), 56–57. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of Magnum Foundation Archives. FIGURE 43 G

“Le Peuple russe: Première Partie: La Vie à Moscou,” Paris Match (January 29, 1955), 54–55. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of Magnum Foundation Archives.

Poland was the Austrian Jewish Erich Lessing, whom John Morris instructed, “It is completely unwise for you to appear connected in any way with Life. Nevertheless, if you go as Magnum the Poles will eventually understand [that you are representing the agency], no matter where your pictures appear.”138 And indeed Life was invested in this story: when their photographer was basically kicked out, Life guaranteed Lessing $500 plus expenses to cover the election.139 Cartier-Bresson also went to Poland around this time, but he made a point of siding with the Poles against Life: he took an assignment from Paris Match and refused to resell his pictures to the American magazine.140 But Cartier-Bresson could afford to take a political stand. He had just made the $40,000 from the USSR photos. The image of the Magnum freelancer not selling his work for political reasons has become a lasting one, but very few photographers could actually afford to withhold sales. Cartier-Bresson did so rarely and only once he was established as a freelance photographer. Magnum’s experiences show that the “free” in freelancing—of deciding where to work and where to sell one’s pictures—came with formidable challenges. Photographers did not simply have to be in the right place at the right time. Like magazine editors, Magnum photographers and staff had to have the right ideas and know the right people. They had to think in stories and follow the news to figure out what needed coverage. Working around the world with an eye to getting into Life, Magnum photographers took advantage of their global networks and non-American passports. They also learned that success breeds success: Cartier-Bresson’s assignments in the late 1940s set him up to make the Soviet sale in 1954. Rodger may have failed to see his Palestinian refugee story in Life, but his work in the Middle East established him as one of the leading documentarians of the oil boom. It paved the way for lucrative assignments from Standard Oil and Schlumberger (discussed in chapter 5) which supported the photographer more than any editorial client. Their freelance status made things difficult in some ways, but it also meant that Magnum photographers could distribute their pictures to many markets. But while Magnum photographers were trying to figure out what successful news photography entailed, they were also learning how to make global travel into the story itself. To see how they did this means looking at Magnum’s travel photography for Holiday and its publicity work for international corporations. As Magnum photographers faced competition from magazine staffers and confronted their limits in producing news features, the agency increasingly turned to these alternative markets for global news images.





for Robert Capa, and 1953 was off to an equally hectic start. Although Magnum had just hired John Morris to oversee the agency’s global operations, Capa was still recovering from the long days of editing photographers’ film, pitching sales to editors, and supervising staff. But Capa had not only shuttled between the Magnum offices in New York and Paris. He had recently tried out half a dozen ski resorts in the Alps, spent a weekend with Dutch royalty, partied with high society in Rome, explored Norwegian fjords, and sunbathed in the south of France. He did all of this for Holiday, which eagerly hired him to photograph and write about his adventures.1 Capa was just in the middle of writing up his summer adventures from Deauville and Biarritz when, in February 1953, he was called into the American embassy in Paris where his U.S. passport was promptly revoked.2 The sudden turn of events was a blow not only to Capa, but potentially all of Magnum, which now risked being blacklisted as a Communist front organization and forced to close. (After all, the New York–based Photo League had been forced to disband in 1951.3) “It is needless to say that we have to be extremely HE YEAR 1952 HAD BEEN BUSY


careful and attach no camarades [sic] to our free-lancing outfit, because it would be disastrous for both of us,” Capa noted in a confidential letter to Magnum’s new executive editor, John Morris, shortly after returning from the embassy.4 But Magnum’s future was not the only thing on Capa’s mind. Without his passport, he could not travel, and that meant he could not work for his top editorial client Holiday. Still in a daze, Capa composed his first letter to his friend and Holiday’s managing editor ted patrick.5 Capa hoped that patrick would use his connections in Washington—established from his work with the Office of War Information—to help clear his name.6 But above all Capa wanted patrick to know that he was now stuck in France and would not be able to shoot his upcoming assignment in Cortina, Italy. as the legal battles began, John Morris and Capa panicked further that Capa wouldn’t be able to oversee the production of a special issue on europe either, or supervise the production of a global survey of the lives of women, both of which Capa had sold to Holiday.7 the potential loss of income from these stories, coupled with his mounting legal fees, troubled Capa as much as the politics of the red Scare. as we saw in the previous chapter, visas and passports mattered as much to freelance photographers as their cameras when they needed to get close to the news in India, China, Israel/palestine, and the USSr. But photographers also needed their passports for Holiday’s travel-oriented assignments, which could pay more than Life. By the time the passport fiasco unfolded, Magnum had already recognized that postwar tourism could become a lucrative market for its pictures via a new, segmented market of travel publications embodied by Holiday magazine, which paid photographers to explore the world as professional tourists.8 Fortunately, the State Department failed to produce enough evidence of Capa’s direct involvement in Communist activities and dropped the case against him within two months.9 the attack on Capa was an unnecessary reminder that Magnum and its clients depended on photographers’ “full freedom of movement.”10 No relationship underscored the value of photographers’ mobility more than the one between Magnum and Holiday (est. 1946), two new enterprises founded in the aftermath of war. Capa enjoyed an exceptionally close relationship to the magazine, leading Magnum’s New York bureau chief pat hagan to call Holiday “Capa’s baby,” but in fact most of the Magnum photographers worked for the publication.11 In the late 1940s and the 1950s, they shot dozens of Holiday stories on five continents: travel features in Israel, Japan, and Spain; regional surveys of africa and the Middle east; and city profiles of paris and rome.12 On three occasions, Holiday’s editors tasked Magnum with filling the entire contents of special issues on paris (april 1953) and europe (april 1954 and January 1961). Most of these stories followed a predictable formula: one part visual stereotype or tourist trap, one part glamor, and two parts color. Magnum’s New York editor Inge Bondi instructed the Dutch photographer Kryn taconis about what Holiday usually wanted: “especially colorful color—some shot of a good restaurant—people happily eating the local specialty—some aristocracy if at all possible—some pretty girl, those are the most important ingredients.”13 Holiday allowed Magnum photographers to experiment with and become better at shooting color film more 112

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so than any other magazine. It published their color work regularly thanks to its long production schedule (issues were planned months if not years in advance), and it also paid for their expensive color supplies.14 Magnum photographers learned to gravitate toward florist shops filled with bright bouquets, “pretty girls” dressed in red, and particularly bright blue skies and pools of water—visual details that were great for anchoring photo spreads. Yet there was more to Holiday and to Magnum than these optimistic and dazzling travel features. This chapter looks at a handful of stories from the late 1940s and early 1950s that do not perfectly fit the glamorous template but that allow us to see how the photo agency and the magazine evolved in their approach to global reporting and how they shaped each other for nearly a decade.15 Working together, the photo agency and the magazine showed the world, and Europe in particular, not as a product ready for readers’ immediate consumption, but as a series of complicated places evolving into sites of leisure and fun. Magnum demonstrated this shift by photographing people around the world, that is, by using the same human-interest angle that it exploited in the universalist “People are People the World Over” series for Ladies’ Home Journal, that Seymour employed in the humanitarian “Children of Europe” portfolio for UNESCO, and that Cartier-Bresson, Capa, and Rodger tried out in their news reporting for Life. Holiday editors empowered photographers to bring this editorial aesthetic to the tourism industry and to reimagine travel reporting as human-interest journalism. As the tourism industry picked up and Holiday began to demand more glamour and color, Magnum became adept at creating stories that functioned as both international news and as promotional campaigns for global travel. Looking at the relationship between Holiday and Magnum thus shows how the organizations collectively blurred, if not erased, the boundaries between journalistic, travel, and promotional photography in the decade after World War II. POSTWAR ENTERPRISES: MAGNUM AND HOLIDAY

The Philadelphia-based Curtis Publishing Company, which produced successful American magazines, including the Saturday Evening Post (est. 1821) and Ladies’ Home Journal (1898), founded Holiday magazine in 1946.16 Created in order to take advantage of the imminent rise of domestic and international travel after World War II, Holiday was given a generous operating budget that allowed it to hire well-known writers and photographers to provide high-quality and entertaining content.17 Its leadership included managing editor Ted Patrick (who previously worked as an advertising executive on Madison Avenue), the graphics editor Frank Zachary, and the picture editor Louis Mercier.18 Their collective efforts were crucial to shaping the appearance and content of Holiday’s features. On its inaugural cover, the magazine’s imagined readers stand enraptured by the vast globe and an airplane flying overhead (fig. 44). They are equipped with the implements of their hobbies and professions—the businessman with his briefcase, a husband and wife holding golf clubs and a tennis racket. We see them from above (as if we are looking down from an airplane window), but we also take in the airplane and the sky from below (as if we were standing among them). The airplane ties the multiperspectival composition together, TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



the first issue of Holiday (March 1946). author’s collection.

suggesting that the new mode of transportation will make the dream of seeing the world possible. But above all it is the magazine, whose title is superimposed over the globe, that will act as the gateway to both air travel and international sightseeing. Whereas the widely read National Geographic popularized geography at the turn of the century and targeted armchair travelers through its superbly reproduced maps and photo114

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graphs, Holiday aimed to reach a new class and demographic of “social moderns” after World War II who would experience for themselves the cities and countries the magazine featured. They would do so thanks not only to their wealth, but also their commitment to a quality of life that included fun and travel. Holiday encouraged potential readers to identify with these impulses. As one advertisement for Holiday differentiated, “Many would spend it if they had it, and some who have it hate to spend it. . . . Holiday readers not only have it, they’re in the mood to spend it!”19 Holiday magazine used a strong middlebrow flavor to introduce affluent and moderately educated Americans to “a world of Culture” that had previously belonged to the elite.20 It published the best writers of the day, including E. B. White on New York and Jack Kerouac on San Francisco, cultivating high-quality travel writing that has been recognized as the magazine’s trademark.21 Because postwar tourism expanded most rapidly in North America—with the help of new highways, motels, and the rise in car sales—Holiday focused predominantly on domestic travel. Its photo essays on international locations provided readers with aspirational content, suggesting that seeing Europe would help them attain upward mobility and cultural refinement. Photography played a primary role in creating the cosmopolitan world of travel in the pages of Holiday and so did Magnum, which dominated Holiday’s coverage of international locations for a decade.22 Magnum’s mobile network of photographers, who had connections in many countries and spoke multiple languages, were a great fit for the internationally minded magazine.23 Many were happy to take on Holiday assignments, which were well paid and in the early years came with relatively little direction. On the ground, Holiday stories could take weeks or months to produce, compared to the much quicker turnarounds of news features. This was a lucrative setup because with their travel expenses covered, photographers could shoot stories on the side and resell them for full profit. Yet when Magnum and Holiday first started working together in the late 1940s, the prospect of international travel looked quite dire. Europe lay in ruins. Basic infrastructure lagged far behind American standards, and food rationing was still in effect. The onset of the Marshall Plan in 1948 funded redevelopment while also feeding anti-American sentiments in countries such as France, and Americans needed to be convinced that they were welcome there on their vacations.24 Magnum and Holiday, however, turned these circumstances into an opportunity. While other American magazines were losing interest in European recovery, Holiday could not afford to ignore the visual traces of war and its aftermath. It needed stories that would reacquaint readers with postwar Europe and prepare them for eventual travel. Magnum’s photographers were familiar with the continent, and they wanted to go back, even if they had to deal with rubble. Magnum’s initial shift from news to travel was therefore barely distinguishable. DON’T PACK NOW . . . BUT EUROPE’S STILL THERE

Immediately after the war, Holiday began preparing readers to travel to Europe by addressing the continent’s recent past.25 In its inaugural issue, the magazine forecasted that TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“europe’s Still there,” Holiday (april 1946), 49. Courtesy of UC Davis Shields Library.

international travel would grow but it asked readers to be patient with and compassionate toward europe’s problems, including the lack of food, hot water, and heating.26 a slew of features on postwar europe functioned simultaneously as historical accounts, as news (dealing with future elections, new laws, or construction plans) and as teasers for international travel. a story in the second issue of Holiday from april 1946 instructed, “Don’t pack now—but despite the most destructive war in history, europe’s still there.” the article was illustrated with two color photographs, both of which suggested that europe’s familiar sites had been preserved and were waiting for eventual tourists. the opening photograph showed the recognizable red facades of a parisian restaurant and boulangerie (fig. 45). although both were closed, the “untouched domes” of the Sacre Coeur could be seen “still gleaming” in the background, promising visitors the same views of the Montmartre as before the war. published 116

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“Londoners and the War,” Holiday (July 1947), 38–39. Courtesy of UC Davis Shields Library.

just one year after the Allied victory in Europe, the article recounted sites of battle and warned readers that Europeans would be “psychologically receptive to pleasure-seeking visitors” only when they had regular food to eat. To make the point, such stories occasionally included photographs of housewives queuing for food or children working the black market.27 In other cases, Holiday admitted to a city’s allure while also acknowledging its troubled politics. A 1949 story on Naples, for example, acknowledged that “the city has become cleaner and less crowded in the last five years, but it continues to be a Fascist breeding ground.”28 The magazine was unafraid to publish rubble photography that showed the extent of the destruction in places such as London, Vienna, and Poland while couching those images in relatively optimistic rhetoric.29 A 1947 feature on “Londoners and the War” led with a sunny view of the iconic Saint Paul’s Cathedral, captured in color against puffy, bright clouds (fig. 46). Having survived the incendiary attack on London on December 29, 1940, Saint Paul’s became a potent symbol of British resilience during the war after it was photographed, rising out of the nighttime flames, by the British photographer Hebert Mason.30 Six years later, the cathedral was still surrounded by rubble, as the Holiday photograph attests. Yet unlike the eerily deserted, black-and-white rubble photographs made in the immediate aftermath of the war, this color image gestures toward the future as much as it recalls the past. The empty lot in front of the cathedral awaits new construction. The bright scene TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY


encourages readers to set aside their stereotypes of London as a gloomy and foggy city and to imagine themselves taking in its sights—old and new—in the near future.31 On the lefthand side of the page-spread, an image of Londoners crowding around the general who led Britain’s eighth army to a victory in North africa similarly references the war while gesturing toward the beginning of reconstruction and healing. the photograph promises that soon enough, these people will welcome international visitors as eagerly as they now receive their wartime heroes. Such stories planted seeds for future travel, but they were also astonishingly blunt in their message: give people and places a time to heal before planning your european tour. Magnum’s photography started appearing in Holiday as part of this postwar recovery genre. Like Holiday’s early stories on London and paris, Magnum’s photo reports were editorial and historical in nature, showing the effects of the war rather than insisting to readers that it was time to pack their bags. David Seymour was the first Magnum photographer to receive a Holiday byline in October 1948 for a story on Vienna by Vincent Sheean, titled “Music in the ruins.” his leading image captured three music students walking down a quiet street, ignoring the pile of rubble on their right (fig. 47). Like Seymour’s picture, Sheean’s narrative focused on the revival of the Viennese opera and philharmonic against the backdrop of destroyed theaters and the bureaucratic chaos generated by the allied forces and the new austrian government. With lines such as “even now, in the privation and anxiety, cold and hungry in the wreckage of the past, Vienna is still making music,” the story was more sentimental than optimistic. Sheean described the lives of Viennese performers who were returning to opera halls, their National Socialist party memberships forgiven if they could show that they “minded their own business” during the war. Seymour’s images received relatively little space, and they captured formulaic scenes of the opera house, of musicians preparing backstage, and of audience members watching from their seats in the hall’s balcony. the text gave no sense that Seymour was part of Sheean’s travels through Vienna, for he wasn’t. they did not work on the assignment together. Seymour was traveling through europe for UNeSCO in the summer of 1948, and the Magnum office in New York, regularly in touch with Holiday, telegrammed him to ask for a few photographs from Vienna while he was there.32 the pictures resulted from exactly the kind of bread-and-butter illustration assignment that photographers hoped Magnum’s staff would secure for them. Given Seymour’s challenges in enticing magazine editors to send him to postwar europe, discussed in chapter 2, the Holiday job was a small feat. Holiday gave Seymour an important outlet for his european reporting, here reimagined as travel photography. Holiday editors were better acquainted with robert Capa than with Seymour, and as a result they involved him in a series of postwar recovery stories from the very beginning. In the fall of 1948, Capa traveled to poland with theodore e. White, the chief correspondent of the Overseas News agency, to document how Soviet power was affecting everyday life behind the Iron Curtain. although he set out for the trip with no precise story assignments, the photographer soon received word from Magnum’s paris bureau chief Maria eisner on 118

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“Music in the Ruins,” Holiday (October 1948), 65. © David Seymour/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

what Holiday wanted to see: “Louis [Mercier, Holiday’s picture editor] still wants an article from teddy [White]—something along the lines of Life Behind the I[ron] C[urtain]. and they want pictures from Capa illustrating this text—what the people look like, how they live, dress, eat, what they can buy in the stores.”33 their collaborative article on poland, titled “From the rubble,” was published in the June 1949 issue of Holiday, and was replete with descriptions of state planning and criticisms of the Communist government—not an unusual angle for an american publication dealing with the Soviet bloc in the early days of the Cold War.34 It was an awkward feature that went through the motions of catering to Holiday’s focus on travel while making clear that no american in her right mind would find a trip to this part of the world enjoyable anytime soon: If you come as a visitor you will be welcomed as a dollar-bearing animal and the poles need dollars to buy machinery, cotton and oil. Visas are more easily granted for poland than for any other east european country. You will not be welcomed in Warsaw, but this is because Warsaw lacks rooms to accommodate you. the hotel polonia and hotel Bristol are reserved only for journalists, diplomats and dignitaries. . . . One thing the returning visitor will find missing in postwar poland are the Jews who formed one tenth of its population ten years ago.35

White answered readers’ practical questions on travel conditions without shielding them from the uncomfortable and depressing truths of life in a country still reeling from the war and the mass murder of its Jews. Capa’s pictures confronted readers with poland’s grim wartime experiences (fig. 48). the story led with a large image of what remained of the Warsaw ghetto: bricks and debris occupied the vast majority of the frame, with only a thin slice of the sky and horizon visible at the top. the caption explained that the extent of Warsaw’s wreckage led city officials to simply decide to build on top of it. they raised the sidewalks six feet above ground, and Capa appears to have shot the image while crouching down on the vast mound of wreckage. No people or other signs of life animated the view. the lack of recognizable structures or paved walkways makes the image both disorienting and overwhelming as rubble overtakes the reader’s visual field. On the following page, Capa’s photograph shows children walking home from school, surrounded by the blown-out facades of Warsaw’s old city. reorienting the story toward the young students’ experience, Capa shot the group from street level, juxtaposing traces of ruined buildings with the youth who had survived and grown up in the shadow of the war. Coupled with the portrait of the Silesian miner above, dressed in rags and emerging from the darkness of a mine shaft, Capa’s images reference both the material and human costs of the conflict. the story continued for five more pages, but with the exception of this opening pagespread, the text and images were confined to half-page columns or less—pressed between a variety of advertisements for Scotch whiskey, Union pacific trains to Los angeles, triscuits, golf clubs, and car upholstery. the story concluded with a horrifying account of Capa and 120

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“From the Rubble,” Holiday (June 1949), 80–81. Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

White’s visit to a mass grave that had not yet been covered. Above and below the text were two pictures by Capa, showing the road leading to Auschwitz and the barbed wire that surrounded the perimeter of the camp (fig. 49). The concentration camp picture (the first ever to be published in Holiday) appeared alongside a large advertisement for Gantner swimwear, which showed an attractive young man and woman, their skin glistening in the sun, eyeing each other suggestively.36 Though it may now read as a sign of the magazine’s shocking insensitivity to recent history, this juxtaposition of the Holocaust’s aftermath with a sandy beach in California was not so different from how other magazines treated Holocaust imagery in the late forties: presenting it between advertisements for perfume and Campbell’s soup or banal features on baseball leagues.37 In Holiday this visual pairing effectively demonstrated the magazine’s highly controlled, dual mode of address to 1940s readers. Holiday felt a responsibility to inform readers about specific places in the world of “today,” cultivating a form of travel reporting that closely mirrored straight editorial features. But given the difficult realities in Europe, Holiday also encouraged readers to travel closer to home. Hawaii, Los Angeles, and Florida received ample coverage in Holiday’s early issues, and a bathing suit would come in handy at any one of those sunny, domestic destinations.38 TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“From the Rubble,” Holiday (June 1949), 83. Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

The Capa-Gantner pairing is a good example of the dissonance readers saw in the magazine in the immediate aftermath of the war, when the gritty realism of its editorial content lagged behind the aspirational, fantasy world of its advertisements.39 Magnum would help make editorial content look more like advertising as the 1950s wore on. But the juxtaposition also suggested that some parts of the world would never be as pleasant and accessible as California. Indeed, with the Iron Curtain coming down, Eastern Europe would soon be beyond the reach of everyone except well-connected journalists. Capa’s photographs therefore did not prepare readers for what they would see in the way that the London, Paris, and Vienna features did. They offered readers a rare and perhaps last look at the country. This would not be the last time that Holiday published Magnum pictures from the eastern bloc only to underscore that the region was off-limits to travelers. Holiday would make a habit of decrying socialism for interfering with the magazine’s dream of global access. HUMAN-INTEREST TRAVEL

From Poland, White and Capa traveled together to Hungary, where Holiday entrusted Capa to illustrate and author a story on his native city of Budapest. The opening page spread of “Conversation in Budapest” (November 1949) followed what was already Holiday’s standard layout for city features (fig. 50). Four color photographs on the left showcased political life in Budapest, with the red of the Communist flags, scarves and banners jumping out from the parades and street scenes. On the right-hand side, Capa’s black and white photograph showed the city’s physical reconstruction, capturing a worker teetering high on the edge of a hotel’s destroyed façade. As in the report on Poland, Holiday printed Capa’s subsequent photographs in black and white, small and cramped between advertisements and text. The page layout diminished the visual effect of the pictures, but Capa’s colleagues praised the story’s masterful prose. Holiday’s editors were thrilled with the text piece as well, reprinting it in the magazine’s anniversary publication alongside soon-to-be classic travel essays by E. B. White, Irwin Shaw, John Steinbeck, and Arthur Miller.40 “Conversation in Budapest” achieved what Holiday editors increasingly wanted: a personal travel account organized around the human-interest angle. As Maria Eisner told Capa, “[The] human interest story is easier to sell, not only to Holiday but generally to all American magazines. There is definitely no interest in big take-outs of let’s say ‘Shoe Industry in Hungary’ . . . we have to face the fact that in general our stories are too big, too serious, and even too good . . . I don’t suggest we give in to them entirely, but still we should make an effort to meet them halfway at least.”41 Capa followed through on her suggestions. His story analyzed the confrontation between the old and new, Communist, way of life with significantly more humor and irony than White’s severe account of Polish bureaucracy.42 Written in the form of a letter, the narrative was also much more personal, continuing the humorous style that Capa employed in his 1947 memoir Slightly Out of Focus. Capa began with a facetious reference to his political TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“Conversation in Budapest,” Holiday (November 1949), 64–65. photos by robert Capa © International Center of photography/ Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

exile from hungary in 1931.43 he then turned to the colorful cast characters that he met: a countess turned bartender who pouts at the camera on the second page of the story, a hospitable collective farmer who loved to give toasts, and an old Jewish friend who ran a fur business. Capa rarely addressed his own Jewishness and did not let that angle overwhelm his Budapest story. Still, Capa’s casual note about his friend showed he did not want readers to forget the recent attempt to annihilate europe’s Jewry: “as only one out of twenty of hungary’s Jews survived the war, I was surprised to see that his name was still above the shop, and even more surprised to find him alive.” With nicknames like Vast the provider and Goro the Builder, local communist leaders came to life as well, with descriptions even more vivid than the pictures that accompanied them. By encouraging contributors to focus on the people they met, Holiday took a cue from general illustrated magazines such as Life, Look, and Saturday Evening Post, whose postwar recovery stories often focused on the struggles of nameless individuals. We may recall that when Seymour offered to document refugees in poland, Saturday Evening Post told him that it much prefers pictures of “housewives marketing . . . kids playing . . . In short, the everyday things that ordinary people do.”44 Holiday editors were known for working closely with professional authors to craft “real” characters who would bring cities to life without veering too far from readers’ preconceived notions about those places.45 they picked 124

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authors who already had a connection to certain places, thereby extending the humaninterest element to include the writer himself. The magazine also wanted its readers to focus on local people when they traveled. In 1949 Capa’s “Conversation in Budapest” was followed by a humorous and entertaining guide to sea travel titled “What Every Traveler Should Know.” The article quickly departed from any practical advice and instead dwelt on the people one could meet during a transatlantic voyage. Readers were told to steer clear of the sports directors who organize recreational activities, and they were given advice on how to deal with the older, wealthier, know-it-all woman who was sure to pull them into endless conversations.46 Following the introduction of the reduced tourist fare on airplanes in 1952, such advice took a more serious, more political tone. A travel guide to Europe devoted an entire chapter to how to engage in “human interest travel,” with tips ranging from how to seek out a foreigner who occupies your profession or shares your hobbies in order to exchange experiences, to how to look at art, design, and architecture as evidence of national character.47 Tourists were told that human-interest travel was not about what to see but how to see it, and that by turning their vacations into ethnographic case studies, the everyday traveler would be more like a foreign correspondent, “whose job it is to size up our friends and neighbors. It is travel with a purpose.” 48 Before the tourist boom took off, Magnum’s photographers modeled “travel with a purpose,” educating readers about postwar history and politics and introducing them to the kinds of the people they would eventually meet. In the 1950s, human-interest reporting became indispensable to the visual culture of tourism that Holiday nurtured and which Magnum photographers supplied. But Magnum also attempted to direct Holiday’s interest in local subjects toward a more serious engagement with ordinary people and their everyday experiences of the postwar world. FROM “PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE” TO GENERATION X

While Capa was traveling through Eastern Europe for Holiday, he was also thinking about Magnum’s future. Magnum seemed to be growing by the day, attracting new photojournalists and expanding its office staff in New York and Paris. As its president, Capa knew that Magnum desperately needed a reserve of capital to support its operations and that single assignments were not enough—even when the client was the high-paying Holiday. In January 1949 Maria Eisner wrote to Cartier-Bresson about Capa’s “latest brilliant idea to get Magnum another world-wide assignment, and the pretext is the close of the first half of our century.”49 Two years earlier, Capa and Ladies’ Home Journal editor John Morris had had their first “brilliant idea” when they recruited photographers to spend a week living with twelve families of farmers. The ambitious project culminated in the yearlong series “People are People the World Over” and it generated significant income for the new agency by employing most of its photographers.50 A new global survey could help Magnum’s finances.51 At the Journal, Morris had had strict control over the layout and politically hopeful but didactic message of TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY


“people are people,” forged in the aftermath of hiroshima and the early onset of the Cold War. For its new series, Magnum wanted to give photographers the freedom to take memorable (rather than formulaic, prescribed) pictures, and to shoot in color. It wanted the story to reflect the photographers’ actual findings about young people’s views on politics and the prospects for another war. hoping to publish the surveys simultaneously in the U.S., england, and Italy, Magnum was committed to making the project relevant to an international readership.52 the agency’s human-interest approach, pitched to magazines in a short proposal, promised to put a face to the midcentury transition through the photographic survey. It began: “the purpose of the project is to explore the problems and aspirations of youth— Generation X—the generation which is now coming of age and on whose shoulders lies the burden of history during the coming half-century.”53 Capitalizing on postwar magazines’ interest in popular sociology, which photographers had experienced when producing “people are people,” Magnum explained that its new photo report would function as an international survey rather than simply illustrating what people around the world looked like. attached to the story proposal was an eight-page questionnaire that photographers would use when interviewing subjects on everything from home life and money to religion, sex, and politics.54 eisner and Capa both anticipated a straightforward and quick turnaround to the project, with photographers shooting their stories in 1949 for a special issue of Look magazine in January 1950—exactly the midpoint of the twentieth century. By drawing attention to 1950 as a historical marker, Magnum joined an impressive cohort of journalists and cultural figures who were grappling with the dawn of the new half-century in newspapers, magazines, films, and books.55 and by aiming to have the feature published precisely at midcentury, Magnum hoped to appeal to magazines’ demand for stories that were current and timely, even when they were not breaking-news coverage. things did not go according to Magnum’s plans. Look editors Daniel Mich and henry ehrlich were interested in the series, but before the sale could be finalized, they left to join the women’s magazine McCall’s. For a nearly a year, Mich pulled Magnum into a maddening process characteristic of the contingent atmosphere of magazine production. McCall’s had recruited the Look editors to improve the publication’s editorial content and photographic quality. Mich likely bought Generation X for McCall’s to show that he could attract reputable photographers to the magazine. In need of money, Magnum agreed to unreasonable deadlines that it could not always meet.56 When the magazine cut Israel and egypt out of the series and requested more neutral subjects rather than the proposed soldiers, political activists, and a prostitute, Magnum tried to be accommodating.57 halfway through the project, the magazine switched course again, asking for new locations and radically political, preferably anti-american, subjects in order to make the series less “documentary” and more “exciting.” refusing to switch course yet again, Magnum walked away from the contract.58 this was a critical moment for the young agency: it had invested hundreds of hours and much of its photographers’ money in a huge story, and it was left without an american 126

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publisher to cover the costs. Many photo histories have villainized the overinvolved magazine editors who dominated otherwise brilliant and independent photographers, forcing them to succumb to instructions.59 But the break between Magnum and McCall’s showed that not enough editorial guidance could be far more detrimental to a group of freelance photographers with limited time and resources. Magnum’s photographers simply could not afford to come back to, or stay longer in, certain locations to reshoot Generation X when McCall’s changed its mind. To save the series, they needed another buyer. Capa took over the story’s postproduction. He selected locations that needed to be “freshened up.” Working with his friend and protégé Ernst Haas, he cut it from ten to three installments and arranged the most exciting, picturesque shots on fewer pages. This, he realized, would not only improve the survey’s visual effect, but would make it easier for magazines to find the space and money to print it.60 “The full package is going to be the biggest job ever done in photography,” wrote an enthused Capa as he neared the end of the editing process, but he still needed the right editorial partner.61 In 1952 he personally sold the story to Ted Patrick of Holiday, and the project finally appeared in print in January 1953.62 HOLIDAY’S YOUTH AND THE WORLD

When “Generation X” made its debut as “Youth and the World,” published in three installments between January and March 1953, four years had passed since its inception. The “Who & Where” page of Holiday’s January 1953 issue, regularly devoted to the life of the magazine, showed an unusual portrait of Robert Capa: cigar in mouth, his brow furrowed. The portrait, placed next to a group shot of Louis Mercier, Frank Zachary, and Roger Angell (the associate editor at Holiday and author of the text accompanying “Youth and the World”), made it seem as though Capa were peering into the Holiday editing room (fig. 51). Rather than showing Capa with his camera and in the act of taking a photograph—a common trope for portraits of photographers—Holiday showed him as the master of a job that usually went undocumented: directing photographers in the field and working with the magazine’s editors to lay out an ambitious photo essay, mock-ups of which were pasted on the walls of their cramped workspace. Readers were told that the 720 hours of writing, layout, and editing that its staff had invested in the project was “the biggest job Holiday had ever faced.”63 They were asked to appreciate the scale of the project as well as the collaborative labor of photo editing that made it possible. The magazine framed each introductory spread of “Youth and the World” with a ribbon of small color portraits of the subjects streaming across a silhouette of the globe, a recurring graphic Holiday used since its inaugural issue. But while Holiday’s first cover asked readers to believe that the magazine could help them get to know the globe by simulating air travel, “Youth and the World” made a more concrete promise: grasping the globe meant meeting the people who live there. Each installment of the Magnum essay featured six youth, printed over a dozen pages and comprised of attractive, large-scale photographs. No subject took up more than three pages, and each photograph offered new visual information about the young person’s life. As TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“Holiday: who and where,” Holiday (January 1953), 25. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

planned, Magnum’s youth (two dozen in all) had professions, hobbies, and aspirations that asserted their individuality while conforming to readers’ expectations about the cultures from which they came. To achieve this photographically, photographers framed their subjects within potentially familiar surroundings. Eve Arnold, who joined Magnum in 1951 as its first female photographer, was assigned to document an American woman for Generation X. She showed Nancy, a medical student, balancing her work with typically American leisure activities: trying on a dress, gardening with her mother, or cheering at a baseball game. In this way the profile served as a commentary on American society and the expanding opportunities for women in the second half of the century. Farther away from home, readers could imagine meeting an Indian dancer who cared for her elderly parents (photographed by Werner Bischof), a London bus ticket collector saving up money to marry her fiancé (Henri Cartier-Bresson), and a budding actress searching for fame in Rome (discovered by David Seymour). But what exactly was “Youth and the World”? In some ways this was a journalistic feature about young people coming of age in the aftermath of the war and therefore a story about postwar reconstruction. Robert Capa’s profile of a German miner and Werner Bischof’s profile of a young Communist in Japan offered insight into the defeated nations of World War II and addressed latent fears among American leaders and the public. Have young Germans learned from their country’s mistakes? Would the Communist wave take hold of Japan? With Magnum, Holiday selected black-and-white photographs that symbolized the young men’s psychological states of isolation and disillusionment. Capa’s young German resembled the disenchanted and apathetic older brother out of Roberto Rossellini’s haunting film Germany Year Zero (1948). Bischof’s “bitter young critic” Goro Suma was shown sitting alone at the bottom of a staircase, his hair disheveled and his contemplative gaze directed away from the camera (fig. 52). The tightness of the frame suggested that he was stifled and lacked a traditional place in society, and in the subsequent images—all in black and white—he was never shown interacting with people in a way that brought on satisfaction or even a smile. Originally envisioned for a general editorial market, Generation X took on a new function when it appeared in Holiday, serving as a promotional campaign for human-interest travel. There were plenty of familiar views, many in color, of Paris by Robert Capa and London by Cartier-Bresson. Readers could glimpse inside the Parisian model’s wardrobe of haute couture, which Americans clamored after, as they followed her from morning coffee to midday fashion shows to late-night parties in “gay Paris” (fig. 53). They could see the cheery image of the red London double-decker bus, which Americans would soon ride in themselves, and revel in the Gothic architecture of the Winchester Cathedral, which, coupled with the advertisements for England featuring other abbeys and castles found in Holiday, “offered a charmingly anachronistic counterpoint to the hard rationality of American modernity” (fig. 54).64 England and France were accommodating tourists again in 1953, and through mini photo essays such as these, Holiday made use of Magnum’s photographic survey to show Europe, finally, as a travel destination. TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“Youth and the World: part II,” Holiday (February 1953), 52–53. © Werner Bischof/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

In blurring the boundaries between editorial analysis, promotion, and human-interest travel, Magnum’s photographs and the research they provided showed that Holiday’s project of encouraging tourism overseas hinged not only on economics but also on helping americans to understand people in other countries. an american thinking of traveling overseas may have looked to the story for answers on how she would be received at a moment when Cold War politics and anti-americanism encouraged many to travel domestically instead. Such geopolitical factors, coupled with the growing comforts of american life, made americans hesitant to leave the U.S. and even led companies such as pan am to launch advertising campaigns consisting of “warm, human stories” and “appealing situations” to convince middle-class families that they were wanted abroad.65 One such pan am advertisement was printed on the inside cover of Life on april 9, 1956 (fig. 55). It showed six smiling faces of people from around the world and asked readers to test their visual and geographic literacy by figuring out their countries of origin. although each person represented a unique culture, profession, and lifestyle, the advertisement assured readers that they were united in their friendliness and that “they all like americans.”66 Unlike the pan am advertisement, Magnum’s project attempted to prepare readers for the kind of people they might meet rather than simply assuring them of young people’s amicability. Some readers picked up on this as well. “Your series on young people in differ130

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“Youth and the World: Part II,” Holiday (February 1953), 58–59. Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography. FIGURE 54 G

“Youth and the World: Part I,” Holiday (January 1953), 94–95. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.


Life (April 9, 1956), inside cover. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

ent parts of the world . . . makes a step forward in travel literature,” wrote one subscriber from New Hampshire. The letter praised the magazine for helping Americans gain better understanding of people in other countries, which might “eventually improve the standing of the United States among foreign countries. The recent wave of anti-Americanism in Europe is compounded by our lack of understanding of Europe and its peoples.” Holiday, according to the reader, was “headed in the right direction.”67 By including this type of comment in the Letters to the Editor section after the series’ conclusion, Holiday editors showed that they too believed Magnum’s series had a direct connection to travel, because it could improve Americans’ knowledge of the world and make them better tourists and better ambassadors of the United States.68 COLD WAR HOLIDAYS?

“Youth and the World” was built on the assumption that photographers (and by extension Holiday readers) should be able to go anywhere they pleased. In the late forties and early fifties, many of the advertisements and editorial features that appeared in Holiday did not simply cultivate wanderlust; they suggested that being fenced in and not allowed to travel was a violation of American identity.69 With money in the bank and mandated vacation time to spend, Americans increasingly bought into the notion that “free time and easy mobility [were] at the heart of citizenship.”70 Messages in government-sponsored and private publications helped propagate this idea. One editorial appearing in Holiday in 1951 was accompanied by an illustration of Americans flying to Europe on a piggy bank covered in international stamps. Proclaiming that readers had the “right to be restless,” it told the story of six couples from Canton, Ohio, who had saved enough for “their first airline journey and their first overseas adventure.” The editorial affirmed that travel was not a symbol of class but could be “everybody’s adventure.”71 Even Robert Capa adopted this rhetoric in his colorful feature on Norway the following year. “For years I have been talking with and taking pictures of kings, peasants, and commissars,” he wrote in Holiday in 1952, “and I have ended up believing that curiosity, plus freedom to travel and low fares, is the closest thing to democracy in our time—so maybe democracy is tourism.”72 In light of this rhetoric, Holiday’s editors made an alarming confession in the third installment of “Youth and the World” when they explained that Yugoslav officials had selected the young people featured in the story shot by Fenno Jacobs. The photographer did not really have full freedom to travel anywhere he pleased and talk to anyone he wanted. As a result of this bureaucratic interference, “their lives therefore may be considered to be the picture of youth which that government wishes the world to see.”73 Magazine editors regularly made decisions about what to include and exclude in their features—indeed, this was the editor’s main professional responsibility—so unveiling this process needed to have a political motivation. It turns out that Magnum’s photographer in Yugoslavia was not the only one who had to deal with government intervention. George and Jinx Rodger had to have their Lebanese university student approved by the government before they could photograph him.74 Jinx noted that the “expressionless” Burhan Jabri was a dull yet purposeful choice TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY


because the Lebanese government did not want them to cover anyone “whose habits, customs, and dress were any different from say a Frenchman or englishman.” an undercover detective accompanied them on the entire photo shoot to make sure they only photographed scenes that made Beirut look like a Western city. Whenever they tried to snap a picture “to make the story look a little bit arab,” Jinx complained in a letter to her parents, it was “quickly snafooed by the officials.”75 Once they were finished with the story, Jinx breathed a sigh of relief: “I hated living in the goldfish bowl under the watchful and wary eyes of the Syrian Gestapo. We couldn’t make a single movement without a ‘shadow’ following behind us. Our rooms were searched, our mail read . . . and of course it was impossible to do the kind of story we had in mind.”76 Holiday editors thus made a conscious choice when they revealed the conditions of working in Yugoslavia rather than Lebanon or any other location. the government’s intervention became Holiday’s opportunity to visually stage a confrontation between the United States and a socialist country in the March 1953 issue. the leading portrait of Milosav Obradovic was shot from below and at a close distance, recalling the favored composition of socialist realist photographers who sought to show their larger-than-life subjects through similar angles (fig. 56). But instead of glorifying this young peasant, Jacobs revealed a bored young man squinting into the bright sun without any heroism. In contrast to Milosav’s unexciting and rather unrevolutionary life—farming on shared land and attending drab party meetings—Jacobs showed the urban Nada Zivkovic working toward a Communist future with zeal (fig. 57). the sequence of her life unfolded with a few telling stereotypes. In one photograph she was shown behind a glass test tube, a symbol of the scientific advancements in the Soviet bloc. In another image, she sits bright-eyed at a Communist party meeting, the walls behind her adorned with portraits of party leaders (fig. 58). the sequence concluded with a full-page color portrait of Nada, shot from the shoulders up. posing in front of busts of tito and Lenin, she takes on the appearance of a sculpture, completing a socialist trinity. For both of these profiles, Holiday exploited the visual cues of Communism and chose images whose composition closely resembled socialist realist propaganda. In so doing, the editors heightened readers’ awareness that Jacobs’s images were produced in and about a country where all cultural production was invested in political ideology. the final installment brought readers home with a striking transition from Yugoslavia to the United States. Nada Zivkovic gave way to the american Marine lieutenant, photographed by ernst haas. readers were told that ted Kostrubala had thought much about “his uneasy world and times,” and that he believed russia and the United States were insincere about their desire for peace. Holiday’s editing choices supported this claim. While the leading photograph of Nada showed her aiming a pistol during shooting practice in the army reserves, the last picture of the entire series showed Kostrubala taking aim with a rifle as he “trains for the hard duties of a young man of the free world in 1953.”77 Neither the weapons carried by the Cold War protagonists nor the editors’ conclusion to the series provided any assurance about the future of the world. “Due to the Iron Curtain there are no young 134

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“Youth and the World: Conclusion,” Holiday (March 1953), 49. © Fenno Jacobs/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.


“Youth and the World: Conclusion,” Holiday (March 1953), 50–51. © Fenno Jacobs/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography. FIGURE 58 G

“Youth and the World: Conclusion,” Holiday (March 1953), 52–53. © Fenno Jacobs/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

people in this story from the nations of the Soviet bloc,” readers were reminded, since the split between Stalin and Tito in 1948 meant that Yugoslavia was not technically part of the Soviet sphere. “Because they are not here, it is difficult to speak with confidence about the chances of peace.”78 “Youth and the World” had allowed Holiday and Magnum to ask serious questions about the world and its people, but the political and social conditions of travel reporting had shaped the parameters of the project. The same could be said of any photographic report, but here Holiday editors brought readers behind the scenes selectively, suggesting that some sections of “Youth and the World” were more transparent (and less ideological) than others. The visual standoff between Zivkovic and Kostrubala was indicative of Holiday’s reporting on socialist countries in the 1950s. A 1953 feature on Yugoslavia beckoned readers: “If you like good food and superb scenery, and don’t mind trains without tracks or the secret police of Yugoslavia, you’ll enjoy your Adventure in Tito-land.” Though it had little to do with Tito himself, the story opened with a close-up portrait of the Socialist leader while the author expounded on his haphazard travels to the Dalmatian coast and frequent run-ins with undercover agents who seized his film.79 A 1955 story titled “Holiday in Russia” proclaimed that the USSR was hosting more foreigners than ever before: it had recently issued forty-two private visas, and the story ironically noted that “even this controlled dribble of tourism may be called progress.”80 Descriptions of the usual sights in Moscow and Leningrad were illustrated with unexceptional black-and-white pictures, interspersed with warnings such as: “in the provinces, the manager of your hotel will, like as not, double as local boss of the MVD [the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which included the secret police].”81 The photographs had none of the intimacy of Cartier-Bresson’s report, snatched up, as we saw in the previous chapter, by Ed Thompson at Life before Holiday’s Ted Patrick could take a look. But it is likely that even Cartier-Bresson’s photographs would not have changed the tone of the story. As not only Holiday but also Look and Readers’ Digest printed stories about the intense surveillance and limited mobility in the Soviet bloc, the magazines used Communist countries as foils for the United States and promoted their own society as exceptionally free.82 “Youth and the World” enabled Holiday to communicate a similar message even though Magnum did not intend it. Capa had become uncomfortable with the political categorization of places that he saw unfolding during the series’ arrangement. “I am more and more convinced that we should mix not only the persons, but the countries, to show more contrast and to show how many different continents and backgrounds can produce the same type of thinking in the same generation,” Capa wrote to Lou Mercier in 1952, advice that was ignored in favor of Holiday’s country-by-country organization.83 Capa wanted the series to focus more on the people as individuals rather than allowing them to stand in for larger American political and economic concerns. He also wanted more emphasis on the young people’s forecasts for the future and their everyday lives, which would allow readers to see their commonalities despite cultural and geographic differences. But the photo agency had only so much influence over a magazine’s editorial process. In Holiday’s final arrangement, TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY


Magnum’s photographs and research allowed readers to see the world organized according to categories that represented america’s relationship to and concerns about the Cold War world.84 “THE BIGGEST JOB EVER DONE IN PHOTOGRAPHY”

From Holiday’s perspective, “Youth and the World” allowed the magazine to promote itself as capable of doing a bit of everything: it could offer globally scaled reporting, show attractive young people with whom readers might identify, expound on contemporary politics and culture, and collaborate with an up-and-coming photo agency representing the bestknown photographers in the world. Holiday was excited to publish more such surveys, and within a few months of the first series’ conclusion, the magazine allocated $25,000 to Magnum for two more Generation series—one on women, which was published in the winter of 1954–55, and one on children, published a year later.85 Magnum’s “Youth and the World” had a tangible effect on Holiday’s editorial policies, encouraging editors to develop more serialized stories in order to keep readers’ interest from issue to issue. In addition to the new Magnum surveys, Holiday instituted a “New World of asia” feature, as well as multipart profiles on international personalities such as the Duke of edinburgh and the Italian conductor arturo toscanini.86 From Magnum’s perspective, “Youth and the World” proved tremendously important for the agency’s finances, reputation, and international system of distribution. It went on to be reprinted in fourteen publications around the world and received a special award from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.87 the project symbolized to Magnum and the larger photographic community that the agency was becoming more effective as an organization, capable of producing complicated, globally scaled projects involving dozens of photographers. In the first major publicity article devoted to Magnum in the american press, John Morris emphasized the agency’s editorial initiative and its ability to partner with clients. he held up “Youth and the World” as proof that Magnum was “attempting to match the ingenuity of its photographers in the field by developing its own editorial projects— preferably in collaboration with editors who are prepared to pay.”88 In that brief moment of excitement, Magnum thought up over a dozen more “Worldaround” projects with spectacular reach, hoping these might become the agency’s trademark: From “a Baby is Born” (on the birthing conditions and feelings of new parents worldwide) and “the Crowned heads” (about royalty) to pictures of religious ceremonies in unconventional places, the famous old and new streets of the biggest cities, “the World’s Finest trains” (intended for Fortune magazine’s business-oriented readers), “the World’s New Wonders,” and “the Seventh Day.” One story idea intended for robert Capa—“famous war photographer looks for peace on earth”—quickly grew to a Magnum-wide effort to search out chances for world peace, from Indochina to the Israeli border.89 Yet Magnum was able to produce only two more such surveys. With each year, Magnum photographers and staff had more customers and less time to devote to highly orches138

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trated projects. Capa’s death in 1954 meant that the primary photographer and businessman pushing his colleagues to undertake such projects was gone. Moreover, the idea that the world could be contained and analyzed in a single editorial feature, no matter how thorough, came to be seen as increasingly naive as the 1950s wore on. The experience of tourism brought magazine readers into contact with new cultures and showed them how different and complicated each place really was. Their new encounters challenged the digestible, world-at-a-glance nature of the first Holiday survey. And as the gun-toting American and Yugoslav in “Youth and the World” suggested, Cold War politics were foiling the travel industry’s utopian hopes for uninhibited global tourism. Richard Popp notes that “tourism was a way to operationalize the One World philosophy” shared by cultural, political, and business leaders in the aftermath of World War II.90 Magnum’s photographic surveys of the world were integral to these efforts. As tourism’s relationship to the One World spirit evolved away from fostering an idealized notion of global camaraderie and toward cultivating segmented markets and travel locations, Magnum’s surveys with Holiday evolved as well. The agency’s later group projects were different in spirit, better suited to Holiday’s fun mood and preference for the “finer things in life.” The surveys began to resemble the more conventional glamorous travel reporting happening in the magazine’s editorial features and its advertising.91 TOURISM OVERTAKES THE EDITORIAL: THE WORLDS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Magnum’s “The World of Women” and “The World of Children” ran in Holiday magazine for three months each, from December 1954 to February 1955, and December 1955 to February 1956, respectively. Like “Youth and the World,” the surveys queried the lives of citizens in “our modern world” but they were more modest in scale: one woman or child was selected to represent each of eleven nations.92 Fewer subjects meant less coordination for Magnum and, because Holiday gave the features the same number of pages as “Youth and the World,” more space for photographs. The women and children series were more visually alluring than the one on youth, with more large-scale portraits, more color, and more small pictures illustrating the subjects’ daily lives. Although the Holiday editors insisted that these surveys were meant to help readers gain an understanding of the world and of other human beings, the people featured in the later series were far from everyday. The “World of Women” included a range of talented and remarkable professionals—doctors, lawyers, and celebrities—as well as nationally known authors, political activists, and even a queen (fig. 59). The editors seemed to revel in their beautiful appearances, choosing many close-ups of their smiling or contemplative faces, with careful attention to the texture of their clothing and intimate domestic surroundings. The “World of Children” was presented as a story to which everyone could relate because of the “bright appeal” of childhood and the “nostalgia” and “curiosity” that it elicited, yet the lives of these children were also far from universal. They came from many more countries that would have seemed exotic to Holiday readers and American travelers, including Lapland, TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“World of Women: part II,” Holiday (January 1955), 60–61. © David Seymour/ Magnum photos. Courtesy of University of Southern California Libraries.

peru, holland, and Uganda. Magnum’s photographers presented the children as picturesque symbols of their cultures. they wore beautifully colored and carefully sewn costumes and often appeared framed by the steppes or mountains in which they lived (fig. 60). With no intention to spoil the good mood, the stories completely overlooked people from the eastern bloc, focusing instead on leading Western nations—especially France, Italy, the United States—and a selection of less frequently visited countries in Latin america, the Middle east, and asia, where photographers had relatively free access even though infrastructure posed its own challenges.93 While still rooted in the human-interest travel genre, much of the historical specificity and political content of “Youth and the World” was absent from these later Magnum projects, which Holiday editors called “essays in human geography.” Unlike traditional geography, which studied topography and national boundaries, human geography (also known as anthropo-geography) referred to the study of people’s relationship to and effect on their physical environment. the term itself was not new in the 1950s, but its employment in Holiday shows that the methodology had made its way into popular culture and the tourism industry, which were now the primary arenas for fueling people’s interest in the globe.94 producing an essay in “human geography” meant working like the photographers and cinematographers who had produced one of the first studies of human geography, albert Kahn’s multimedia Archives de la planète, between 1908 and 1931: embracing a natural curiosity, making observations from real life, noting first impressions, keeping an open eye, showing initiative, and searching out familiar types.95 Consisting of autochromes and film footage, Kahn’s archive was supposed to capture and store how everyday life was changing amid modernization—a “utopian experiment in world memory and modern media,” as paula amad calls it.96 But while Jean Bruhnes, the geographer hired by Kahn to oversee that archi140

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“Children’s World: Part III,” Holiday (February 1956), 98–99. © Cornell Capa/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of University of Southern California Libraries.

val project, asked for images of the everyday that were utterly unlike “the picturesque obviousness cherished by the ‘tourist,’ ” by the 1950s human geography and tourist clichés had become one and the same, at least in Holiday’s imagination.97 Magnum’s photojournalists excelled in anthropo-geographic fieldwork, which was not unlike the experience of travel for which Holiday readers were being prepared. Holiday editors made sure to draw readers’ attention to how these stories were made and again, as with “Youth and the World,” played up the prestige of the “remarkable” Magnum with which the magazine had partnered.98 Behind the scenes, however, these later Generation series took more energy. Magnum staff had to coax the photographers to fulfill the shooting scripts and answer the long questionnaires, which had come to seem a bit too formulaic. Certain photographers resisted the magazine’s prying questions into subjects’ lives. CartierBresson refused to ask nearly a third of the questionnaire, which inquired into how much money a child’s parents made or whether he or she knew any Communists.99 Many of the stories were delivered late or incomplete because of photographers’ changing travel plans and schedules, which were often in flux when news stories arose. The magazine also deflected attention from the constructed and predetermined nature of these surveys. Holiday editors Ted Patrick and Lou Mercier were deeply involved in craftTRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“Children’s World: part I,” Holiday (December 1955), 110–111. © henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum photos.

ing these profiles—in part because Capa was no longer alive to drive the editing process but also because the series now needed to promote the “Holiday mood” more emphatically than “Youth and the World” had done. Mercier offered strict guidelines on story angles: the children’s situation needed to be “basically positive” and “not unpleasant,” reflecting the extent to which the magazine had broken from its late 1940s publication of grim rubble stories. Holiday wanted the children to be “definitely linked to a social significance in his or her country,” but they insisted that the subjects be “rich, or happy, or hopeful, or progressive if not all of these.”100 the editors also suggested recognizable, even clichéd tropes for some of the subjects’ lives, including “a French girl aristocrat in the poor-little-rich girl tradition who represents a vanishing form of culture but one to which the French are tenaciously clinging.”101 It is no surprise, then, that the images that Magnum produced for these later series included scenes that were becoming iconic and that resonated with other articles and advertisements readers could see in Holiday. Cartier-Bresson’s profile of the “petit rat” for “Children’s World” showed the French ballerina-in-training leaving rehearsal at the now recognizable palais Garnier in paris, whose ballet company Holiday had already featured in 1951 (fig. 61). In a photograph on the bottom right of the same page, she was shown having lunch


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with her family at a quintessentially Parisian café, uncannily similar to the one CartierBresson had photographed for the 1953 Holiday issue on Paris. The neighborhoods she visited and the experiences that structured her daily routine were also the ones that appeared in advertisements for her home city. In the same April 1953 issue on Paris, a Pan American ad used three colorful photographs to show that a “Wedding Anniversary in PARIS” was possible with Pan Am’s fast “President” flight overseas (fig. 62). The married couple had wisely flown to France and now had nine glorious days to engage in pastimes not unlike the “Petit Rat”: to drink and people-watch from sidewalk cafés, choose a bouquet at an outdoor flower market near the Notre Dame, and order an exceptional meal from an exceptionally friendly Parisian waiter. While informing readers about people around the world, the women and children series directly helped to sell the experience of travel, showing how in less than a decade Magnum embraced the shift from editorial to travel photography and bridged these two modes in its work for Holiday. Many of the youngsters in “Children’s World” were presented as specimens of their local dress and cultures, including Cornell Capa’s saturated, storybook shots of a boy from Peru captured against the breathtaking landscape of the Andes and Elliott Erwitt’s young cowboy from the Colorado ranchland, outfitted in a recognizably American red plaid shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, and hat. Both Holiday and Magnum recognized that the images and choices of subjects needed to resonate with Americans’ popular associations of a given place, which often came from films, books, and other illustrated magazines that constituted the realm of “popular geography.”102 But Holiday’s requests for popular and stereotypical subjects were unrelenting and sometimes comically uninformed, leading Magnum’s bureau chief in Paris, Margot Shore, to once write to John Morris with anguish: “As for the Holland Chimney Sweep, [which Holiday wants Kryn Taconis to photograph] they exist in Germany only. Which I know, Chim [Magnum’s new president] knows, Kryn [Taconis] knows. Everybody knows but Holiday.”103 Holiday’s off-the-mark insistence on types demonstrated that the magazine was less interested in the subjects’ humanity or the universal appeal of their lives than in presenting them as characters ready for tourists’ consumption. Human geography, which “both Holiday and Magnum believe . . . is the most stimulating form of reporting that can be undertaken in our world of today,” was no abstract geography lesson, but would show American travelers what to expect when they arrived at their destination. It is not surprising, then, that some children in the Magnum series actually worked in their cities’ local tourist industries and could ostensibly meet a Holiday reader-traveler in the near future. Once Holiday accepted that no chimney sweeps could be found in Holland, Kryn Taconis produced a colorful portrait of Wolmoed Jonk instead (fig. 63). The opening portrait of this “old-fashioned Dutch girl” showed her in a lacy cap and a frilly red dress, which she wore like everyone else in her fishing village. Holiday told readers that her town “is an oddity much admired by tourists” and that Wolmoed did not feel the need to travel




Holiday (April 1953), 117. Courtesy of UC Davis Shields Library.


“Children’s World: Part II,” Holiday (January 1956), 98–99. © Kryn Taconis/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

to see the world because “the world comes to see Volendam.”104 Taconis’s snapshot of Wolmoed walking with her mother, shot in black and white and reproduced just to the left of Wolmoed’s portrait, was rudimentary enough to have been taken by a curious foreigner with a camera rather than a professional photographer. If Taconis’s profile suggested a trip to the northern fishing village, Holiday readers also had the option to venture further south to see the Gothic cathedral of Orvieto, where they would very likely meet Roberto Moncelsi. Photographed by David Seymour, Roberto was an industrious little boy who had taught himself multiple languages and who was always the first to greet tour buses and their “camera toting visitors,” Holiday explained (fig. 64). Seymour’s photos show the boy waiting for the arrival of visitors, running to welcome a tour bus, and then gesturing expertly while lecturing a group of tourists. In a picture on the bottom left of the page-spread, Roberto makes a frame with his hands to focus on the details of the Orvieto Cathedral while explaining its history and architecture to a group of monks. His gesture equally suggests a good vantage point through which to take a picture of the fourteenth-century building, and in the other photographs, tourists follow his guidance about where to look and what to see. On the pages of Holiday, the Children series was embedded into a culture of travel with less and less subtlety, going so far as to suggest locations that seemed “off the beaten path”—a fishing village in TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“Children’s World: part II,” Holiday (January 1956), 100–101. © David Seymour/Magnum photos.

holland rather than amsterdam or Orvieto rather than rome. “Off the beaten path” travel was still a decade away for most tourists, but Magnum’s photographers offered a taste of that world.105 THE PHOTOGRAPHER AS EXPERT TRAVELER

the profiles by taconis and Seymour encouraged readers to be on alert for their own snapshots while gesturing toward the multiple roles that Magnum photographers were now playing—namely, reporters, human geographers, and expert travelers. perhaps not surprisingly, Holiday began to promote Magnum photographers as ideal travelers and thus models for readers who wanted to see the world, camera in hand. Such stories emphasized the photographers’ picture-taking strategies and philosophies, and even offered practical advice to readers on how to get the most out of their travel experiences.106 In “the Winter alps,” published in Holiday in January 1951, robert Capa deftly captured blue skies and glistening, snow-topped mountains, as well as skiers in bright (preferably red) outfits who stood out against the alpine background (fig. 65). the task of taking great photographs was a recurring trope in the story. Capa revealed, for instance, that he promised to give skiing lessons to a good-looking american woman if she posed for pictures and that he later found her a pair of multicolored ski pants in a French ski shop that were “just 146

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“The Winter Alps,” Holiday (January 1951), 94–95. Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

right for color photography.” But in the same article, he explained that he would put his camera down for hours or days just to enjoy new places and spend time with new friends. “There is no sadder sight to my eyes than the American tourist who comes to Europe and never sees anything because he puts his camera between himself and the world,” he was quoted as saying.107 Holiday editors helped Capa to make his point in one color page-spread by including a color photograph of a hokey American tourist, holding a camera up to her eye and wearing a coat covered in resort insignia. She served as a warning to American tourists on how not to behave when they went abroad: how not to dress and how not to experience the sights, constantly squinting through a viewfinder. Capa’s advice to readers—which also appeared in the magazine’s short-lived “Holiday Camera” column—ran the gambit of how to become better travelers and truly experience a place instead of simply collecting good snapshots.108 Holiday features by Henri Cartier-Bresson, by contrast, turned the photographer’s theory of the “decisive moment”—canonized in his 1952 photo book of the same name—into a travel philosophy. For the April 1954 special issue on Western Europe, shot entirely by Cartier-Bresson, Holiday editors used language and layout strategies that were remarkably similar to those in The Decisive Moment.109 Cartier-Bresson’s black-and-white pictures were printed in large scale on a white background with minimal text—an uncharacteristic move TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“the Face of europe,” Holiday (January 1954), 32–33. © henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum photos. Courtesy of Magnum Foundation archives.

for a magazine that usually alternated black-and-white with color, resulting in layouts that Magnum critiqued internally for being “jumpy.”110 the leading photograph in his european portfolio took up most of two pages while the extended caption, composed by picture editor Louis Mercier, transported readers into the scene (fig. 66): “the bow of your gondola knifes into a quiet canal in the little Venetian island of torcello. and then, just before you shoot under the ancient bridge, a young girl runs over it and is silhouetted for an instant beside the bare trees and against the bright sky . . . it is only an instant of time, but an instant to remember.”111 addressing the tourist, Mercier’s caption offered a more concrete version of Cartier-Bresson’s poetic definition of the decisive moment: “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”112 Holiday editors suggested that Cartier-Bresson’s ability to capture such scenes as the Venetian canal was also a lesson in how to travel. Mercier proceeded: “the real traveler, like the great artist, learns how to make his instants count, to see with a trained eye the flick of life, the exact moment of significance.”113 Modeling themselves on Cartier-Bresson, readers would ideally learn how to stay alert, identify the significant and the picturesque, and have a camera ready to capture the fleeting moment.114 Most issues of Holiday were filled with advertisements for black-and-white, color, and motion cameras that americans could take on 148

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“World of Women: Part II,” Holiday (January 1955), 56–57. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos.

vacation. Magnum’s features encouraged readers to use them with skill, sophistication, and even reserve, rising above the stereotypical mold of the relentless picture-snapping tourist. The bountiful references to cameras in all of Magnum’s stories spoke to Holiday’s intertwined editorial and commercial agenda. Increasingly, so did the content of their pictures, which resonated directly with the magazine’s advertisements. Generation Women’s Cora Lahorra, for example, a Philippine stewardess who had become a true “cosmopolitan” through her work, appeared in a profile that looked much like Holiday’s “lure” advertisements promoting vacation spots and the airlines that took people there.115 Attending to passengers on flights around the world, the self-sufficient and hardworking Lahorra had picked up eight languages and developed an international network of suitors. George Rodger’s photographs corroborated the story (fig. 67). A large-scale profile shows Lahorra in a strapless bathing suit, its patterning blending into the foliage that surrounds her. As she poses in front of a picturesque waterfall, Lahorra’s gracious and full smile beckons Holiday readers to travel to the lush Philippines. In many ways, her image was quite similar to the ones that appeared in the colorful advertisements for other Pacific islands on adjacent pages. A typical advertisement for Hawaii from the October 1950 issue functioned like the page of a scrapbook, combining seven photographic snapshots of a young woman’s vacation (fig. 68). In the largest image, TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



Holiday (October 1950). Courtesy of UC Davis Shields Library.

she wears a bathing suit similar to Lahorra’s and leans against a tree overlooking the ocean. In the other pictures, she takes part in quintessential Hawaii experiences: being greeted by a surfer, adorned with lei, and taking part in a luau. The remaining scenes are ones she may have photographed herself, including a stretch of beach in Waikiki with a view of Diamond Head in background and a portrait of three hula dancers performing on the sand. Such advertisements prepared reader-travelers for the attractive and real sights that they would see as much as they anticipated the photographic opportunities that would be available to them. Moreover, since the Generation Women protagonist was a real person rather than a nameless model (as in the case of the Hawaii advertisement), Rodger’s images suggested that Holiday readers could be waited on by Lahorra on their next international flight or meet countless other stewardesses whose charm would be a welcome start to their next vacation. This was an editorial feature grounded in reality, and it enticed readers with the real possibility of exotic travel. A CONFLUENCE OF BUSINESS INTERESTS

Magnum’s later surveys for Holiday were also a testament to how the work and lives of its photographers had changed since the agency’s founding in 1947. Both the women and children series featured well-known or otherwise important figures who were instrumental to photographers’ industrial assignments, which was a growing market for Magnum by the time these stories were published. David Seymour had crossed paths with the queen of Greece after World War II when he was sent to the region by UNESCO to document international aid efforts in the region, and again in 1953 when he covered the earthquake in Greece. When the Holiday assignment materialized, he already had contacts in her government and in Athens, and he used them to set up the photo shoot and to interview the queen using the Holiday questionnaire (fig. 57).116 While Seymour specialized in stories for relief agencies, George Rodger worked for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey’s illustrated magazine, The Lamp, throughout Africa and the Middle East. Through the company’s connections with local political leaders and its ability to finance months-long expeditions, Rodger gained access to subjects such as the young Emmanuel Rwahwire, a child of a royal court in Central Africa who became one of the protagonists in the World of Children (fig. 69).117 Just as some industrial assignments helped photographers find the right subjects for the Generation series, Magnum’s work on film sets—which accounted for around 10 percent of business in the first decade of operations—was almost indistinguishable from the demands of the Holiday profiles. Sometimes the assignments overlapped: David Seymour’s photographs of the Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, published in the second installment of the “World of Women,” were actually made when he was already working on the set of “The Woman of Rome.” The final selection of images, as well as the exceedingly short text that accompanies them, shows that the Generation project was added on to Seymour’s promotional work and was made possible by a few extra shots, such as Lollobrigida at breakfast with her husband (fig. 70). That picture accompanied more typical celebrity pictures of the actress with her TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY



“Children’s World: part I,” Holiday (December 1955), 114–115. © George rodger/Magnum photos. Courtesy of Magnum Foundation archives.

stylist, discussing a script, or surrounded by her fans. the large-scale color portrait, which focused the reader’s attention on Lollobrigida’s busty figure and bright red blouse, resembled the kinds of photographs of celebrities on set that Magnum photographers regularly shot for general weeklies including Picture Post, Look, and Paris Match.118 In Holiday, Lollobrigida’s profile was loosely suited to the Generation series. at the same time, it presented Italy as the home of a glamorous and growing film industry featuring attractive female leads with undeniable sex appeal.119 this concept had already appeared a year earlier in the magazine’s entertainment column, which was devoted to the popularization of Italian films in america. there, the Holiday writer summed up the message that was buried within the Generation Women profile: “the truck driver, not just the esthete, can smack his lips over the ellipsoidal charms of Gina Lollobrigida.” Just as Italian cinema went from being the domain of the cultural elite to becoming “familiar and important” among a range of american viewers, so too had pictures of stars in real scenarios at home and at work helped transform actors into popular cultural icons.120 the women and children profiles sprung from Magnum’s and Holiday’s shared interest in the world but were also infused with the increasing glamour found in other Holiday travel profiles—including Capa’s and Cartier-Bresson’s photographic stories from europe—as well as the lure of destination advertisements, which were themselves turning to photography 152

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“World of Women: Part III,” Holiday (February 1955), 90–91. © David Seymour/ Magnum Photos.

to draw in readers. Both projects showed how the genre of the global photographic survey, and by extension Magnum, were adapting to the demands of Holiday. By the mid-1950s, the agency’s surveys were no longer asking how people had dealt with World War II and its aftermath; they were now part of an elaborate and well-established media environment that encouraged tourism. Even after Robert Capa’s death in 1954 and the end of the Magnum-wide global surveys, Holiday remained central to the agency’s business. In 1957 Morris noted that it was one of the agency’s top four magazine clients. (The others were Life, Fortune, and the New York Times magazine.121) Holiday printed 93 pages of Magnum work in 1959 and 150 pages the following year, even more than Life, which published 116 pages.122 In the early 1960s, however, financial troubles and faltering leadership at Holiday signaled the beginning of the end for the magazine. Frank Zachary and Lou Mercier resigned soon after Ted Patrick’s death in 1963, and the magazine finally closed in 1977.123 Yet the changes at Curtis did not really affect Magnum because the agency already had other clients lined up. If in the late forties Holiday enabled Magnum to do the kind of postwar reporting that not many other magazines would buy, by the late 1950s Magnum found that corporate clients were even better suited than Holiday to fund photographers’ travels. Private companies and advertising agencies wanted the same kind of human-interest reporting that Magnum had learned to excel in, partly through its work with the travel publication. As George Rodger’s and David Seymour’s contributions to the worlds of women and children showed, corporate assignments were already overlapping with their work for Holiday. The next chapter therefore turns to Magnum’s publicity work for international corporations and the rise of advertising at the agency, examining how Magnum’s photojournalism shaped the aesthetics of global capitalism in the postwar world. TRAVELING FOR HOLIDAY




Life published “Birth Pangs at Detroit for a New Economy Car,” a photo essay shot by then-Magnum president Cornell Capa and underwritten by the Ford Motor Company.1 For three months Capa had documented Ford engineers in the boardroom and on the assembly line as they worked to launch the Ford Falcon, which promised to be America’s smallest, most fuel-efficient economy-sized car to date. Cornell Capa was an experienced photojournalist who had been a Life staffer before joining Magnum in 1954 after the death of his older brother Robert Capa. His story took readers from the car’s inception to its test drive on a Colorado road. It brought viewers into the engineers’ exhausting group deliberations (fig. 71) and communicated the excitement of younger team members as they peered under the hood and into the body of the new model (fig. 72). Visually the photo essay contained all of the hallmarks of a Life editorial feature, including group and individual portraits; action shots demonstrating physical and psychological activity; intimate close-ups to emphasize practical or symbolic details; repetitive compositions that built a mood; and a large-scale photograph HE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1959,



“Birth pangs at Detroit for a New economy Car,” Life (September 14, 1959), 158–159. © Cornell Capa/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

demonstrating the setting of the action.2 In the process, the picture story demonstrated Ford’s human capital as well as the company’s creativity and serious work ethic. three weeks later, the New York Times ran a special illustrated supplement with its own version of the photo essay, which Magnum staff had hurriedly laid out across eight pages with the blessing of Ford’s public relations manager. the day before the Times feature hit the stands, John Morris sent around a memo to Magnum’s friends and clients telling them to look for the Detroit story the next morning. Cornell’s feature was proof that corporations could benefit from Magnum’s “photojournalistic thinking.” Morris explained: “Magnum is first and foremost a journalistic organization, devoted to covering world history. and history is made by People—from Khrushchev to Marilyn Monroe to the previously anonymous FOrD [sic] engineers.”3 the executive editor realized that the Ford supplement was excellent publicity for the car company as well as the photo agency itself. On the one hand, it showed that Magnum’s human-interest photography and commitment to “sincere reportage” were as well suited to public relations and advertising as to editorial markets. On the other hand, the publication of Capa’s Ford pictures in the New York Times proved that Magnum staff could ensure high visibility for their clients by “utilizing the varied formats afforded by magazines, newspapers, booklets, and advertisements.”4 156

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“Birth Pangs at Detroit for a New Economy Car,” Life (September 14, 1959), 160–161. © Cornell Capa/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

Since its founding, Magnum specialized in photo essays whose protagonists helped readers understand global transformations in culture, politics, and economics. But as photographers surveyed everyday people for Ladies’ Home Journal and Holiday, or showed how the founding of Israel affected Jews and Palestinians, they did not fail to notice the people in business. By the time John Morris’s mailing went out to Magnum’s network, the agency had already accumulated nearly a decade of experience in corporate photography. Its members spent the 1950s shooting dozens of advertising and public relations commissions for airlines, car companies, banks, computer firms, national tourist bureaus, and food distributors around the world, often focused on the employees who made those companies run or the consumers who benefited from their products. Magnum, however, generally acknowledges that its corporate work began in the 1970s, with all-color annual reports for St. Regis, Seagram, and RCA electronics.5 The agency’s timeline asserts that corporate photography came after, and is completely separate from, its press work: a necessary pact with corporate capitalism that photographers had to make once illustrated magazines began to close in the late 1960s and 1970s.6 That story does not address the close visual similarity between ads and news in the 1950s, and it ignores the history of Magnum’s public relations photography altogether. SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS


this chapter looks at a series of exceptionally fruitful and well-documented relationships between Magnum photographers and their corporate clients in the 1950s and early 1960s. Magnum’s european founders and american staff made the transition from news photography to public relations in the early 1950s by working for international film and oil companies in particular. By the end of the decade, the enthusiasm of younger american photographers such as eve arnold and elliott erwitt, coupled with the market savvy of Magnum editor Inge Bondi, steered the agency to advertising work. Its advertising photography for banks, baby products, and electrical appliances was not always shot abroad, but like pr assignments, it exploited the look of the news and for that reason sold even to editorial clients. But if this work was really so abundant and the markets so well developed, why do we know so little about it? Magnum’s corporate photography has been obscured and forgotten both intentionally and by accident. On the one hand, corporate assignments went against the image of itself that Magnum wished to project: an organization of independent photojournalists who followed their interests rather than big money. Morris’s 1959 mailing, with its explicit description of Magnum’s corporate activities, was addressed to the agency’s professional network rather than the general public, who often remained in the dark about these activities. Magnum wanted to admit neither that it needed corporations to fund the photographers’ international travels nor that such clients influenced which stories they covered. On the other hand, Magnum’s early corporate work rarely stayed in a stable category of advertising or public relations. In any given week, the agency’s photographers were asked to make photographs for a variety of contexts. their pictures moved from publicity to ads to news and back again so frequently and so effectively that even photographers began to forget how a project started out and who had first paid for it. Because of the instability of these categories, it is more instructive to think of this work as “corporate news pictures” rather than the more frequently employed term “commercial photography,” since all of Magnum’s work was made for sale and thus always commercial. at the same time, returning to Magnum’s corporate photography is especially helpful for grappling with the contradictory logic inside Magnum—an organization that had served clients’ needs since its inception while promoting itself as a creatively independent, and nearly autonomous, enterprise. PUBLIC RELATIONS, ADVERTISING, AND THE PHOTO AGENCY

Magnum’s entry into corporate work mapped onto larger shifts in public relations and advertising after World War II. established in the nineteenth century, these separate but related industries aimed to promote a company, industry, or government project (in the case of pr), or sell a service or product (in the case of advertising) using all available tools of mass communication. pr and advertising professionals often had their start in journalism, and they recognized that print journalism, radio, and eventually television were “the common carriers of decision-making information.”7 as an umbrella term, pr includes both internal publicity, such as a company magazine or report, and external publicity, which 158

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appears in the mass media in the form of the news without acknowledging that it is a sponsored message. (Cornell Capa’s report, funded by Ford and published by Life, is an excellent example.) Advertising applies to sponsored messages that companies pay to place in a variety of settings, from billboards to magazine pages. Whereas public relations aims to erase the boundary between promotion and reporting in its effort to influence public opinion, advertisements are usually easier to identify because they show or name their product, even when they look like editorial content. Mechanically reproduced images were integral to both public relations and advertising campaigns since the late nineteenth century, when the private sector began commissioning illustrations that spoke directly to the public’s changing concerns amid new developments in business.8 In the postwar period, the rise of corporate management models and increased dependence on computers made people fear that corporations posed a threat to individual and human labor.9 In response, American companies wanted to represent themselves through their human capital, focusing on the individuality of its employees or showing that a company cared about its community. Understanding the power of photo essays, they hired press photographers to document their activities in the style of the news. And they used the very medium of the news—the illustrated magazine—to promote their activities. A similar shift took place in advertising. Long interested in using modern styles of art and design to make their products look new and exciting, advertisers seriously embraced photography between the 1920s and 1940s.10 By the mid-1950s, consumers and advertisers were both ready for a change after more than a decade of happy-go-lucky ads for shiny rocket-cars and colorful kitchen appliances. Advertisers embraced what Thomas Frank calls “anti-advertising: a style which harnessed public mistrust of consumerism . . . to consumerism itself.”11 What could be more unlike the artifice of an advertisement than the gritty realism and interpretative power of photojournalism? Advertisers increasingly called on press photographers to supply images that had little to do with the products that they were promoting.12 Magnum’s office staff, ever on the lookout for new sources of income, stayed abreast of these market changes and studied what publicity and advertising clients wanted. In 1952 New York bureau chief Pat Hagan told photographers that noneditorial clients “expect to see pictures of the kind we publish in Life, Look, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, etc.”13 Those magazines brought Magnum prestige after the war, and as the agency entered the 1950s, Hagan insisted that photographers had to work even harder to succeed in the private sector. That same year, Robert Capa called for an “attack . . . [on Magnum’s] superior attitude about publicity,” and he urged photographers to take advantage of the rising trend for “documentary type” publicity images. There were creative and financial benefits to public relations work. “More often than not, in so-called publicity jobs we can keep far more photographic quality than we can in editorial jobs. Besides and beyond this, they pay, which others do not.”14 By 1957, John Morris would estimate that public relations work paid two to three times more than editorial work; not $100/day but $200–$300/day.15 SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS


Importantly, Capa suggested that companies were actually less likely to dictate how they wanted their activities photographed. Whereas magazine editors supplied photographers with shooting scripts and other instructions to make the pictures suit the magazine’s politics and style, company executives often looked to photographers for creative and aesthetic guidance.16 these intertwined ideas—that industrial assignments offered more editorial freedom than magazine work, and that they allowed photographers to continue working in a journalistic and documentary style—became recurring tropes in Magnum’s correspondence over the 1950s and 1960s.17 photographers’ experiences confirmed that corporate assignments often came with creative freedom and financial security. FROM CINEMA TO CORPORATIONS

Magnum’s work in public relations took off around 1950 when american and european film directors turned to the agency to document movie shoots taking place on location around the world.18 Magnum photographers were often already stationed in the countries where the films were being made and got their assignments through personal connections. During World War II, directors including John huston and anatole Litvak filmed combat alongside the Magnum founders, many of whom also carried moving-image cameras.19 after the war, three of the founders documented film productions: robert Capa photographed the making of Bitter Rice in Spain, David Seymour covered roberto rossellini’s The Flowers of St. Francis in Italy, and henri Cartier-Bresson shot the production of anatole Litvak’s Decision before Dawn in Germany.20 Magnum’s coverage was meant to drum up excitement about the production, which would be released later that year, and to excite audiences about movie settings and celebrities’ involvement.21 Unlike paparazzi photographers, who turned celebrities’ lives into photographic stories, Magnum photographers used the aesthetic of news reporting on the film set, turning cinematic illusion into stories about real people and real places.22 Capa’s work on the set of John huston’s Beat the Devil in ravello, Italy, for instance, became a three-part photo essay in London’s Picture Post showing movie stars and the “most famous and notorious film director” in action (fig. 73).23 each installment revealed new plot developments as the reputable Capa—who received the first byline—followed the crew from tunisia to the beaches of rome. Such stories, of course, also took part in turning Gina Lollobrigida into an international celebrity and glamour icon by bringing her image to non-Italian audiences. In the opening photograph, the “uncrowned queen” of Italian cinema, wearing her signature low-cut, cinch-waisted gown, laughs with costar humphrey Bogart.24 But the adoring onlookers in the background are no less important to the photograph’s communicative power: they are the proof of the excitement in ravello as an international production takes over the town. this kind of pr was very much unlike the movie stills and actor portraits made by “still men” and used as publicity by the studios. Magnum photographers documented the making of a film much as they did assassinations or coronations—that is, as news. as a Magnum contract explained, “the primary function of Magnum photographers is to tell the story of 160

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“New Film Serial: ‘Beat the Devil,’” Picture Post (August 8, 1953), 19–20. Photos by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos.

the motion picture and its production from the standpoint of independent photographic journalists.”25 Indeed, Capa’s story operated on the same principles as postwar editorial features, foregrounding the human-interest element and appealing to readers’ desire to stay up to date about events happening around the world. Magnum’s editorial standards shaped the look of its promotional stories, and they also affected how movie coverage was sold to the press. George Rodger explained the business model: “No editor of a national magazine wants to publish publicity handouts but, if [Magnum] cover[s] the same subject, the probability is we can get it published as a feature story. To any producer, a two-page feature is infinitely more valuable than two pages of advertising space and is only a fraction of the cost,” not to mention that bustling, star-studded film productions were as easy to photograph as weekly features.26 Film companies paid Magnum for the work done by photographers and for the staff’s involvement in editing the movie coverage and distributing it to magazines. Magnum had first distribution rights to those images while motion picture producers had second distribution  and advertising rights, distributing Magnum’s pictures to fan magazines and trade publications. The income Magnum derived from movie productions began to rise in 1952, reaching 8 percent of Magnum’s U.S. income in 1953 and 11.9 percent in 1954. But between 1955 SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS


and 1957, movie production work declined slowly while other kinds of public relations assignments in america began to grow.27 By 1959, industrial assignments made up 16 percent of Magnum’s U.S. income, and advertising was growing as well, already contributing 23.5 percent of the agency’s income that year. as Magnum entered the 1960s, the income that photographers made from public relations and advertising photography surpassed what they made from magazines (i.e., straight editorial photography) by roughly $2500.28 as with the film industry, photographers began to cultivate long-term, personal relationships with company executives.29 Yet this time around, Magnum’s younger and american photographers took the lead, in part because european companies generally lagged behind the U.S. in their use of publicity and advertising photography.30 the photographers who prioritized industrial work in the 1950s included erich hartmann, eve arnold, elliott erwitt, ernst haas, Cornell Capa, and Wayne Miller. as a result of their corporate work, they became Magnum’s top earners, their profits constituting over 60 percent of the agency’s income in 1958.31 they worked for an impressive range of companies, including pillsbury, Columbia records, Corning and Steuben Glass, CBS, United Fruit, tWa, pan american airlines, IBM, General Foods, and the Ford Foundation.32 Largely shot in the U.S., these public relations campaigns targeted american consumers and shareholders. But companies with global operations paid photographers to travel widely for weeks and occasionally months at a time, documenting their activities in a journalistic style. While Magnum’s pictures contributed to the companies’ prestige, corporate commissions also helped photographers to go where they wanted and to brand themselves in industrial and editorial publications. Few relationships demonstrate this better than the one that George rodger cultivated with the american Standard Oil of New Jersey and the French oilfield services company Schlumberger. MAGNUM AND THE STANDARD OIL COMPANY OF NEW JERSEY

Soon after George and Jinx rodger finished their 1952 Middle east travels, a series of recurring physical and mental health issues forced rodger to take a hiatus from photography and Magnum affairs. the photographer had been suffering from debilitating headaches and nervous breakdowns since 1946 when his first wife, Cicely, gave birth to a stillborn and died a few days thereafter. his experiences in World War II also likely contributed to his fragile state. though rodger finally felt strong enough to travel again in late 1955, he knew he could not handle train or airplane travel.33 Driving was fine, however, and thus he set his mind on africa—a part of the world that he and Jinx could traverse in a Land rover. their jeep would need to be stocked with food, water, and camping and photography equipment, and they would need visas and letters of introduction to work in the French and British colonial regions. things were especially complicated this time around because of the political unrest on the borders between French algeria, tunisia, and Libya. Despite the unavoidable challenges, rodger was set on returning to the part of the world that had fascinated him since he photographed it in the 1940s. rodger subscribed to the 162

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colonial fascination with Africa and, like generations of British imperial explorers before him, was drawn to the customs of local communities, which he saw as timeless and beautifully primitive. “My files need replenishing on all phases of the rapidly disappearing tribal Africa,” he told Magnum’s executive editor John Morris.34 Though problematically framed, his knowledge of Africa was extensive and his interest sincere. Rodger understood that the region was changing rapidly. Independence movements challenged Europe’s imperial power in the continent, and industrialization and the role of international corporations were growing. Yet few magazines would see these changes as newsworthy and in need of photographic documentation. Rodger’s earlier trips through Africa resulted in a half dozen or so articles distributed throughout Europe, but with the exception of National Geographic, which bought one large feature on the Nuba community in Sudan, American magazines—which had more money to spend on photography in the 1950s than their European counterparts—had little interest in his work from Africa.35 Rodger did not really want to produce news features anyway. Working in the Middle East in 1951–52, Rodger preferred to work slowly and to spend ample time writing texts to accompany his pictures. He refused to chase headlines by going to the Suez and other places that were, in Capa’s words, “burning.”36 But he knew that the publicity departments of oil companies cared about photographs of Africa and could support his complicated and expensive travels. “So I am feeling around for story possibilities,” he wrote to Morris in December of 1955. “Somewhere in the Sahara there must be a LAMP story.”37 In the 1950s the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (SONJ) became one of Magnum’s most important industrial clients when it began hiring photographers to document its global activities for its company magazine, The Lamp.38 The Lamp was one of nearly six thousand publications that relied on photography and picture stories to represent the interests of a single company, but it was no ordinary house organ.39 The Lamp stood apart for its production quality and for its circulation. Employees and shareholders read The Lamp, but so did politicians, publishers, opinion leaders, and visitors to public libraries across the United States.40 In 1945 the editors of a popular photojournalism textbook called The Lamp “an aristocrat among house organs.” They gave it that status because of the fine quality of its photographs and artwork, “printed on heavy, glazed paper stock, which reproduces both color and black and white with remarkable clarity” and because its experienced editor, “a former picture-story writer on a national magazine” had the budget “to send photographers on distant assignments, even to foreign countries.”41 A typical issue of The Lamp from the late 1940s and 1950s looked much like an issue of Holiday or Fortune, with a cover by a well-known artist and sophisticated layout and design principles that combined drawings, charts, and photographs with text. Portfolios of commissioned art, often watercolors, appeared regularly, printed on thicker paper.42 In addition to ample photographic stories about transportation and highways in the United States, each issue also included at least one photo essay about SONJ’s activities around the world, including South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.43 SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS


the need for the magazine arose during World War II, when SONJ was accused of treason and investigated by a grand jury for its dealings with the German company I. G. Farbenindustrie.44 In response, SONJ poured money into a new public relations department in 1943 and recruited roy Stryker, the former director of the photographic unit of the Farm Security administration, to create an extensive photographic archive documenting the achievements of the oil industry.45 During his seven years at the company, Stryker oversaw the creation of an unprecedented industrial archive of over seventy thousand oil-related photographs.46 Within the public relations department, an extensive publishing program began issuing annual reports, special brochures, and The Lamp. though Stryker was not directly involved in The Lamp, he worked closely with the magazine’s editor edward Sammis and influenced the magazine’s editorial policies. Stryker insisted on hiring excellent photographers who could go into the field with plenty of time and resources to produce comprehensive stories. he also stressed the importance of the human-interest element for SONJ’s photography, instructing photographers to cover “in continuous photo sequences the life and environment of the industry’s people in all aspects.”47 as Ulrich Keller observed, the human-interest element “is what brought together Stryker’s populist views and the goals of industrial giants at Standard Oil—both agreed that the way to document an issue was to humanize it and show its effect on people.”48 Magnum staff agreed that under the editorial leadership of edward Sammis, The Lamp was one of the top industrial publications in the United States, and its photographers accepted multiple assignments from the magazine in the 1950s.49 In 1953 The Lamp hired Werner Bischof, who had joined Magnum in 1949, to document the building of highways in american cities including New York, Boston, Detroit, and Chicago.50 the assignment allowed Bischof to travel to the U.S. for the last time before his unexpected death in 1954, producing a body of work that showed the Swiss photographer’s fascination with the scale and pace of american urban development. three years later, Magnum’s Inge Morath traveled to the Middle east to produce a photographic book on the region with the French publisher robert Delpire. Since the independent venture did not come with financial backing, she arranged for two sources of funding—an extensive assignment from The Lamp on oil drilling in Iran and a story on Iran, Iraq, and Jordan for Holiday magazine.51 that same year, ed Sammis also hired henri Cartier-Bresson to travel down the rhine river, one of the most significant waterways for oil transport. Sammis was aware of the prestige Cartier-Bresson would lend his publication, and he asked the photographer to create the same “documentation of lasting impact” that Cartier-Bresson made for Life in the 1940s that was later featured in his 1952 photo book The Decisive Moment. the French photographer obliged and greatly enjoyed the assignment.52 While the text of “the rhine” focused on concrete facts—tons of oil carried, the owners of various barges—Sammis chose images that purposely showed Cartier-Bresson doing what he did best: catching people up close and unaware of the camera or focusing in on the unexpected shapes and patterns in nature (fig. 74). as Sammis had hoped, Cartier-Bresson succeeded in showing that Standard Oil’s world was also filled with human drama, with “surrealist” scenes, and with decisive moments.53 164

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“The Rhine,” The Lamp (Winter 1956), 9. © Henri CartierBresson/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of Magnum Foundation Archives.

Yet of all the Magnum photographers, George Rodger enjoyed a particularly longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with Ed Sammis—one that has rarely been acknowledged.54 That relationship was mediated by John Morris, who negotiated prices, finalized assignment details, and kept Sammis informed while Rodger, working deep in the desert, was unreachable. Rodger was a terrific fit for The Lamp because of his knowledge of key regions where SONJ was prospecting for oil. His reputation as a traveler, adventurer, and memoirist, which he developed during World War II while on the staff of Life, was no less important for imbuing his Lamp stories with human-interest. Sammis trusted Rodger to take a potentially straightforward assignment—for instance, about a team of geologists looking for oil in the Libyan desert—and turn it into “Desert Search”: a vivid, first-person narrative about returning to the desert for the first time since the 1940s (fig. 75). In that 1957 photo essay, Rodger wrote about traveling roads that were SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS



“Desert Search,” The Lamp (Fall 1957), 18–19. © George rodger/Magnum photos. Courtesy of Magnum Foundation archives.

“rich in wartime memories,” and he described the history, ecology, and political situation in Libya with personal expertise. he also dramatized the geologists’ collaboration with the mine-clearing squads searching for the four million mines planted by the German, British, French, and Italian armies during World War II. “Death still lurks behind the sagebrush and the Sodom apples,” he wrote in one passage, while in another he described the equally dreaded “ghibli—the hot south wind that comes laden with sand from the Sahara. It . . . plays havoc with the nerves of europeans, and sends the thermometer soaring to the dizziest heights recorded anywhere on the continent.”55 Sammis had specifically asked rodger to write up the story in the mode of a “narrative chronicle,” sprinkled with some facts and even more “little personal observations.”56 the editor, in other words, wanted The Lamp story to use the travelogue mode of rodger’s illustrated wartime memoirs, Red Moon Rising (1943) and Desert Journey (1944).57 Based on rodger’s travels through Burma, and then the Sahara and the Middle east as a correspondent for Life, these books focused more on rodger’s personal experiences navigating unfamiliar terrain than on the political or military dimensions of the war.58 rodger was happy to comply with Sammis’s request, giving him a story that, like his earlier writing, painted vivid descriptions of people and landscapes. rodger did such a good job that his photographs often paled in comparison to his lyrical prose. In one picture, he showed a group of men trying to push an esso truck out of a sand dune. Below,


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small black-and-white photographs showed the geologists and minesweepers at work: using their metal detectors and ducking to watch an explosion from a safe distance. On the next page, the crew waited patiently in line to see the ruins of a Roman mausoleum that rose out of the sands. Rodger was afraid that the story’s pictures looked lifeless and staged, which they were. Sammis was not able to send George and Jinx to the Sahara in the spring of 1956 as the Rodgers had hoped because an oil discovery on the Libyan border created a dispute between SONJ prospectors, Libyans, and the French (also looking for oil).59 By the time Sammis approved the assignment, it was the middle of the scorching summer, and most of the SONJ operation was on mandatory hiatus.60 The heat and sandstorms meant that after Libya, George and Jinx would not be able to continue to the Sahara as they had planned, but nurturing their relationship with Sammis was more important. “There is no secret about The Lamp being our favorite magazine and we are happy to work for it any time and anywhere,” Rodger wrote when he dutifully accepted the assignment.61 On the ground, the photographer had no choice but to stage an entire geological expedition, resulting in pictures that seem too good to be true, with their perfectly visible logos and sudden archaeological discoveries. When the story was complete, Rodger wrote to John Morris with anxiety and frustration: “Our little expedition was as authentic as possible, for all purposes it might as well have been the real thing, and remembering Ed’s request . . . we concentrated on how geologists live in the desert, how they get around, etc.—the human angle.”62 But Rodger need not have feared. Sammis was fine with the pictures and happier still with Rodger’s unique point of view. In print, The Lamp told of Rodger’s earlier travels as “a professional photographer and writer” and delighted in the happy coincidence that “Desert Search” gave Rodger the opportunity to return to a part of the world he first encountered during the war.63 Rodger lent the story the human angle that Sammis asked for and brought The Lamp prestige for its association with the photojournalist-explorer. The “Desert Search” story was a worthwhile investment. Over the next two years, support from The Lamp and the French Schlumberger allowed George and Jinx to take two long trips through Africa in their Land Rover. The corporate work paid well and it allowed the Rodgers to produce two extensive color features after, both of which sold to National Geographic. In the spring of 1958, a Lamp assignment about oil transport from Assab to Addis Ababa got the Rodgers to Ethiopia. Afterward they were able to travel through national parks in Kenya and Uganda (then British East Africa) and produce an extensive color feature on wildlife for National Geographic that paid $1,500 (close to $13,000 in 2019 dollars).64 And the year prior, SONJ’s affiliate Esso Française came to the rescue when Schlumberger, which commissioned Rodger to photograph its oil prospecting in the Sahara for a publicity report, could not secure all the visas for the trip. Rodger’s 1957 trip through the Sahara for Schlumberger offers an exceptional opportunity to see how the Magnum photographer worked simultaneously on industrial



and editorial assignments. the corporate assignment provided rodger with an opportunity to work in africa without reporting on the political situation on the ground—something that rodger welcomed given the highly explosive political climate in France surrounding the war in algeria.65 the difficulties he faced challenge any assumptions about the ease or straightforward nature of publicity photography compared to documenting the news. PROMOTING OIL: RODGER IN THE SAHARA FOR STANDARD OIL AND SCHLUMBERGER

In late 1956 the rodgers were in paris for an emergency meeting of Magnum’s board after the sudden death of Magnum president David Seymour in the Suez. While there, they worked with Schlumberger executive Jean riboud, brother of Magnum photographer Marc riboud, to set up an assignment photographing Schlumberger’s expansion and prospecting in the Sahara on behalf of its clients.66 Schlumberger’s business revolved around well logging, a practice used to determine the presence of oil by studying underground geological formations. the company was used to working behind the scenes for large oil drillers, and its public relations department was smaller and less experienced than SONJ’s. the personal connection to Magnum was a boon for the company, which was able to call on Magnum’s photographers and staff to document its activities in africa, the Middle east, and Latin america, and even help lay out their annual reports in the style of illustrated magazines.67 rodger found it even more difficult to work for Schlumberger in the Sahara than for SONJ in Libya, but once again he knew that he needed sponsorship. as the rodgers waited in paris, the company kept changing their schedule and lists of locations to be shot. Internal disagreements between Schlumberger’s publicity and engineering teams meant that the photographer received conflicting messages about what to document and that no one helped him and his wife secure a visa. Luckily, rodger had done plenty of work for SONJ by that point and was able to call on the public relations department of its French affiliate esso, which had someone on staff whose sole job was handling visa problems.68 the weeks of fighting in algeria by that point made the trip dangerous, leading the rodgers to look for a safer route for entering the Sahara through Libya. Finally Schlumberger provided the photographer and his wife military escorts for the trip allowing them to start in algiers, but rodger would not be able to take many pictures on that part of the trip due to a restriction on photography that applied to most foreigners in the conflict zone.69 By the time all of these details were ironed out, months had passed. Once again the rodgers arrived in africa in time for poor weather, including flash floods and sandstorms that temporarily made it impossible to take pictures.70 On the ground, rodger found that Schlumberger offices and oil wells were separated by long, poor roads. travel was difficult. there were also very few engineers, staff, or equipment, and this lull in activity made photographic documentation a challenge. even staging photographs was not as easy as it had


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been with SONJ. Rodger confided in John Morris that Schlumberger’s “set up here is rather scruffy and the Schlumberger engineer who is only temporary anyway, is a most uncolorful character with whom it was quite impossible to stage very much.”71 Yet Rodger delivered on his side of the contract. With the help of Cornell Capa, who laid out the Schlumberger report in the style of an extended photo essay, Rodger’s pictures showed how Schlumberger staff lived and worked in multiple prospecting sites across French West Africa.72 Beginning in a new Schlumberger site in Hassi-Messaoud, the report introduced readers to the personnel who had recently moved into the company’s small but air-conditioned cabins and offices (fig. 76). The faces of the corporation took center stage: the smiling engineer Claude Boyeldieu, who has learned to wash and starch his own shirts; Rene Mathivet, relaxing in his new little domicile with a cigarette and illustrated magazine from back home; and the chain-smoking Hans Putters, who claimed “Schlumberger is tougher” than his service in France’s Foreign Legion, the branch of the army tasked with protecting French colonial interests. The report’s picture sequences and layout techniques came straight from the illustrated press where Rodger and Cornell Capa got their training. While the close-up portraits of engineers and mechanics could have opened a feature in the industry-oriented Fortune, a spread of eight photographs of Colonel d’Auerstadt doing push-ups while balancing a bottle of champagne on his head (fig. 77) recalled Life’s opening slapstick feature “Speaking of Pictures.” (“In the evening there isn’t much distraction,” admitted the publicity report.) Rodger and Capa both worked at giving the publicity booklet visual variety, moving between snapshots of people and the vast spaces of the Sahara. The enthusiastic survey of Schlumberger’s operations made the company look proactive, well staffed, and well equipped—the opposite of what the Rodgers had discovered.73 And while there was no mention of the war in Algeria unfolding at this time, occasional photographs of French Legion outposts, plus numerous references to the Legion in the captions, showed that Schlumberger’s operations were inseparable from the French government’s economic and military control of the region. Rodger fretted and agonized the whole time he was in the Sahara, afraid that his pictures for Schlumberger would not add up to enough and worried that there was nothing else to photograph other than the company’s activities. The trip seemed a poor use of time for a Magnum photographer, who always needed to work on side stories. But things worked out better than he feared. During the two months that he spent driving through the Sahara and photographing the company’s activities, Rodger was also able to produce at least four other stories. One, on oil in the Sahara, was purchased but not published by Life. The Lamp purchased another, about the construction of a new road in the Sahara using Esso Française supplies, which it too never ran. The Rodgers’ biggest success came with a sale to National Geographic, which was as interested in the region as the oil companies that paid Rodger’s way and which encouraged the Rodgers to embrace the story of their own adventure in the Sahara.




“Into the Sahara: Life and Work with Schlumberger,” circa 1958. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos. FIGURE 77 G

“Into the Sahara: Life and Work with Schlumberger,” circa 1958. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos.


Just days after arriving in Algeria, Rodger wrote to National Geographic’s editor Melville Grosvenor proposing to do a story on his and Jinx’s drive through the Sahara. Around since 1888, National Geographic targeted readers who fancied themselves amateur yet sophisticated geographers and armchair travelers, and its educational and entertaining content was tailored to its aspirational, mostly white, middle-class, and relatively conservative audience. High-quality color photographs were the centerpiece of the magazine since the 1910s, supplied predominantly by independent photographers whose images were simultaneously ethnographic, photojournalistic, and artistic.74 As numerous scholars have shown, National Geographic’s representations of “benevolent colonizers” and “primitive natives” reinforced a narrowly Western imperialist view of the world.75 The fervently patriotic American magazine also had a strict editorial policy of not publishing anything that could be perceived as bad news. It shunned images of suffering from what was then known as the “third world” and published no stories on Communist countries between 1945 and 1959.76 But working for National Geographic required that photographers do more than travel the world and adhere to its editorial politics. They also needed to become the expert protagonists of their own stories, leading readers through unparalleled adventures. In 1956 Rodger had failed to sell the magazine a Middle East story because his images were too impersonal and had focused on sites more than people. As an editor told Jinx, “We would like to see more pictures of the people with whom you came into contact—possibly gathered around your Land Rover, you talking or bartering with people in their native dress, etc.”77 Like Sammis at The Lamp, who asked for Rodger’s personal impressions, National Geographic wanted to see the photographer and his wife as they traveled. Since the 1920s, the magazine had encouraged husband-and-wife teams to turn the cameras on themselves and describe what happened to gender norms, marriages, and housekeeping in various exotic locales—a trope that Stephanie Hawkins named the magazine’s “jungle housekeeping” genre.78 Writing from the Sahara, Rodger showed that he had gotten the message. “We are being much more personal this time,” he promised Grosvenor, “and are shooting our own experiences in color—how we live, whom we meet, etc.”79 Jinx, for her part, was writing up a first-person account. The industrial activity that Rodger saw and photographed in the Sahara—the French prospecting, the road-building by American and European companies, and mineral exploration—became the background to the collaborative story that he and Jinx sold to the magazine. With text by Jinx and photographs by Rodger, “Sand in My Eyes” showed readers how the couple made the Sahara their home (fig. 78). Jinx adopted a chatty tone, underplaying her husband’s very real dependence on her given his physical and emotional ailments. She began instead with his World War II adventures in the Sahara. “I went along as ballast,” she explained. “Besides, I had a curiosity about the Sahara. Was it really so hot, so full of sand . . . so beautiful?”80 Jinx quickly turned to what it was like for her and George to live SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS



“Sand in My eyes,” National Geographic (May 1958), 664–665. © George rodger/Magnum photos.

in the desert for ninety days. She included lists of the supplies they carried in their jeep, explained the proper attire for the desert heat, and provided vivid explanations of setting up camp and having tea and meals with locals. the Kodachrome and black-andwhite photographs selected by National Geographic served as the perfect counterpart to her text (fig. 79). In the second page-spread of the article, Jinx sat at the center of their campsite, surrounded by the suitcases, sleeping bags, and other supplies that she would pack into the back of their jeep. On the bottom right, a smaller photograph showed the smiling husband and wife team sitting cross-legged on a rug, watching as their host pours them tea. the photographer appeared in many of the frames, showing that Jinx operated his cameras on multiple occasions. In one well-composed picture, he stands off to the side under a row of bright red arches at the red Oasis hotel, showing off his desert outfit of loose-fitting trousers and leather sandals (fig. 80). Jinx also caught George outside of their jeep during a sandstorm that erased all of his surroundings and forced him to walk blind, arms raised to shield his face (fig. 81). the black-and-white image so well encapsulated the treacherous climate that it appeared in both Schlumberger’s report and National Geographic, where it was paired with a towering sand dune, its surface pristinely smooth save for the few giant ridges caused by the slicing wind. 172

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“Sand in My Eyes,” National Geographic (May 1958), 668–669. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos.

Although Jinx did not mention the oil companies that gave her and George access to the desert and the protection of military convoys, the corporate nature of their Sahara assignment was hiding in plain sight. In one photograph, armed guards surround the Rodgers’ jeep while others, as Jinx explained, scouted for potential fighters in the hilltops. Other pictures showed Schlumberger’s “French crews” and “Sahara oilmen,” as Jinx called them, at work (fig. 82). One page-spread focused entirely on oil drillers, showing them in their camps and working the giant drilling rigs that rise out of the desert landscape. At the same time, National Geographic offered Jinx and George the opportunity to reflect on many of the challenges they faced that Schlumberger’s publicity report could never accommodate. “Shortage of pipelines, roads, and railroads results in some wellheads standing capped and idle. Existing routes, threatened by sabotage, require heavy guard,” Jinx Rodger explained to American readers. The war in Algeria was part and parcel of the story too. Although Magnum photographer Marc Riboud later claimed that “everyone” at Magnum opposed the conflict, neither of the Rodgers addressed its political or moral dimensions in their reporting. The situation showed how at times, commercial work could fit more comfortably with Magnum’s activities than some types of news reporting. Rodger’s letters to Magnum colleagues described the Algerian “rebels” and “guerillas” as mere inconveniences that threatened to delay their trip.81 In SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS



“Sand in My Eyes,” National Geographic (May 1958), 692–693. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos. FIGURE 81 G

“Sand in My Eyes,” National Geographic (May 1958), 684–685. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos.


“Sand in My Eyes,” National Geographic (May 1958), 674–675. © George Rodger/Magnum Photos.

her article, Jinx avoided discussing the mounting, and very specific, Algerian resistance to French rule. Instead she employed terms such as “sabotage” and focused on how she and George navigated through a stretch of rebel territory without their guards—the letters “USA” spelled out on their jeep in black tape and an American flag, supplied by Magnum, flying above, so that they would not be mistaken for a French military convoy. This approach sat well with National Geographic, which liked to stay away from the details of colonization and postwar independence movements.82 Certainly, the Rodgers were trying to protect Magnum, not manufacture an intentionally deceitful report. “Sand in My Eyes” was the most Rodger felt he and Jinx could do given the highly explosive climate in France at the start of the war, when any reporting perceived as anti-French threatened to harm Magnum’s Paris office and its French photographers. Rodger feared repercussions so much that a few months later he voted in favor of not distributing a sympathetic photo essay on the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) by Magnum’s Kryn Taconis. The incident has become legendary as Magnum’s first major instance of self-censorship, and it ultimately led to Taconis’s resignation.83 Writing to then Magnum president Cornell Capa, George Rodger reflected on what prompted him to hold back the pictures. “Of course we do emphasize freedom in Magnum. . . . But freedom is a loose word . . . Kryn was bowled over by the big talk of the propagandists in Cairo and he fell SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS


for it without ever looking ahead to the consequences.”84 though a few years earlier, rodger had become invested in the story of the palestinian refugees—one that he felt was just and honest but that was being suppressed by the international press—he now critiqued taconis for being similarly moved by the story of the FLN. as he tried to protect Magnum, the founding photographer upheld the imperial status quo in France just as, reporting from refugee camps in Jordan, he had lamented the decline of British power in the Middle east. By standing up for his French colleagues and what he felt was the future of Magnum’s business, rodger complicated Magnum’s reputation as bastion of “engaged” or “concerned” photography, but not in the way one might imagine. In the case of North africa circa 1956, promoting oil prospecting and working for National Geographic offered a safer bet for the agency than taking a stance on the war.85 Both the agency and the magazine were thrilled with the rodgers’ Sahara report, which paid handsomely, allowing the rodgers to offset the Sahara expenses that Schlumberger could not cover. Jinx’s text alone brought in $1,500 (over $13,000 in 2019 dollars).86 the story also seemed to open the doors to other Magnum assignments at the magazine. Magnum photographer Brian Brake told the rodgers that “Magnum is showing the way at National Geographic at the moment and we’ve got to keep it up. they are trying to move away from their old style and you can see it—look at the lead pix in your own story— wonderful use of a picture.”87 referring to the opening portrait in “Sand in My eyes,” Brake appreciated the clever play between the story’s title and National Geographic’s choice to reproduce rodger’s close-up portrait of a tuareg man, his head wrapped entirely except for the sliver left open for his eyes. he also sensed that the rodgers’ partnership gave them an added advantage: “I think there will be a lot more work for the two of you. they like the team.”88 In a ripple effect of success, the Schlumberger assignment that beget the National Geographic article promised to beget more corporate sponsors. the Land rover Company in particular was thrilled about the free promotion in “Sand in My eyes,” where one of their vehicles popped up in five photographs and became a third protagonist in the text. Within days of the article’s publication, Land rover purchased a series of rodger’s photographs for their promotional campaigns and began to think about sending him on a new trip through africa in their latest model.89 although the car campaign never materialized, the rodgers featured their Land rover prominently again the following year in their National Geographic story “elephants have the right of Way,” on wildlife in British east africa. rodger was not the only Magnum photographer for whom corporate sponsorship opened doors and fostered larger projects that traveled easily between industrial and editorial contexts. the German-Jewish erich hartmann, who joined Magnum in 1952, embraced public relations photography from the start and became one of the leading industrial photographers at the agency. While shooting an annual report for the pillsbury Company, he was inspired to undertake a nearly decade-long documentary project about bread production around the world. his efforts culminated in a 1962 exhibition and book titled Our Daily Bread, edited and curated by the photographer with captions and text by his wife, ruth hartmann, and underwriting from his supporters at pillsbury. But while Our Daily Bread is now considered one of the most important projects of hartmann’s career, few know about rodger’s work from the same years.90 176

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That disparity hinges partly on the ease with which Hartmann’s pictures can be read within what has become accepted as Magnum’s humanist style, whereas Rodger’s pictures from the 1950s do not always fit that mold. Black-and-white portraits of farmers harvesting wheat, scenes of families breaking bread at the dinner table—these are the kind of images Hartmann made around the world with the help of Pillsbury, and they sit comfortably with our conception of the universalist, “family of man” mode of picturing that Magnum’s photographers engaged in after World War II.91 It is less clear how to interpret Rodger’s sometimes stiff photographs of Esso geologists and Schlumberger engineers or even his brilliant color landscapes of the Sahara. But simply contrasting the contents of Hartmann’s and Rodger’s pictures shows how much we miss when we do not account for the production histories behind those photographs. We likewise get an incomplete picture if we do not inquire how different photographers’ activities fit into Magnum’s history as an organization, or when we fail to ask who, other than the photographer, enabled the creation of those pictures. As we will see below, Jinx Rodger was not the only woman who played a critical role in the agency. THE AD WOMAN OF MAGNUM

Once Magnum’s public relations work began to grow in the 1950s, advertising was just around the corner. Its advertising sales were straightforward at first, with advertisers simply asking the agency to repurpose editorial photographs from its files. The answer was generally yes, and it made Magnum staff realize that advertisers were shifting toward the realistic, newsy aesthetic in which its photographers excelled.92 Seeing the advertising potential in its editorial files as early as 1956, Magnum hired a dedicated staff person, Sam Holmes, to organize its picture archives to better suit advertisers’ needs. Advertisers paid more for color than black and white, so from 1956 to 1959, Sam Holmes inventoried all of Magnum’s color stories and organized them by subject matter.93 In the meantime, a separate staff member handled picture requests from advertisers, receiving dozens of calls each week.94 Yet the agency could make only so much money from secondary sales. To really succeed in advertising, it needed to get photographers assigned to a campaign from the beginning. The photographers who cultivated their own relationships with corporate clients and advertisers received the most assignments. Elliott Erwitt, who had joined Magnum in 1953, was especially good at befriending ad agency art directors and showed the most interest in this kind of work.95 He quickly became Magnum’s top advertising photographer with clients that included the French Government Tourist Office (represented by the ad agency Doyle, Dane, and Bernbach), Puerto Rico (Ogilvy, Benson and Mather) and Chrysler (McCannErickson).96 Erwitt was followed closely by Eve Arnold, who became affiliated with Magnum in 1951 and shot advertisements for the N. W. Ayer and Son agency, Simplicity Patterns (Grey Advertising Agency), Dupont, and the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Eli Lilly.97 While the advertisements themselves have mostly been lost or forgotten, Magnum’s weekly memos, reports, and logs point to a flurry of activity behind the scenes on the part of its photographers and especially one Magnum staff member, Inge Bondi. From an organizational perspective, she was as essential to Magnum’s advertising work as Magnum’s executive SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS


editor John Morris was to its editorial activities. the difference was that while Morris cultivated a market that photographers intended to work with from the beginning, Bondi helped steer the cooperative into a new and highly lucrative sphere of the picture business. Understanding her efforts alone shows how much Magnum knew about advertising early on. hired as a secretary in 1950, the young Inge Bondi had developed close relationships with the first generation of Magnum photographers, including robert Capa, David Seymour, ernst haas, and elliott erwitt.98 Like them, she was european-born and Jewish, and had recently adopted New York as her new home. robert Capa was the first to take on Bondi as a protégé, helping her learn how magazines work and keeping her involved in Magnum’s finances as well as its editorial projects. With his support, Bondi enrolled in alexey Brodovitch’s design laboratory at the New School for Social research, where photographers learned to document life from unexpected vantage points and compose pictures specifically for the magazine page.99 She learned to edit film by working with the photographers ernst haas and Werner Bischof, who, like her, spoke German.100 When John Morris became Magnum’s executive editor in 1953, Bondi began to assist him with editing and selling Magnum photographers’ work and increasingly dealt with magazine clients herself. Yet she found that Magnum’s european photographers did more to empower her than the agency’s american editor. after Capa’s death in 1954, Magnum’s new president, David Seymour, asked Bondi to handle Magnum’s business with Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, sensing that her gender and background made her well suited to working with the magazines’ prominent european art directors Brodovitch and alexander Liberman.101 Bondi handled the accounts into the 1960s, selling Brodovitch Seymour’s stories on the filming of Mike todd’s Around the World in 80 Days and Stanley Donen’s Funny Face.102 In 1955 she also became Magnum’s secretary treasurer. the responsibility of overseeing Magnum’s finances inspired her to find new ways to grow the organization’s severely limited operating budget and capital reserve. While John Morris was skeptical about advertising for much of the 1950s—questioning whether Magnum could ever make enough money from the field and whether it could hold onto its editorial integrity in the process—Bondi, with Cornell Capa’s encouragement, dove in.103 along the way, she also became responsible for Magnum’s print sales and museum and gallery work. By 1958 she was a Magnum stockholder with a new title: editor of exhibitions, special projects, and advertising. advertising was, notoriously, a man’s industry, where women were hired mostly to work on campaigns and products targeting their sex.104 Such gender divisions did not apply at Magnum, however, where Bondi took the reins of the advertising market writ large. In her new role, she mingled at the art Directors’ Club in New York and regularly called on three dozen art directors to talk about campaigns and assignments. another four hundred art directors heard from Bondi via her Magnum publicity mailings, which extolled photographers’ recent advertising and industrial commissions and often resulted in new assignments. Bondi was a matchmaker as well as a liaison. She organized cocktail parties so that art directors could talk to photographers face-to-face about the requirements of advertising pho-


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tography, and she placed articles on Magnum’s advertising activities in industry publications so that advertisers knew they could approach Magnum with assignments. Wherever she went, from Zurich to Indianapolis, she talked to young photographers and established art directors about the work of Magnum’s photographers. Bondi’s radio interviews and lectures focused especially on how photographers balanced editorial and advertising assignments and how advertisers were influenced by photojournalism.105 The talks were promotional, yet their content is instructive. Magnum was thinking seriously about the creative challenges of advertising photography while many in the photography business still felt that advertising demanded artifice, staging, and other strategies that contradicted the spontaneous and candid reporting of photojournalism. In an interview with Alexey Brodovitch published in Print magazine, Bondi picked a fitting interlocutor for tackling advertising and journalism head on. As editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Brodovitch’s pioneering graphic designs featuring bold forms against stark backgrounds infused both the advertisements and editorial content. Far more interested in innovative design than genre, he taught his photography students to shoot creatively and for the printed page regardless of whether they had corporate or journalistic assignments.106 “I don’t see any conflict in sincere reportage about a product or event or any other subject matter,” Brodovitch explained in Print. “How to discover a new language of communication to the audience is the essence of reportage,” and it was equally important in advertising.107 Later that same year, Bondi spoke at the Art Directors’ Club of Indianapolis, where she highlighted some Magnum members who brought their individual styles from editorial work into advertising (fig. 83). One of these was Ernst Haas, whose explorations into color photography were first published in Life as “Images of a Magic City,” and which continued to appear in the magazine over the years.108 Bondi told her audience that Haas’s “motion color seems to talk to us of the future . . . [and] frequently advertisers who wish to give the impression that their product is one of the future approach Haas to give them an application of his motion story to their needs.”109 True to the spirit of Magnum, in which staff worked for photographers and not the other way around, Bondi was determined to let each photographer define his or her own interests and work styles, even while working advertising jobs. “But what is the YOU we are selling?” she asked in one memo targeting Magnum’s older and European photographers who spent almost no time on advertising jobs. “How is your ‘you’ different from the 18 others in Magnum? Why you and not the next guy? (Sometimes I, from the outside, can see the advantages you are not aware of.)”110 She asked photographers to meet with her and think through their individual brands. Even the photographers who were interested in more advertising work were often on the road, however, leaving her to do much of the branding on her own. Working with Sam Holmes and others on the New York staff, she culled photographers’ print and tear-sheet collections and organized them into slick, black binders, beginning with the most recent work. These portfolios were Bondi’s primary sales tools when she met with advertising executives on her own and pitched a photographer for a job.111




advertisement for Inge Bondi’s lecture at the art Directors’ Club of Indianapolis, 1959. Courtesy of Magnum Foundation archives.

In the process, she found that photographers who had worked for Holiday were easier to sell because they had worked in color and shown the “good living, glamour-like material” that art directors liked to see.112 advertisers, especially those representing government tourist bureaus and international banks, now wanted this type of imagery for their clients. It was often Bondi’s job to explain that vision to Magnum’s photographers, just as she had instructed them about shooting for Holiday. Writing to Kryn taconis about a Bank of america advertisement in Beirut, Bondi detailed that the campaign required an “american-looking character . . . dressed according to the climate there. . . . they suggest—at lunch table, or with a cab. a briefcase is a must. . . . the scene of course should be identifiable with Beirut.”113 advertisers often asked for specific camera angles and subjects, but so had magazine editors in their shooting scripts. her instructions to taconis on behalf of Holiday that same year did not sound very different: shoot “especially colorful color—some shot of a good restaurant— people happily eating the local specialty—some aristocracy if at all possible—some pretty girl.”114 Bondi translated each assignment’s particular requirements, but most of all, she reminded photographers that clients mostly wanted “candid reportage,” and that it was a photographer’s job to visually translate the message that advertisers had come up with.115 With Bondi’s proactive efforts, Magnum’s client network grew to include the leading advertising agencies of the day, including J. Walter thompson; Doyle Dane and Bernbach; and Ogilvy, Benson and Mather. a 1959 roster that Bondi casually titled “Some Magnum photographed advertisements and campaigns” listed forty-two separate clients, including four governments, three car companies, two banks, and pepsi Cola.116 the following year, Bondi calculated that Magnum had completed ninety advertisements for twenty-four different accounts.117 there were so many details to coordinate that in the spring of 1960, Magnum’s weekly memos evolved into two logs—one on its editorial work for the magazines, 180

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and one on advertising business, written by Bondi. In the process, Magnum’s advertising revenue had more than doubled, from 12 percent of the agency’s income in 1957 to 27 percent in 1960.118 Bondi, who in 1959 sold $30,000 worth of advertising jobs (the equivalent of $263,000 in 2019), played no small role in that growth.119 Individual photographers benefited from Bondi’s dealings as well. When in 1960 Bankers Trust requested that Cartier-Bresson photograph their new ad campaign in New York City, Bondi found herself in a difficult position. The wholesale bank was looking to attract retail customers—that is, small New York banks and the people who banked with them. CartierBresson did not want the job, but Bondi did not want Magnum to lose the client.120 She thought of Inge Morath—the Austrian photographer who had done little advertising work since joining Magnum in 1953 but who had worked as Cartier-Bresson’s assistant and happened to be in New York. Bondi recalls that she “brought both photographers to Wall Street” and convinced Banker’s Trust to hire Morath instead. The deal worked out. Morath spent the early part of 1960 shooting dozens of advertisements around New York. Her photographs—of a family on the subway and at the Central Park Zoo, of young couples taking in the New York skyline and rushing through Times Square in the rain—had all the spontaneity and human-interest elements that characterized Magnum’s magazine photography. Morath photographed her models (some of them Magnum members, spouses, and staff, all arranged with Bondi’s help) on the move, focusing her camera on their faces while sneaking in just enough of the surroundings to place them undeniably in New York City. That summer, the photographs appeared in full-page ads in the New York Times and the New York Herald Tribune.121 Pleased with the results, Bankers Trust used the pictures time and again: in its 1961 annual report and for a New York guide book published the same year (fig. 84). Titled simply New York and mentioning the Bankers Trust discreetly on the title page and back cover, the book addressed the city’s natives, who had become too wrapped up in the daily grind of their lives to visit New York’s greatest landmarks. New York took them on a tour of the best places in the five boroughs with large photographs courtesy of the “photo-journalist” Inge Morath, who “in 1953 became a full-fledged member of the Magnum Photographic organization.”122 The photo book and the ad campaign from which it resulted was part of a much longer effort to brand New York City as the capital of both business and pleasure, for America and for the world. Bankers Trust wove itself into the fabric of that city and its pretensions.123 Appearing in the wake of a flurry of photo essays and photo books on America shot by notable Europeans (Ernst Haas’s “Images of a Magic City,” Robert Frank’s The Americans), the book also showed that the company had cultural prestige through its association with a European photographer and member of Magnum.124 And it embraced the latest trends in photography, including the photo essay as candid reportage and travelogue. Bankers Trust proved a steady and profitable client for Morath throughout the early 1960s. By hiring her to shoot more annual reports, advertisements, and company portraits, the bank provided the photographer with financial stability at a transitional period in her life, which culminated with her relocation to New York City in 1962.125 And by asking her to explore dozens of New SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS



Select pages from Bankers Trust Company, New York, 1961. © Inge Morath/Magnum Photos. Inge Morath Photographs and Papers. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

York neighborhoods, the account helped cultivate a lifelong interest in a city that Morath photographed until the end of her life.126 For other Magnum photographers, an advertiser’s invitation to photograph a certain subject matter in an editorial style sparked larger documentary projects that morphed into standalone editorial features. As their pictures journeyed from advertising to news and often back into advertising, they demonstrated the close relationship between advertising and journalistic work and between personal and professional interests. FROM ADS TO NEWS AND BACK AGAIN

In February of 1959 an assignment from Compton Advertising brought Eve Arnold into a maternity ward in Port Jefferson, Long Island. The agency’s client Mennen Baby Magic, maker of baby shampoos, lotions, and oils, had recently rolled out an extensive “Ladies in Waiting” campaign, featuring pregnant models and actresses in couture maternity outfits designed especially for Mennen. Be prepared for motherhood, the ad copy advised, by stocking up on the best baby products now. The staged full-page color advertisements ran frequently in the leading magazines, including Life and Good Housekeeping, but it was only a matter of time before the fashion-themed template grew old. Equipped with her blackand-white 35mm camera and 120 roll film Rolleiflex, Arnold approached the advertising problem as an investigative reporter. She started in her own neighborhood hospital, photographing labor scenes and the first minutes of newborns’ lives, when nurses took measurements, checked for vital signs, and—crucially—replaced babies’ vernix coating with Mennen’s specially formulated Baby Magic cream. For advertising purposes, the whole story needed to be summed up in a single photograph that could be reproduced with advertising copy. Arnold’s prints from Port Jefferson show that she focused on the nurses’ hands as they cleaned babies’ heads and faces, a glass gallon of Baby Magic positioned strategically in the background (fig. 85). But the photographer also saw the story through to its completion. She photographed mothers looking on as doctors performed their exams. She caught the scene of a father glimpsing his child for the first time through the hallway glass. And she could not resist the obvious heart-warmers: tiny wrinkled feet and little fingers grasping their mothers’ hands. Later that year, Arnold’s scene of a newborn being held up to its mother made it into a Mennen ad that asked, “The Birthright of Skin Protection: why should it stop at birth?” (fig. 86). Evidently, Compton Advertising found the pictures without the hospital-grade Mennen bottles more compelling, and so did Arnold, who saw in the Mennen ad a bigger documentary challenge: how to photograph the first five minutes of a baby’s life? The ad grew into a feature photo essay that Magnum sold to magazines in the U.S., France, Italy, and Germany.127 Because some of the magazines took their time publishing Arnold’s pictures, those five minutes remained in circulation for nearly five years. The story became one of the best known of her career, second only to her photographs of Marilyn Monroe.128 In an apt summary of the inseparability of Magnum’s advertising and editorial work, the pieces of the original Mennen campaign that crept into each of the photo essay iterations SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS



Working print for Mennen Baby Magic advertising campaign, 1959. © eve arnold/Magnum photos. Yale Collection of american Literature, Beinecke rare Book and Manuscript Library.

did not disturb the human-interest story that arnold had captured (fig. 87). Der Stern led with a double-page photograph of the same mother and child who had appeared in the restrained Mennen ad four years prior, in which only the doctor’s gloved hands gestured toward the hospital environment. Der Stern’s version kept the umbilical cord scissors in the frame and showed the fatigue on the mother’s face. the rest of the essay—by the German journalist eva Windmoller, wife of the soon-to-be Magnum photographer thomas hoepker—analyzed how hospital birth procedures had changed in the country. Life’s iteration of “a Baby’s Momentous First Five Minutes” was far less factual than Der Stern’s, and it appeared at the back of the magazine, reserved for picture-heavy essays with minimal text. Since its launch in 1936, Life had published multiple birth photo essays, beginning with the unprecedented play-by-play “Birth of a Baby” in 1938, which got the magazine banned in thirty-three cities but tremendously helped grow readership.129 In 1955 Magnum’s own Burt Glinn (who joined the agency the same year as arnold) covered childbirth from a father’s perspective in what was, according to Life’s publisher andrew heiskell, one of the magazine’s most memorable photographic essays of the year.130 the subject of birth was not new in 1959, but arnold’s angle was. arnold put the infant at the center, whereas others had focused on the mother or father, and her pictures were intimate without being overly 184

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Life (June 8, 1959), 145. © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.


“Das abenteuer ein Mensch zu werden,” Der Stern (February 1963), 28–29. © eve arnold/Magnum photos. eve arnold papers. Yale Collection of american Literature, Beinecke rare Book and Manuscript Library.

sentimental. arnold could not always get her camera as close to the newborns as she would have liked, but through skillful cropping, her pictures zeroed in on the infant’s features and expressions. Life, through its layout, amplified her interest in the baby’s experience. In one spread, it reproduced the newborn as a vertical centerfold, almost to scale. a page earlier, the baby’s foot showed up crisply in the foreground while the mother turning to look at her child was caught in a dreamy blur (fig. 88). Below, smaller pictures focused in on the infant’s scalp and fingers and erased the extraneous details, including the gallon of Mennen cream. at Magnum, the pictures earned arnold double praise as both editorial and advertising work. the paris bureau editor, Michel Chevalier, called the photo essay a prime example of “a good story, picked, photographed, edited, and distributed with care.” these were the kinds of photo stories, he explained, that sustained Magnum’s editorial income and that helped it earn more per story than any other agency in europe.131 In New York, Inge Bondi saw in it a new way to promote the photographer to future clients. “Make your next baby an arnold baby,” she wrote in a publicity mailing to her advertising network, attaching the Mennen ad for reference.132 While arnold showed that advertising and editorial photography were not mutually exclusive, an advertising campaign seemingly gone awry led elliott erwitt to make the most 186

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“A Baby’s Momentous First Five Minutes,” Life (November 16, 1959), 110–111. © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

famous news photograph of his career and of the Cold War. It happened in the summer of 1959 at the American Exhibition in Moscow—a giant fair organized by the U.S. Information Agency to show off the riches of American culture and make Soviet citizens think twice about their stereotypes of capitalist society.133 The fair included exhibitions of American art and photography (including Edward Steichen’s already famous Family of Man), fashion shows with American models, a multiscreen cinematic feat by Charles and Ray Eames called “Glimpses of America,” and a model American home with all of the latest appliances. Realizing a great promotional opportunity, American companies had lined up to send their toasters and washing machines to Moscow. Magnum, for its part, saw that the expo could yield infinite photographic possibilities, from publicity reports about individual exhibitors that Magnum could sell to the press as news, to advertising pictures for specific products.134 The agency wrote to a slew of companies advertising its services and even temporarily hired John Williams, a former public relations manager from General Dynamics Corporation, to organize Magnum’s Moscow coverage.135 When Elliott Erwitt went to Moscow that summer, he had an assignment to photograph Westinghouse refrigerators, but it is not clear that he succeeded in shooting the campaign or any other advertisements.136 Like his Magnum colleagues—Rodger in the Sahara and SHOOTING FOR CORPORATIONS



“that Famous Debate in Close-Up pictures,” Life (august 3, 1959), 26–27. © elliott erwitt/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

arnold in the delivery room—he knew that there was much more to the story than refrigerators. With his photography permit secured, he turned his camera on Soviet visitors watching the fashion shows and studying displays of consumer goods.137 he was there when richard Nixon stood in an american model kitchen and debated Khrushchev on the advantages of american consumer goods. Working alongside Life staffer howard Sochurek, erwitt snapped close-ups of the debate (fig. 89). Life published both of their pictures on august 3, 1959, pairing a shot of Khrushchev shaking his fist (by Sochurek) with one of Nixon in apparent retaliation (by erwitt). together the photographs gave readers a sense of how the event had unfolded—a sequential layout trick that Life publisher henry Luce encouraged his art directors to employ as frequently as possible.138 another photograph, of Nixon poking his finger in Khrushchev’s chest, became even better known after the 1960 presidential campaign when it was reproduced on buttons and postcards as evidence of Nixon’s ability to stand up to the Soviet Union.139 It eventually became known as an ad, but for a political candidate rather than a refrigerator. erwitt was always honest about the dozens of advertising assignments he took on, including the Westinghouse assignment that took him to Moscow.140 But if there is one


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piece of the story that requires tweaking, it is that Erwitt got the kitchen debate photographs out of sheer luck—a right place, right time trope that he has also retold many times in conjunction with the pictures. The Magnum photographers who turned to publicity and advertising work in the 1950s hardly left their reportorial skills behind. They shot ads and news on the same rolls of film, and they sold some of the same work to corporate and editorial clients. “This is Erwitt Week,” began one Magnum memo, because his story on the Moscow Planetarium and his ads for Puerto Rico and Chase Manhattan Bank had all appeared in the same issue of the New York Times Magazine. But there was more: “On Thursday, Life appeared with Elliott’s Moscow coverage, as did Time. Also, New York Times carried a Life advertisement using one of Elliott’s pictures full-page; and in the same paper, there was another full-page Erwitt ad for Rums of Puerto Rico.”141 REINTERPRETATIONS AMID “COMMERCIALIZATION”

As one of the most productive photographers of his generation, Erwitt was exceptional for the number of advertisements and editorial projects he produced. Yet he was not the only one who juggled a variety of assignments and thought that all of Magnum should diversify its clients. By the middle of the 1960s, the number of public relations and advertising campaigns by Magnum photographers was causing a stir in the photography world and was driving its remaining founders Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger to despair. Unlike Magnum’s New York–based photographers and staff, Cartier-Bresson and Rodger did not want Magnum to expand its operations by taking on more photographers, hiring more office staff, and especially cultivating more high-paying markets. As they advocated for a conservative fiscal policy, Rodger and Cartier-Bresson began to redefine what Magnum was “supposed to be” when it was founded in 1947. In so doing, they signaled the start of a new era in which key myths began to be put into place about the meaning of Magnum and its business. Their rhetoric was frequently at odds with the business savvy that the founders themselves exhibited from the start. Rodger, who eagerly suggested that Willys Jeep cover his very first expedition through Africa in 1948, and who returned to corporate work time and again, insisted that more was not more: “Magnum never set out to be a commercialized profit-making business—any excess of income over expenses it was intended should be absorbed by reducing stockholders’ percentages. . . . It was our object that each of us, standing on a common ground of integrity and human behavior, should have in his work his individual freedom of operation, opinion, and expression.”142 While critiquing Magnum for devoting too much energy to making money, Rodger redefined what it meant to be a Magnum photographer in terms that were more idealistic and emotional than those used in the founding decade. He emphasized integrity and individual freedom over steady employment. In 1962 Cartier-Bresson reminded members that Magnum was established “to allow us, and in fact to oblige us, to bring testimony into our world and contemporaries according to our own abilities and interpretations. . . . I am shocked to see to what extent so many of us are conditioned—almost exclusively by the desires of clients.”143 Claude Cookman has



contextualized such statements as evidence of Cartier-Bresson’s frustration with the growth of consumer society in the U.S. and France as well as the rise of advertising work at Magnum.144 But the real lasting power of his critique is that it denied the market conditions of photojournalism that all of Magnum’s founders navigated and threw themselves into in its first decade. By 1966 Cartier-Bresson became convinced that Magnum photographers were using their membership to gain lucrative assignments. he proposed dividing Magnum into two groups. the larger group would continue to take on commercial work while the smaller group (Mignon was the name he proposed) would work according to the “journalistic ideals of the agency’s founders.”145 When his proposal was not brought to a vote at Magnum’s annual meeting, Cartier-Bresson resigned from the organization.146 elliott erwitt, who became president of Magnum the year Cartier-Bresson left, addressed the arguments by offering his own definition of what Magnum, and the business of photojournalism, had always been and what it should be in the future: “photography . . . Is a commodity—and thus saleable,” he asserted with remarkable clarity.147 “Magnum, while still retaining the high standards set by its founders (for otherwise it would cease to be Magnum, and cease to be saleable as such) has diversified in ways which probably could not have been foreseen by those first 4 pioneers. . . . What interests all these great companies in Magnum is that Magnum is not a group of commercial photographers—it is a group of photographers, or reporters of the human scene.”148 erwitt felt that Magnum had not deviated from its path by taking on advertising and public relations work. those assignments came to Magnum because of what it was, not in spite of it. the new president valued the principles that set it apart from other picture agencies. Magnum fostered the individual interests and talents of its photographers, and it let photographers choose where and how they worked. In a phrase that could have harkened back to Magnum’s earliest work in “people are people the World Over” or its later surveys on life around the world for Holiday, erwitt called Magnum photographers “reporters of the human scene.” But he also recognized that Magnum was a business first. Its foray into new markets was completely in line with the essence of the picture agency and the essence of photography: something readily bought and sold, and not just revered, collected, and displayed. erwitt’s definition lost out to the one offered by Cartier-Bresson. Until his death in 2004, the legendary French photographer frequently went on the record about the deplorable state of contemporary photography and the process of “selling out” at Magnum. Critics and curators often presented the founder’s impassioned views as the defining historical narrative of twentieth-century photography. Cartier-Bresson’s views helped solidify the idea that art and commerce were always at war within Magnum’s operations, and that taking clients’ commissions was a necessary evil if one wished to produce what really mattered: independent projects, including photo books and exhibitions. erwitt, meanwhile, was more laconic. he worked steadily on advertising campaigns while gaining ample prestige in the gallery world for his simultaneous editorial work. By putting the transactions around publicity and advertising center stage, this chapter has offered an alternative way to understand and appreciate Magnum—one that is more 190

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Erwitt and less Cartier-Bresson, more about the business reality and less about the artistic ideal. Money always mattered to the industry and profession of photography. At the same time Cartier-Bresson was not wrong. The artistic ideal needs to be understood as well. In fact, it is impossible to grasp why advertising caused such tension in its day, or why commercial photography was mostly left out of Magnum’s history in subsequent decades, without understanding the image of itself that Magnum promoted. In the next chapter, we will return to the mid-1950s to see how the Magnum brand emerged and how the agency’s projection of itself was often at odds with the material reality in its offices.





and weighing in at nearly four pounds, the 1954 issue of U.S. Camera required a complex table of contents to navigate what its editor, Tom Maloney, had chosen as the most important photographs of the year. The pictures were grouped by photographers’ nationalities (“European,” “International,” and “American”), by topic (“Africa in Color,” “Combat in Korea”), and by genre (“News Pictures”), as well as by one category that refused subservience to the others: “Magnum.” The forty-two-page portfolio had gotten there through the efforts of John Morris, who was in charge of Magnum’s editorial sales and office operations as well as its publicity. This was the agency’s first major promotional effort: an opportunity to introduce its photographers and their images to a captive audience of amateur photographers, photography enthusiasts, and industry professionals.1 Evidently Morris could think of no better image with which to illustrate the essence of Magnum than that anonymous snapshot of Capa, Seymour, and Cartier-Bresson toasting to the liberation of the French capital in 1944 (fig. 90). Morris had had to jostle to get half of his face into the picture, but what did that matter OUR HUNDRED PAGES LONG



“Magnum Photos: An International Cooperative,” US Camera (1954), 110. Author’s collection.

now? He had become the editorial director of the world’s most prestigious photo agency (why else would Magnum have such a long takeout in the annual?), and he would get to tell readers how it all began. “The dictionary defines magnum as a ‘two-quart bottle for spirits,’ and that seemed precisely the word for the container which five spirited photographers sought to fashion for themselves in the spring of 1947.” Morris was three puns in, and he was on a roll. He proceeded to introduce the “motley assortment” of Magnum’s photographers, banking on their international backgrounds, eccentricity, and budding celebrity: An Englishman (George Rodger), formerly a driver of racing cars, who has traveled about as widely as the British Empire permits. . . . A Frenchman (Henri Cartier-Bresson) . . . he wanted to become a painter, instead became one of the world’s great photographers; married to a Javanese dancer. . . . A Swiss (Werner Bischof) who broke away from a career in advertising to become a journalistic photographer; married to a Swiss girl of Hungarian descent who looks very much Japanese. A young Austrian (Ernst Haas) who learned photography in wartime Vienna by diligently studying old copies of Life—and then developed a new style of his own; married to a former Hungarian countess. And two Americans, one (Robert Capa) born in Budapest, the other (David Seymour) born in Warsaw; both are bachelors (but both like girls). . . . Their hope was to eat more regularly in the postwar world.2

Across the ocean, the French cultural critic and semiotician Roland Barthes was getting started on his own magazine writing for a rather different kind of publication, Les Lettres nouvelles, the Parisian literary magazine to which he contributed short and often scathing analyses of popular culture and media between 1954 and 1956. About two dozen of those columns reappeared the next year in Mythologies, a slim volume that preserved some of Barthes’s best-known cultural criticism and articulated his still influential method for identifying and unpacking the meaning of contemporary myths. For Barthes, myths were powerful ideas and phrases circulating in society as if they were natural occurrences. They were the slogans and photographs, the celebrities and advertisements that people consumed daily through the mass media. Unlike language—a system of arbitrary signs and meanings— myths were the products of their historical moment. They thrived on repetition and retelling, and in that process myths deprived their objects of historical specificity and meaning. “Myth does not deny things,” Barthes explained, “on the contrary, its function is to talk about them; simply, it purifies them, it makes them innocent, it gives them a natural and eternal justification, it gives them a clarity which is not that of an explanation but that of a statement of fact.”3 Himself a product of the magazine-saturated postwar years, Barthes saw plain and underlying meanings every time he picked up a copy of Paris Match.4 Such magazines played no small part in mythologizing Cartier-Bresson as the great French reporter, Capa as the MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES


jovial world traveler, and rodger as the bold explorer of barren wilderness. But magazines also canonized lasting mythologies about Magnum as a whole. U.S. Camera shows us a bit of how that happened. Morris’s easy tone and selective descriptions of the Magnum founders shaped decades of Magnum promotion and histories of the agency. each Magnum photographer had a unique set of skills and experiences, but they were united by their cosmopolitanism, adventurousness, and heteronormative masculinity. here too was the canonization of Magnum as a heroic boys’ club. exploited for decades—a 1972 Esquire article on Magnum was titled “the Last happy Band of Brothers”—this label found a comfortable place in postwar society even though Magnum, by that point, included more female photographers and employed more female editors than other agencies.5 and the Liberation photograph was no afterthought. the picture illustrated how far back the founders went, harkening back to the camaraderie of war and the exuberance of beating fascism and tyranny. But what Morris really asked readers to see was that for Magnum’s founders, the agency had been a crazy bet—the consequence of the thrill of finding themselves alive after years of combat. ten years later, the U.S. Camera profile implied, running an agency was as fun and glamorous as knocking back champagne at a Vogue party in paris. It is impossible to understand the history of Magnum without addressing the origins and lasting power of the agency’s foundational mythologies, established via the industry press, photo books, and exhibitions between the early 1950s and 1960s.6 promotional articles such as the one in U.S. Camera were one part of a concerted effort to brand Magnum as an utterly unique enterprise in the photojournalism industry. the idea that the Magnum agency was founded on principle and that financial profit was always supposed to be secondary became common tropes in these years. even more importantly, Magnum promoted the image of the artistic photographer on the hunt for “decisive moments” and the figure of the compassionate, “concerned” photographer serving as a witness to history. all of these narratives had profound effects on how histories of photography and photojournalism were told in subsequent decades. adapted by curators, critics, and historians of photography, Magnum’s labels became central to discussing the stylistic contributions of postwar photographers.7 they deflected attention away from the original contexts in which such “decisive” or “concerned” pictures appeared, and they left little room for considering the contributions of the extensive network of professionals who were involved in the postwar picture economy. When we return to the very specific cultural, historical, and economic contexts in which they were forged, we can better see that Magnum’s myths emerged as solutions to concrete problems. the pace and scale of Magnum’s operations were a challenge for the agency— particularly its small staff, which struggled to keep up with the needs of its clients and its photographers. as early as 1948, the Magnum offices already found it difficult to manage the vast quantity of negatives, prints, captions, and story texts that photographers were producing.8 the situation only worsened over time. the first part of this chapter shows what that meant for the organization’s logistics and sales, and how Magnum’s editors, secretaries, and 196

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picture librarians tried to create better systems for running the agency. But Magnum also needed to attract clients, and it needed to promote itself as an exceptional photo agency. The second part of the chapter turns to how the agency branded itself via a small number of now-iconic photographs and increasingly formulaic definitions of the agency’s principles, purpose, and photographic style. Magnum’s internal and rather mundane problems were far from irrelevant. They were the background against which its mythologies were crafted, monetized, and institutionalized. PROJECTING AN IMAGE OF A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION

The year before Magnum hired John Morris, Robert Capa had already instructed Magnum photographers and staff about the need to systematize the agency’s publicity. “During the coming year we should try to hit the magazines with outstanding material. We should try to plan on books, exhibitions, participating contests [sic], prepare representative scrapbooks, and try to establish the reputation of this outfit beyond any question of competition.”9 But how exactly could Magnum make sure that its name was better known than Black Star, PIX, Rapho, or any of the Life photographers? The feature in U.S. Camera showed that Magnum had identified a powerful origin story that set it apart from the rest. But Magnum also needed to prove that its colorful cast of characters could run their own business. That is why after introducing the founders in U.S. Camera, Morris turned to convincing potential clients of Magnum’s efficiency as an organization. He told readers that its photographers didn’t just take great pictures. They also had editorial initiative and knew how to develop an idea into an illustrated story. Because Magnum hired office staff to process its photographs, magazine editors could be sure that their pictures would be “beautifully printed and often captioned.”10 In so many words, Morris underscored that Magnum photographers were able to think and work like editors. These ideas needed constant reiteration since the prevailing opinion among magazine editors at midcentury was that photographers were only knowledgeable about photography and knew little about journalism or the editing process. In his pivotal textbook on photojournalism from 1952, former Life editor Wilson Hicks expressed then commonly held stereotypes about photographers: they had bad manners, were always dashing to very high or low spots for the right shot, and made incessant requests for “just one more” picture.11 Clifton Edom’s Picture Editing from 1951 noted that photographers had long been ridiculed as members of press teams and that their reputations were just beginning to improve, while earlier texts by photo editors criticized photographers for their self-importance.12 Even into the 1970s, a critic acknowledged that Magnum had become “a vital force in contemporary photojournalism” but also called the agency “a collection of prima donnas with a grossly exaggerated sense of their own importance and abilities.”13 If photographers were really that quirky and disorganized, or so convinced about the quality of their work that they wanted to see everything get into print, how could they possibly run their own photo agency and work with magazine clients? MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES


Conflicts between editors and notoriously uncooperative photojournalists, including Magnum’s henri Cartier-Bresson and W. eugene Smith, contributed to these stereotypes. Life and Holiday knew that Cartier-Bresson could not be relied upon to shoot color or to complete detailed shooting scripts, and they often had to plead for more detailed captions and story texts.14 Smith, in the meantime, had become known as the quintessential self-centered photojournalist out of touch with the realities of magazine publishing. though the photographer had been given unprecedented freedom to design his own photo essays in the 1940s, he resigned from Life in 1954 when the magazine refused to devote an entire issue to his photographs of albert Schweitzer. Smith’s subsequent affiliation with Magnum, which lasted from 1955 until 1959, left a mark on the agency’s reputation.15 his promotion of himself as the master, if not inventor, of the humanist photo essay led critics to note that all Magnum photographers wanted to author their own photo essays from start to finish and that they dictated how their pictures would be laid out. Like Smith and Cartier-Bresson, Magnum photographers were perceived as “too deeply involved in telling their own truths to fit comfortably into the commercial world.”16 Modernist critics often relied on this kind of language to praise photographers for not lowering themselves to the market conditions of photography.17 But as freelancers, Magnum’s photographers needed to fit into the commercial world to stay in business. In the attempt to mold its own image, Magnum purposefully stressed its professionalism. Beginning in the early 1950s, Magnum publicity devoted significant space to the roles of administrative staff and editors so that clients knew whom to call to set up an assignment or help research a story. that is what we saw in the U.S. Camera feature. When it came time to create a ten-year anniversary brochure, David Seymour—then acting as Magnum president—told John Morris to make sure that the piece of publicity stressed “their editorial initiative and journalistic training” and their ability to produce a final product. “this,” meaning photographers’ journalistic know-how and the agency’s skill at turning pictures, captions, and research into distributable story packages, “is probably one of our selling points,” Seymour wrote, “even we are not always good at that.”18 Like Seymour, Morris understood that the professional image Magnum projected in the industry press was necessary but not entirely accurate. Magnum was swimming in material, and it had a difficult time distributing anything that wasn’t breaking news. In 1953 Morris visited editors at Life, Look, This Week, Collier’s, the New York Times, Fortune, Holiday, The Lamp, National Geographic, and Ladies’ Home Journal on a weekly basis.19 Magnum’s New York editorial staff had no more than 5 people to deal with 23 photographers and dozens of different clients. By comparison, Black Star had 6 people whose sole job was to go out and sell pictures.20 Life magazine alone had over 250 editorial staff working with its 50 photographers. In one letter, Morris reminded Magnum that the agency had only “gotten by” because so many picture stories were edited at Life—meaning that photographers sent them entire rolls of film to edit in-house at the magazine, bypassing the overworked Magnum office staff altogether.21 Morris especially wanted to hire a qualified salesman to handle Magnum’s editorial sales, but the shareholding photographers adamantly resisted growing the office staff. the agency 198

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had neither capital nor surplus income, and photographers feared that new hires would create an endless cycle in which they would have to shoot and sell more photographs (likely of dubious quality, they feared) just to cover office expenses.22 The executive editor tried to explain that new staff would implement more effective sales and editing systems that would lead to economic stability. The latter, in turn, would enable the independent and creative work that photographers held up as their highest aim. “Our primary aim is not making money,” Morris acknowledged in one of his first reports on Magnum’s operations, “but it is very important to make money in order to further our professional aims and individual happiness.”23 The photographers did not agree. Capa proposed a general, albeit vague, working strategy: focus on the major markets (especially movies, oil companies, and tourism) and raise Magnum’s prices. Putting more time and resources into sales, he feared, would take away from the “basic aim” of Magnum “as an organization [that provides] maximum service to its member-photographers,” though he also knew that a picture made but not sold had no value to the agency.24 Things got particularly bad between Morris and the Magnum board in the summer of 1955 when Morris tried to push through two new hires to start a Magnum syndication service aimed at newspaper editors.25 Morris wanted to create a weekly distribution service consisting of about a dozen Magnum story layouts, texts, and high-quality pictures made for newspaper reproduction. He estimated that such a venture could gross several thousand dollars weekly and eventually start contributing to photographers’ travel expenses and printing costs without taking too much of their time away from the magazine market.26 Morris plowed forward with his plan even as Seymour, Cartier-Bresson, Haas, Cornell Capa, and Rodger sent him letters and telegrams urging him to wait until they could discuss the idea with him in person.27 The syndicate fiasco became the very specific backdrop against which Morris and the photographers articulated their competing ideas about how Magnum should be run. Morris tried to appeal to the founders’ progressive politics and their image of Magnum as an agency that did not get caught up in the Cold War hysteria of Life magazine: “[Owing] to the domination of LIFE in the news picture field it is difficult to get across more than one point of view in the American press. But there are a number of daily newspapers with a great liberal tradition, and through them we have a chance to get a liberal story out.”28 He also insisted that a news syndicate “with high standards of layout, copy and photography and journalism” was more in line with Magnum’s goals than some of the other things its photographers had done, including “movie deals, our occasional straight commercial work, [and] the inclusion of some photographers who aren’t journalists.”29 Unlike Capa and Inge Bondi, Morris failed to foresee the importance of Magnum’s industrial and advertising markets, which would quadruple by the end of the 1950s. The photographers did not address his accusations. Rodger told Morris, “This syndication business is a form of commercialization that is foreign to Magnum and the cost is frightening.”30 He asked Morris to turn his attention back to editing their pictures and to thinking about their existing markets— primarily magazines, which had been central to Magnum’s business plan from the start. MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES


to the photographers, “commercialization” did not mean taking on the advertising and public relations assignments discussed in the previous chapter. “Commercialization” meant working for newspapers and running the agency like a fast-paced news bureau. already in his report to stockholders in 1952, robert Capa had been clear that the agency could not— and should not—keep up with the papers, but that it should use its journalistic sense to the advantage of the magazine market. “While we do not want to become a news agency covering every main event of the year, we certainly cannot afford not to cover those which are of major importance. . . . We cannot beat the news services with scoops but we can foresee the places where news may happen and we can have the story ready before other editors and photographers wake up.”31 a few years later, the photographers reminded Morris of these facts and also asked him to understand that while they were on the road, they needed to focus all of their energies on their assignments. Writing daily letters and trying to address the agency’s financial and personnel dramas was simply not their priority. Ultimately, Morris’s venture failed to get off the ground. Some newspaper editors did not like the idea of a weekly delivery schedule; others didn’t have the space; and others couldn’t afford to buy into the syndicate.32 Once the syndicate tanked, Morris saw more clearly that Magnum was struggling with its basic functions. Its October 1955 income was lower than it had been all year, and two staff members had to be demoted to a consulting basis. Morris’s summer vacations coupled with Inge Bondi’s temporary leave had left the office staff floundering.33 the executive editor turned his attention back to the magazine market. he began working on implementing a system that would help Magnum do what it was already doing, but better: handle photographers’ large volume of pictures, serve a wide range of clients, and minimize the agency’s dependence on the staff’s selective and unstandardized knowledge of the picture files. DEVELOPING A MAGNUM SYSTEM

the syndication fiasco temporarily strained Morris’s relationship with the photographers and showed him that he did not have free rein in professionalizing the agency. In subsequent meetings and memos, Morris became more sensitive to the photographers’ aversion to bureaucracy and to the idea of the photograph as a commodity—something he had pushed too hard when trying to get Magnum into the newspaper business. First, he asked every photographer to keep track of each story in progress by using an inventory form. Indicating whether the story was in the suggestion/idea development phase, the assignment/shooting phase, or already being edited and sold, it would allow staff to know what the eighteen full-time photographers were working on.34 Morris acknowledged than his inventory may sound “like a horrid business-like term for creative activity,” but given that some two hundred stories moved through the office in various stages at any one time, he pleaded that staff needed help coordinating their activities on behalf of the photographers. By the next year, Morris thought more about how to visualize all the steps that a picture story goes through and the various people who handle it. acknowledging that the New York and paris offices did not need to be organized identically “down to the last filing cabinet,” he 200

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still called for international standardization so that everyone at Magnum would have more time for the “really creative work.”35 This was a nod to photographers’ impatience for discussing workflow and filing and especially their insistence that the “money making idea is not the only one on [their] mind.”36 Morris proposed that each photographer choose a home office where his personal files, negatives, contact prints, and captions would be kept. Then, to track every single picture story from start to finish, he proposed a story history card that would answer such questions as when the pictures were taken, what rights Magnum had to the story, who developed the film, whether the photographer had seen the contacts, if there was color, and whom it had been shown to. “Now don’t laugh,” Morris wrote after explaining the card system. These were the routine questions being asked each day in the New York and Paris offices. “We cannot grow up as an organization until we outgrow the memory system, for soon, even the greatest memory forgets an important detail; and furthermore, we burden our key people with relatively unimportant questions.”37 Were Magnum’s problems unique? The intense pace of production enabled by the camera became a problem for photographers as early as the 1920s. As Olivier Lugon has shown, the history of photography can be told as a series of attempts to contain and manage photographic output through exhibitions, series, archives, and storage systems.38 But Magnum’s struggles to deal with its large quantities of film did reflect competing notions about what the business of “photography” entailed. While photographers were primarily interested in making new pictures, staff were focused on editing film and selling picture stories—in other words, on postproduction. In one letter, Cartier-Bresson told Morris that he just couldn’t worry about Magnum’s office problems. “In the meantime I will take good pictures,” he signed off cheekily.39 A few years before his death, he confessed that “what excites me is taking the photographic shot; the rest I couldn’t care less about.” While working in Asia, he reportedly had never seen a contact sheet. “Every so often I’d have something published. I’d take a look.”40 By contrast, Morris wanted photographers to understand that picture editing was as creative and important a task as taking the picture. He explained in horror: “A story which has taken days or weeks to shoot is often edited in a few hours.”41 Morris envisioned a better future in which “a photographer can go far away in absolute confidence that the minute he comes back someone will have time to edit [his film] with both love and understanding—and picture sense.”42 Morris’s dream was far from reality. In late 1955 he told photographers that New York was “struggling with a mountain of unfiled material.”43 Many pictures were uncaptioned and some were even uncredited. Captions were not routinely pasted onto the back of prints. Prints often went undated and were hard to identify when they were separated from their stories.44 Morris also echoed Robert Capa’s concern from 1952 that Magnum photographers seemed to care more about making great pictures than they did about producing picture stories. “We have many excellent pictures lying about,” noted Morris, “which will never appear anywhere except in exhibitions or articles on photography.”45 For a photo agency, having a print included in a museum show or in U.S. Camera’s annual review was nice publicity, but it could never replace the daily work of editing and distributing completed photo stories. MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES


after half a decade of diplomacy and pleading for systematicity, Morris became desperate. reiterating that “shooting is only the beginning,” he addressed the photographers with newfound drama in april 1958: I would like to say that it might seriously benefit Magnum if all of you were to StOp shooting for a period of one month. I say this because to me the real crisis in Magnum, if there is one, is that the present staff cannot keep up even with your present level of shooting production—unless we together figure out some better systems for getting stories captioned and edited—and edited not once but many times for varying needs.46

Certainly it was radical of Morris to tell the photographers to stop shooting, and he couldn’t have been totally serious. Magnum was in the business of photojournalism and therefore in the business of supplying photographs about what was happening every week. But Morris was looking for a way to get the photographers to see the severity of the situation. he turned the Magnum memo-snippet system on its head, using it to enumerate photographers’ frustrating patterns of behavior that were contributing to the flood of material at Magnum: Cornell [Capa] is busily lining up some future scoops . . . but leaving behind material good enough to make a color book on peru and a black and white one on argentina. CartierBresson . . . is busily planning his summer, and to my knowledge ignoring the fabulous material from his US trip last year—material which cries for proper synthesis. . . . Just before [ernst haas] left for europe he produced a whole big box full of color—most of it good . . . and just dumped it on [Magnum’s recently hired New York editor] Lee [Jones].47

Morris knew that each of the photographers he listed had in the past devoted days or even weeks to editing their film. haas had sweated over his New York color portfolio for Life in 1953; Cartier-Bresson personally worked on his film from the USSr in 1954; and Cornell Capa had produced multiple iterations of a story about five missionaries killed in ecuador in 1956.48 all of their efforts had, no doubt, contributed to the impact of those essays. But these were exceptional stories that the photographers recognized as such for their geopolitical or aesthetic significance. Morris was trying to get the photographers to understand that all of their film needed to be processed and exploited on a regular basis, even though this would require more time from them. Countless rolls of negatives did not have sufficient market value. Morris concluded: “their value, in this stage, is a value only as art—almost worthless as Journalism.”49 the opposition Morris drew between art and journalism reflected two different ways to value and thus make money from photographs at midcentury. the “art” paradigm valued the photograph as a print and thus an end in itself. Morris did want Magnum to embrace the budding market of selling prints to collectors and museums in these years.50 estimating that perhaps three quarters of the world’s professional photographers make a living from selling photographic prints as prints, Morris explained that “it is only the journalistic or advertising photographer who is concerned with the sale of prints for reproduction.”51 he knew that 202

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Magnum was losing money because its photographers considered print sales a nuisance, and he pushed for creating a New York darkroom (which didn’t happen) and issuing a set of Magnum master prints. But for the most part, Morris was focused on maximizing profit and placing more pictures into the mass media. This is because photo agencies were in the business of selling reproduction rights to photographs—what Morris in this instance termed “journalism.” Magnum’s press prints were the working material necessary to disseminate its photographs to as many markets as possible. To succeed in that business, the agency needed a system for storing and retrieving photographs quickly, and it needed multiple copies of prints that could be pulled from the files as requests came in. Morris was likely thinking about bigger questions too: Would the cooperative ever find the time to put more images into circulation than the select few? Would it ever be able to get additional use out of its vast image archive beyond the rushed primary sales? BANKING ON MAGNUM’S PICTURE FILES

All around Magnum there was evidence that material overload was not a problem if a solid indexing system was in place. Successful archival systems increased the monetary value and even the historical significance of photographic collections. When Otto Bettman created the Bettman Archive in 1933, he invented a card index that allowed for the instant retrieval of photographs. This system endowed his picture archive with commercial value and contributed to its lucrative sale to Bill Gates’s Corbis in 1995.52 Between 1948 and its closing in 1972, Life’s picture library grew from two million to eighteen million images.53 Its library was so well organized that its filing system was studied by “foreign governments, national museums, universities, publishers, and the Armed Forces.”54 When Look closed in 1971, its picture library consisted of twenty-five million images.55 Eager to donate the collection to the Library of Congress for a tax break, the Cowles Communication Corporation brought in photo dealer Lee Witkin to do the appraisal. Witkin valued the pictures at $4.15 million— attributing the price not just to the quantity and quality of photographs but especially to their organization. This was the feat, according to Witkin: thirty-five years of material has been “assembled, indexed, and cross-indexed, so that almost any specific subject is accessible in a matter of minutes.”56 By contrast, the majority of Magnum’s image archives in the 1950s were in a state of “almost complete neglect.”57 Although Magnum did not set out to be a commercial picture library, the agency did try to organize and systematize its files in order to make money from the picture collection. This work fell to additional staff members who, like Morris, regularly asked photographers to help them. They received varying levels of responsiveness. Their struggle to introduce a system and get the photographers to cooperate is recorded perfectly in an undated photograph buried in George Rodger’s archive (fig. 91). “Notice to All Photographers” screams a hand-written note from a tower of archival boxes. “You are hereby notified Not to take material out or put material into your file boxes without clearing through the editorial desk! We now have a system. Please keep it operating!” Thus photographed, the office scene seems like a joke at the expense of Magnum’s overly industrious staff. MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES



a notice posted in Magnum’s office, date unknown. © George rodger/Magnum photos.

In 1956 Magnum hired Sam holmes to figure out what the picture files contained and find ways to monetize them. the agency knew that its competitor Black Star had “a fulltime girl on file sales,” and that the income she generated paid for the expense of running its offices. there was no reason that Magnum had to lag behind. “Our files aren’t that big yet,” observed Morris in 1953, “but they are much better qualitatively.”58 holmes began by creating an inventory of all the color stories Magnum had on hand, organized by subject matter. Systematizing the color was of primary importance for secondary and stock sales, which in 1956 brought in approximately $4,000 a month (over $37,000 in 2019 dollars) and which Morris felt was “just scratching the surface of what can be achieved when the library is properly organized.”59 as a rule, color sales fetched higher prices than black and white, and they came from a larger pool of clients that included not only magazines but also advertising agencies, books, industrial publications, newspapers, encyclopedias, and record covers.60 204

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Yet Magnum photographers expressed a general disinterest in—if not aversion to— stock photography because it seemed like an uncreative way to make easy money. Robert Capa had entertained the idea only if those sales could be outsourced to an agent who worked on a percentage basis.61 Older photographers, including Cartier-Bresson, also had an aversion to working in color, considering it best suited to advertising and thus a less serious medium for photojournalism.62 They disliked stock because it was color, and disliked color because it implied stock sales, and this made Holmes’s job difficult. He spent nearly three years cajoling photographers to tell him what color stories they had done, when, and for whom, and where those transparencies could be found. By 1959 Magnum finally had usable color files and inventories, but both needed constant upkeep.63 Holmes asked photographers to go through their files, destroy or remove useless prints, and replenish their best pictures so that the files would be more usable. This created an inherent bias since photographers often chose their favorite pictures rather than trying to be as exhaustive as possible. Others didn’t have time to spend on that project in the first place. At one point, Holmes even turned to Romana Javitz, the picture librarian at the New York Public Library, to help Magnum cross-index its pictures.64 Over her forty-year career at the library, Javitz had assembled a working library of six million images and captions that users could borrow like books. Like John Morris, Javitz valued the photograph for its potential usefulness as a document, to be “used as a source of information instead of being searched for its content of beauty.”65 By the end of the 1950s, Magnum finally had a new system developed especially for customers. Select prints were filed according to one of four categories: countries, general subjects, personalities, and wars, and each of these was further broken down alphabetically.66 Yet of the thousands of images Magnum photographers produced, only a small percentage entered into circulation through primary and secondary sales. The rest was considered “dead” material. Even fewer pictures were shown in exhibitions or sold as prints. Markets for the latter were growing in the late 1950s, and they offered more prestige and notoriety than money. At Magnum these markets were handled by Inge Bondi, who had started at Magnum in the late 1940s as a secretary and worked her way up to become editor of advertising and exhibition projects by 1960. Bondi mostly relied on memory and personal preference when choosing which photographs to send to exhibitions, photo fairs, and dealers. In some cases, her subjective decisions were groundbreaking for Magnum. In 1959 Ivan Dmitri, the director of the Metropolitan Museum’s Photography in the Fine Arts exhibits asked Bondi for a selection of Magnum photographs.67 Bondi included Elliot Erwitt’s color photograph of Pablo Casals’s cello and chair, shot for a Puerto Rico tourism campaign. Erwitt became the only photographer to have an advertising image included in the exhibit.68 The show “opened with a big fanfare” in New York on May 8, 1959, but knowledgeable viewers felt like “they have seen all the pictures before.”69 As in the case of MOMA’s 1951 Memorable “Life” Photographs—an exhibit that reproduced pictures that had already become famous through their publication in the magazine—the people behind photography exhibitions often gravitated toward pictures that were already well known. Those were also the pictures that sold MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES



“the First ten Years,” Popular Photography (September 1957). © Magnum photos. author’s collection.

as prints—an area in which Magnum had some moderate successes thanks to Bondi. In 1961 it sold fifty prints through the Museum of Modern art for $25–$50 each, and another ten prints to the Chase Manhattan Bank at $175–$250 each for its reception area at One Chase Manhattan plaza. art dealers were beginning to contact Magnum as well.70 Nevertheless, Bondi lamented to the photographers about how unsystematic the whole process was: “We have been submitting prints for this kind of purchase in a somewhat haphazard manner by taking ‘already famous’ old pictures and photographers’ favorites. I am sadly uninformed about great recent pictures, as I hardly ever get an opportunity to see prints of new stories before they are rushed to magazines.” She suggested creating “a couple of master print portfolios in the office from which prints could then be ordered.”71 Like Morris and holmes, she tried to enlist the photographers’ help, but by the look of her letters—with headers reading “action, action, action,”—getting their attention was itself a challenge.72 as a result, her print selections helped canonize the founders’ earliest pictures, a handful of which had already appeared in the Museum of Modern art’s Family of Man exhibition. Not coincidentally these were also the pictures that appeared in promotional articles, including a 1957 Popular Photography feature on Magnum that celebrated the agency’s ten-year anniversary and led with three photographs by the founders that had toured the world with The Family of Man (fig. 92).73 Magnum had produced hundreds of 206

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human-interest features for humanitarian organizations, news and travel magazines, and corporate clients in its first decade. But when it came to distilling the agency’s contribution to photography, no one had the time or capacity to review the entirety of its picture files. Time and again, Magnum relied on the familiarity of Seymour’s Tereska, Cartier-Bresson’s portrait of Gandhi’s secretary, and Capa’s Soviet dinner scene to represent the agency. The three photographs in Popular Photography open onto an even more complex story of how certain photographs and ideas began to stand in for all of Magnum. So far, we have seen that Morris, Holmes, and Bondi had called on photographers to spend more time editing and organizing all of the picture files on a regular basis. In the 1950s and 1960s, however, Magnum’s most consequential editing projects did not really help the daily functioning of the agency in the ways that staff hoped. Rather, they created long-lasting myths about what Magnum’s photography meant. These mythologies proved more important to ensuring Magnum’s longevity than any filing, logging, or retrieval system. The two most important ways to define Magnum and its photojournalism became “the decisive moment,” associated with Henri Cartier-Bresson, and “concerned photography,” associated with Robert Capa, David Seymour, and Werner Bischof. MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES: THE DECISIVE MOMENT

When he cofounded Magnum, Cartier-Bresson already had an international reputation as a photographer, established with the help of supportive dealers, curators, and photography critics. Between 1948 and 1950, the groundbreaking reports he produced in India and China established him as one of the leading photojournalists of his day and made him the secondhighest earner in Magnum, outranked only by Capa.74 He was in a unique position when he returned from Asia in 1950. He could afford to set aside nearly six months in Paris to get his picture files in order and produce his first major photo book, The Decisive Moment (fig. 93). Together with the French publisher Teriade and his assistant Marguerite Lange, CartierBresson went through thousands of frames that he had made over the years. They chose 126 images to demonstrate what Cartier-Bresson called the “decisive moment”—his ability to take a picture at the precise instant when form and content aligned. The decisive moment suggested that, when operated by an attentive photographer, the camera was uniquely suited to stop subjects and time and arrange them into a perfect composition. It obscured the fact that the camera actually encouraged overproduction, yielding many more indecisive moments than decisive ones, and that many people including magazine editors were needed to identify certain pictures as great before they could be published.75 Cartier-Bresson’s reframing of the mundane and ubiquitous work of photojournalism as an individual and artistic endeavor was a resounding success. In the U.S., Cartier-Bresson’s publisher, Richard Simon, helped ensure that the photo book sold widely, was reviewed extensively, and seen by all of the key figures in the photo world. Within a week of the book’s release, Beaumont Newhall reported to his friend, the British photo historian Helmut Gernseim: “Henri Cartier-Bresson’s new book, published last Thursday, is the talk of the art world.”76 By 1955, The Decisive Moment also became the title of a large traveling exhibition. MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES



henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952). © 2019 Succession h. Matisse / artists rights Society, New York.

Designed by the French publisher and curator robert Delpire, the exhibit opened at the pavilion de Marsan in the Louvre in 1955. It introduced Cartier-Bresson’s master set of pictures and his philosophy to audiences in France, and then Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, and the United States, when it toured under the auspices of the american Federation of arts. By 1959 the popularity of the book and exhibition established CartierBresson as, according to Popular Photography, one of “the World’s ten Greatest photographers,” known for his now iconic masterpieces.77 In 1960, his show opened at New York’s IBM Gallery. Updated to include some of Cartier-Bresson’s more recent photography, it was shown in two installments to an unprecedented number of viewers for the midtown gallery.78 The Decisive Moment did not just become shorthand for Cartier-Bresson and a select few of his images. In subsequent decades, the repetition of the idea became an almost complete denial of his involvement in photojournalism and the role of magazine editors and 208

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Magnum staff in his own career. In his introduction to the 1952 photo book, Cartier-Bresson still admitted that magazine editors had been some of his most important mentors.79 But as the years went on, the photographer had a harder time acknowledging his clients and partners. When his second major book, The Europeans, was released in 1955, it consisted of photographs that Cartier-Bresson first made for Holiday’s 1954 special issue on Europe. Cartier-Bresson not only refused to write an extensive introduction to the 1955 book—he felt he had already said everything he needed to in The Decisive Moment—but he also resisted crediting the magazines who funded his travel photography. He told Richard Simon, “When I shoot on assignments, I never think who I am working for but only of the subject and my reaction to it.”80 Eventually he conceded. He acknowledged Holiday (whose editors Ted Patrick and Lou Mercier gave him the original assignment) as well as Life and Harper’s Bazaar, since he worked for all of these magazines during his European travels.81 By the 1970s Cartier-Bresson told reporters that he had always been an artist with a camera on the hunt for decisive moments. He called himself a surrealist rather than a reporter—reclaiming his reputation from the 1930s—and insisted that he had given up photography altogether.82 Magnum applauded the popularity of The Decisive Moment within the photographic field, and Cartier-Bresson’s colleagues understood that he had succeeded in reaching a small but influential group of photography critics and curators.83 Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, these figures used Cartier-Bresson’s words and images to uphold a burgeoning modernist discourse that deemed artistic and commissioned work irreconcilable. Focusing on the photographer’s unique and individual vision, such voices mostly overlooked the primary place of photo essays (rather than individual prints) within Cartier-Bresson’s career. They went so far as to praise Cartier-Bresson for evading the constrictions of photojournalism. In 1955 the art critic James Thrall Soby observed, “Seemingly Cartier-Bresson’s poetic imagination, far from being stultified by specific commissions from the publishers of newspapers and magazines, is never hired out to anyone but himself.”84 In the 1960s the chief curator of photography at MOMA, John Szarkowski, claimed that “Cartier-Bresson is not a photo-journalist, he is a photo philosopher.”85 Upon replacing Szarkowski, Peter Galassi formulated similar distinctions by praising the independent and artistic nature of Cartier-Bresson’s photography, preserved in spite of the editorial demands of both Magnum staff and magazine clients.86 MOMA, of course, had devoted over a dozen exhibitions to press photography since its founding in 1929, so these curators’ disavowal of Cartier-Bresson’s journalistic connections was not motivated by a simple dismissal of photojournalism or the art of reporting.87 But the news images that appeared in the museum were often the ones that had in some way, as Beaumont Newhall put it, transcended the ephemeral to become great documents.88 MOMA curators largely valued news images for their informational quality or for displaying the camera’s ability to freeze time rather than for their authorship.89 As MOMA danced between exhibiting news images on the one hand and defining the art of photography on the other, Cartier-Bresson and his philosophy were often proof that the greatest photographers could transcend the news imperative. MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES


at Magnum the decisive moment became a useful shorthand to describe the varied and voluminous work of its many photographers. In 1954 Morris thought about calling his pet syndication project “the Decisive Moment” but ultimately found it too esoteric for newspaper editors.90 the 1957 Popular Photography feature on Magnum conflated CartierBresson’s explanation of his working methods with those of his cofounders robert Capa and David Seymour. “all three,” the article explained, “with miniature camera in hand, thought of themselves as writing a kind of visual diary of their time, an incomparable sketchbook.”91 With Capa and Seymour gone, the founders could not set the record straight. Capa in particular—with his commitment to magazine markets and relationships with editors— might have balked at the gesture toward such a personal and autonomous practice. But on the occasion of the agency’s ten-year anniversary, Cartier-Bresson’s language helped tie together the founders’ documentation of the watershed events of the twentieth century. Magnum also used the decisive moment in exhibitions beginning with its first major group show in 1959, The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers. Magnum photographer ernst haas designed the show, choosing to make the exhibition panels look like magazine spreads because this was “where most of Magnum’s work appear[ed].”92 the exhibit featured a number of recent photo essays by its member photographers: eve arnold’s story on birthing conditions around the world (with no mention of Mennen); Inge Morath’s Holiday feature on Iran (shot with the help of SONJ connections); and erich hartmann’s work for Fortune on Israeli industrialization.93 Select quotes by Magnum photographers welcomed visitors and united this incredible range of work into a cohesive narrative. the first was by Cartier-Bresson, and it echoed the phrase from his 1952 photo book: “photography is for me the development of a plastic medium in a battle with time, a medium based on the pleasure of observing and the ability to capture a decisive moment.”94 as it toured Japan and the United States in 1959, the exhibition told viewers that Magnum photographers weren’t burdened by unedited rolls of film, dead picture files, and unanswered letters; they were after the rare moments in photography when form and content aligned.95 Magnum emphasized the same idea a few years earlier when its staff and photographers were invited onto the NBC Home show. On morning television, Cartier-Bresson and ernst haas went through pages of contact sheets and showed audiences how to identify great Magnum pictures by using the philosophy of the “decisive moment.”96 even on the agency’s website today, searching the “decisive moment” yields the best-known pictures by all of the Magnum photographers.97 In the following decades, Magnum’s younger photographers internalized the language of the decisive moment to describe their indebtedness to Cartier-Bresson, who remained the agency’s artistic mentor even after his resignation in 1966. elliott erwitt, Inge Morath, rené Burri, and Marc riboud, among others, used it to describe their own working methods.98 ernst haas’s experiments with color photography and the blur attuned him to how the camera could capture the “blended flow of color” that people could see with the naked eye. “the decisive moment in black and white and color are not identical” was how he explained his new technique, relying on Cartier-Bresson’s aphorism.99


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Cartier-Bresson, by contrast, increasingly relied on “the decisive moment” and the image of the artist using his camera to keep a “visual diary” as a denial of his press work. He increasingly left the other Magnum founders out of his biography or presented his work as intrinsically different from theirs.100 By the 1990s he went so far as to explain that his early work was “erroneously” called photojournalism because of his friendship with Robert Capa.101 The mythology of the decisive moment thus accomplished two things over the decades. It distanced Cartier-Bresson’s legacy from the material history of photojournalism and the photo agency while simultaneously making his artistic lineage central to Magnum’s identity. MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES: THE CONCERNED PHOTOGRAPHER

In the late 1950s and 1960s, Magnum also became known as a group of humanist and pacifist photographers whose pictures reflected their social concern. This idea took hold after the sudden deaths of Magnum founder Robert Capa, who stepped on a landmine while covering the war in Indochina in May 1954; Werner Bischof, whose car fell from a cliff in the Andes a few days later; and David Seymour, who was killed by Egyptian gunfire in the Suez in 1956. At the time of their deaths, the three were not associated with any single school or label, and their image archives did not have a strong formal similarity. But their obituaries linked them via recurring themes. The ongoing conflicts around the world had prevented Robert Capa from becoming the “unemployed war photographer” he dreamed of being (fig. 94).102 Bischof was “the warm and gentle man who saw with the heart and mind of a poet or artist.”103 And Seymour had been a shy and compassionate photographer who, having lost his own parents in Auschwitz, identified most with orphans.104 Even on NBC, the Magnum segment concluded with a memorial to the three men, showing viewers some of the most moving pictures they had made, which became icons through their appearance in such eulogizing contexts.105 These narratives mapped onto the broader discourse of photographic humanism being popularized in exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic, including at MOMA. Beginning with Five French Photographers (1952–53) and culminating in The Family of Man (1955), MOMA’s curator of photography Edward Steichen expressed his enthusiasm for the humanist style: “photography,” he enthused, “with a tender simplicity, a sly humor, a warm earthiness, the ‘everydayness’ of the familiar and the convincing aliveness found only in the best of the folk arts.”106 Targeting an audience of amateur photographers and everyday photo lovers, Steichen promoted and prescribed humanism as the best way to see and represent the postwar world. Steichen’s humanism implied a photographic style as well as specific subject matter. As his selection of images for The Family of Man affirmed, humanist pictures often included families, children, and lovers, and they showed different stages of life (birth, marriage, death) in order to elicit “warm” emotions and underscore the universal nature of the human experience. Concurrently with Steichen’s work, Magnum was stepping up its own promotional efforts. The agency needed to demonstrate to the photographic community that Magnum




“A Great War Reporter and His Last Battle,” Life (June 7, 1954), 27. Photo by Robert Capa © International Center of Photography/ Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

would maintain its leading role in picture supply despite the loss of its entrepreneurial founder Robert Capa. In exhibitions and promotional articles placed in the industry press, Magnum adapted the rhetoric of humanism, suggesting that the agency’s founders were driven by the compassionate and universal spirit of The Family of Man. John Morris explained that Magnum’s “reporter-photographers” have a “peculiarly human point of view,” which satisfied editors and readers who wished to “understand their confusing world in terms of people rather than propaganda or statistics.”107 Morris often used such formulations to suggest that Magnum’s photo essays offered a corrective to fascism’s manipulation of the media in the years leading up to World War II.108 The popularity of humanist discourse in the 1950s helps explain why in those years Capa, Bischof, and Seymour became known especially for their portraits of children. Many of their pictures of children began as a combination of news and humanitarian imagery, meant to raise awareness and money during the Spanish Civil War (in the case of Capa), in postwar Europe (Seymour), or in famine-torn India (Bischof). Humanitarian organizations commonly used photographs that had appeared in the press, and they frequently hired professional photojournalists to produce their photographic publicity, which resulted in the close visual resonance between editorial and humanitarian photographs throughout the twentieth century.109 In the postwar period, posthumous exhibitions organized by photographers’ relatives in particular worked to reframe their humanitarian and news images as humanist documents. As they toured museums, galleries, and photo festivals around the world, the shows glossed over the details of the photographers’ multifaceted careers in favor of iconographic and thematic synthesis. Organized by his brother Cornell Capa, War Photographs—Robert Capa reinterpreted Capa’s career by including only his images of global conflict. After opening at the Time and Life Building in New York in 1961, the well-attended show traveled throughout the United States with support from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and then went on to Italy, France, and Japan with financing from private and corporate donors.110 Interspersed among Capa’s “Falling Soldier” and the grainy D-Day landing pictures were images of children resting on piles of suitcases along the road in Almeria, mothers running from fascist air raids with infants in their arms, and Capa’s worm’s-eye view of a little girl wailing in an Israeli resettlement camp. By punctuating Capa’s better-known action shots with pictures of children, Cornell reinforced the idea that Robert Capa documented war begrudgingly. Rather than chasing violence, he was foremost interested in the fate of vulnerable civilians. John Steinbeck, who had worked with Capa in the USSR in 1947, insisted on this same idea in his eulogy of the photographer: “Andre would have liked to keep back his own nature, but he could not. Into Capa crept Andre’s overwhelming love for children, his aching sympathy for all hurt or insulted people, the generosity that often stripped him, and a loyalty towards his friends that sometimes distorted the debonair picture of Capa the man of the world.”111 Guarding Capa’s legacy after his death meant extolling the private, sensitive, Hungarian-Jewish refugee born with the name “Andre Friedmann” without undermining “Robert Capa,” the brave war photographer who invented MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES



John Morris, “an appreciation: Werner Bischof and robert Capa,” Infinity (May 1954), 6–7. © Werner Bischof/Magnum photos. Courtesy of International Center of photography.

himself in Spain and the beaches of Normandy and then heroically went to cover Israel’s War of Independence. While the tension between war and peace became central to posthumous conceptions of robert Capa, Bischof and Seymour were more easily equated with their empathetic photographs of children from around the world. Bischof’s obituary in Infinity, the magazine published by the aSMp, showcased pictures of sleeping children and mothers that were simultaneously being shown across the United States in the SIteS-funded exhibit of Bischof’s Japan (fig. 95).112 at the same time, the photographer’s widow, rosellina, began to organize books and retrospective exhibitions for such venues as the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Museum of applied arts of the city of Zurich.113 Bischof’s young peruvian flute player, for example, became one of his signature images, accruing cultural and monetary value over the decades in museum and gallery settings.114 Likewise in the 1950s, David Seymour’s multifaceted career was distilled into the story of “Chim’s Children”—the title of the commemorative exhibition curated by peter pollack for the art Institute of Chicago in 1956 (fig. 96). the show was originally planned as a broad retrospective of the photographer’s work, set to include his color celebrity and travel photography. But Seymour’s untimely death during its planning stages led pollack to change


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Exhibition announcement for “Chim’s Children” at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1956. © David Seymour/ Magnum Photos. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

course and produce a far more limited curatorial eulogy. In the curator’s own words: “It was to have been an exhibition of the photographs and places I picked with him in Rome last summer, but now it consists entirely of pictures he took of children—tattered, nameless, bewildered children.”115 Most of the pictures, including the one used on the exhibition brochure, came from Seymour’s assignment for UNESCO after the war. His photographs of children from the Spanish Civil War and in Israel in the 1950s helped round out this thematic arc to the photographer’s career. The public received it enthusiastically. After Chicago the exhibit traveled to six museums and university galleries around the U.S. It was shown at the Miami Conference on Photojournalism, established by Life’s former picture editor Wilson Hicks, and the Cologne camera and photography exposition Photokina in 1958. The children



pictures were also reproduced in Camera Magazine as part of a special issue on Chim.116 to this day, David Seymour is known primarily for his images of orphaned, poor, and homeless children—especially his portrait of tereska, championed in Magnum’s anniversary feature in Popular Photography, as we saw, and which attained iconic status through its inclusion in posthumous exhibitions.117 In 1958 Cornell Capa brought all of these ideas and images together by establishing a foundation to memorialize the work of the three deceased Magnum photographers. he first partnered with his mother, Julia, and Seymour’s sister, eileen Schneidermann, to create the robert Capa–David Seymour photographic Foundation in Israel—the country that both of Magnum’s Jewish founders had supported, visited, and documented, and where each had relatives. the early foundation sought to memorialize the deceased Magnum photographers by keeping their work, still housed in the Magnum picture library, before the public. It also awarded emerging Israeli photographers working in the tradition of Capa’s and Seymour’s photography.118 to help Cornell with his efforts, Magnum set aside $4,000 to establish a Capa-Bischof-Seymour picture library. the family foundation would now do some of the work that John Morris and Inge Bondi called on photographers to undertake, but to rather different ends. Cornell Capa brought in a temporary staff member named Zeff Stuart to organize the photographers’ archives, which had been in relative disarray, and he also had help from Bischof’s widow, rosellina, and from Seymour’s sister. together the relatives and their assistants created a set of contact prints for both Magnum offices; defined a collection of approximately one hundred master prints; and began to look for new publishing and exhibition opportunities for their picture archives.119 Cornell renamed this memorial foundation the Fund for Concerned photography in 1966, and in 1974 it became the International Center of photography, headquartered in a historic mansion on New York’s Museum Mile (fig. 97). For the few years before it acquired its own reputable location, the fund operated out of the riverside Museum in New York, which hosted the fund’s first and pivotal group exhibition of 1967, The Concerned Photographer.120 the show brought together work by seven photographers whom Cornell Capa identified as modeling a “vital concern with their world and times.”121 It included pictures by Capa, Chim, and Bischof, the Magnum photographers who died on assignment between 1954 and 1956; Dan Weiner, a deceased non-Magnum photographer; andré Kertész, robert Capa’s early mentor who represented an earlier generation of “candid photography”; and Leonard Freed, a young photographer who had become known for his documentation of Black life in america between 1964 and 1965 and who would join Magnum in 1972. When the Saturday Review devoted two pages to the exhibit on December 9, 1967, the paper effectively summarized the key issues that had preoccupied photojournalists and the illustrated press to date (fig. 98). Capa’s photograph showed a woman pausing in a doorway, cloaked in a dark coat and clutching a crying girl and a doll whose smooth face and calm expression offered an eerie contrast to the strained human faces. Made in Barcelona in January 1939, this was one of Capa’s many Spanish refugee pictures that had circulated in the international press to inform readers of the specific events leading up to their flight and to 216

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The first location of ICP. Photograph by Steven Zane. Courtesy of International Center of Photography.

demonstrate the human costs of the Spanish Civil War more generally, enticing sympathetic publics to send money, lobby, or volunteer on behalf of the Spanish Republic. Seymour’s photograph of a wedding ceremony in Israel—likely taken while he was shooting “The World of the Kibbutz,” his contribution to the Youth and the World series in Holiday—showed a couple standing under a chuppah.122 Rifles and pitchforks doubled as posts for the ritual canopy, attesting to the makeshift nature of everyday life in the country, while the uncultivated, rolling hills in the background suggested an expansive land, free of other inhabitants.123 And Freed’s picture captured two gleeful children on a city street, the sister holding her little brother up to a fire hydrant’s spray. Lighthearted in comparison to Capa’s refugees, Freed’s picture had also appeared that year in his documentary photo book Black in White America. As part of an image sequence exploring white flight and the rise of Black ghettoes, the joyful portrait of childhood also pointed to the racial tensions that Freed had witnessed all across the country.124 The reproduction of these photographs in the Saturday Review contributed to their particular status as emerging icons of the twentieth century. They also evoked the shifting political issues that preoccupied left Jewish cultural figures between the 1930s and 1960s. During the Cold War, not only New York intellectuals and authors but also photographers channeled antifascist politics into new, safer areas of activism, from reclaiming Jewish identity and supporting Israel to becoming involved in the struggle for racial equality in the U.S.125 Whereas Capa and Seymour took up the former, Freed tackled the latter. Upon seeing The Concerned Photographer, Freed said, “Suddenly I feel I belong to a tradition.”126 In this case it was Cornell Capa who identified the “tradition” of photographing marginalized and oppressed groups as a mode of social activism that was progressive without being leftist. MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES



“Mutual Concern,” Saturday Review (December 9, 1967), 66–67. © David Seymour and Leonard Freed/Magnum photos. photo by robert Capa © International Center of photography/ Magnum photos.

perhaps still thinking about the red Scare that triggered robert Capa’s passport troubles in 1953, Cornell Capa made sure that in the 1960s, a diverse group of mostly european and Jewish photographers became the founders of a new tradition of depoliticized yet compassionate photography that had its roots in american documentary practices. Capa argued that concerned photographers actually followed in the footsteps of the american sociologist Lewis hine, whose photographs for the National Child Labor Committee between 1908 and 1924 were instrumental in changing child labor laws in the United States. Like hine, concerned photographers made work with a social conscience that could not be turned off and that engaged deeply with the world and its people.127 For the second Concerned Photographer exhibition in 1972, Cornell Capa added other american precursors to the list, including Mathew Brady, Jacob riis, and Dorothea Lange, all of whom “used their cameras as a tool of social conscience and a means of expressing their reverence and affirmation of life.”128 In so doing, Cornell Capa drew a moral arc in the history of documentary photography, pulling together early war photographers, the social documentarians of the early twentieth century and Depression-era america, and his brother robert Capa into one canon, while also leaving room for contemporary photographers to follow in their footsteps. 218

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Cornell suspended the question of the concerned photographers’ politics, their complicated backgrounds, and their role in supplying the market with news pictures.129 Over time, something else became more important: the formally symbolic and socially engaged aspects of their photography, which could be appreciated in the new museum contexts for photography being created amid the decline of the illustrated press.130 Magnum was part of but not central to the exhibition because concerned photography could not be contained by one agency. Cornell Capa brought up the Magnum name just once in the exhibition catalog, when he dedicated the book to “the ideals of photojournalism, which in turn led to the founding of Magnum in 1946 [sic] by Robert Capa and his friends, David Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger.” In Cornell’s project, “concerned photography” underpinned Magnum’s origins but it was also bigger than Magnum and photojournalism itself because it did not depend on the network of commercial exchange. Magnum benefited directly from Cornell’s efforts. By making the agency’s founders into the fathers of concerned photography, the ICP implicitly endowed the Magnum enterprise with honor and prestige.131 In its first decade, the ICP provided an exhibition space to a range of photojournalists who wished to show recent work, including Cartier-Bresson (who displayed his USSR photographs from 1954 and a second trip he took in 1973), Ernst Haas, Hiroshi Hamaya, and Marc Riboud, and non-Magnum photographers including Gordon Parks and W. Eugene Smith.132 Magnum photographers Cartier-Bresson, Haas, Hamaya, and Smith served on the ICP’s advisory board. They also conducted classes for young, aspiring photographers, as did the occasional Magnum staff member, including Sam Holmes.133 The breadth of Cornell’s exhibitions and education program showed that concerned photographers did not have to be Magnum members, but it also became difficult to argue that Magnum photographers were not “concerned.” INSTITUTIONALIZING MYTHOLOGIES IN A CHANGING PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET

Having emerged in the 1950s to sum up the best work by a few photographers, the “decisive moment” and “concerned photography” have become the two primary ways to explain Magnum’s contributions to photography to this day. Both terms now imply a mode of picturing and relating to the world that go above and beyond photojournalism’s demand for newsworthy, human-interest photographs. That these mythologies were codified in photo books and exhibitions amid the decline of weekly photo magazines is no coincidence. Illustrated magazines began to struggle in the late 1950s when advertising dollars were redirected into television commercials and program sponsorship. In the effort to attract more readers and prove their relevance to advertisers and the public, magazines tried everything—from new layouts to printing abstract, grainy, and blurry photographs that emulated the aesthetic of the “artistic” photography shown in galleries. Photographers and editors engaged in debates about how to revive photojournalism. Some called for in-depth reporting on “quiet revolutions in laboratories, civil rights”; others for stronger editorial leadership.134 Yet no intervention could stop the tide of magazine closures, which began MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES


with Collier’s in 1956. Others soon followed suit: Picture Post in 1957, the Saturday Evening Post in 1969, Look in 1971, and finally Life in 1972. With fewer magazines to purchase their work, photojournalists had fewer alternatives to survive in the profession and they needed new ways to circulate, display, and sell their images. at Magnum, newer members turned to advertising while others began to supplement their activities with more photographic books and exhibitions.135 In this climate, both Cartier-Bresson and Cornell Capa decided that magazines had never in fact been the best context for “decisive moments” or “concerned photography.” Cornell Capa suggested that the exhibition wall offered more visual opportunities and variety than the magazine page. On the occasion of a 1968 Fund exhibition documenting the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Cornell proudly told the New York Times that the show had been put together in just ten days. “What has been the executive domain of weekly picture magazines and television can be shared by the photographic exhibition of the original photographs. the wall can give the picture depth, size, layout, a greater number of photographs shown than any medium can and on a time schedule comparable to any of them.”136 Museums, he argued, could now keep up with the printed news image world.137 Yet key critics spurred Cornell Capa’s efforts to offer a new space for photojournalism as well as his invention of a new label for photography. Writing for the New York Times in 1971, Gene thornton was simply befuddled, titling his review of a photo exhibit benefiting the Fund for Concerned photography, “What does ‘being concerned’ really mean?” “Is there any such thing as a photographer who is not concerned?” he asked and proceeded to demonstrate the emptiness of the term on the one hand while also suggesting that contemporary photojournalists were generally failing to move people or create change in the way that Lewis hine had.138 at the same time, a new generation of critics condemned contemporary photojournalists for their voyeurism and seeming appetite for war. they also expressed their dissatisfaction with discourses that proposed some essential quality and universal legibility to photography. alan Sekula challenged the notion that a photograph could ever be an inherently legible document (of an event, or of the photographer’s concern, for that matter), insisting that an image always needs context to explain its meaning and message. his assertion that there is no such thing as “an actual photograph in a free state, unattached to a system of validation and support, that is, to a discourse” upset the ontological definition that Cornell Capa was trying to enforce through his book and exhibition projects, which took images out of their original publication contexts and proposed that an essential concern with humanity had influenced their production and could also be seen in the image itself.139 For Martha rosler, photojournalists working as concerned documentarians were placing their egos ahead of the social mission of photography, all in the effort to be exhibited in the museum.140 and Susan Sontag’s scathing critique of the voyeurism of itinerant photojournalists, published one year after The Concerned Photographer 2 debuted in New York, suggests that Cornell worked to canonize Capa, Chim, and others at a moment when deep cynicism about the photographers’ intentions reigned. as Sontag wrote in On Photography: 220

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The camera is a kind of passport that annihilates moral boundaries and social inhibitions, freeing the photographer from any responsibility toward the people photographed. The whole point of photographing people is that you are not intervening in their lives, only visiting them. The photographer is supertourist, an extension of the anthropologist, visiting natives and bringing back news of their exotic doings and strange gear.141

Though Sekula, Rosler, and Sontag did not name Cornell or concerned photography directly, the publicity surrounding Cornell’s activities and his own connections in many photography circles suggest that he was both inciting and responding to such critiques.142 Cornell claimed that he curated the first Concerned Photographer show to present “an antidote to the then-accepted bland notion equating the ‘objectivity’ of a photographic image with dispassionate neutrality,” and he argued that the images he selected demonstrated “the intense empathy and involvement of each with his fellowman and the world in which he lived.”143 Cornell’s efforts at the ICP and Sontag’s disillusionment with photography were deeply interconnected. Just as the rise of television in the sixties led to a burst of critical writing on the history and theory of photography, the same media and market conditions inspired Cornell’s efforts to salvage the medium’s relevance for the future. 144 Both sides were upset that photography had failed to bring about change despite the inhumanity that it revealed, and both saw how capitalism was continuing to shape photography’s development and applications. Cornell Capa responded by guarding specific narratives about photojournalism’s continued value in the face of the intensifying postmodern critique while also shielding specific personas, including his brother, Robert Capa. Cornell Capa was working another front too. He was fighting for the cultural and monetary value of large collections of documentary images in a rapidly shifting photography world—one that John Morris and Inge Bondi already saw coming together in the 1950s when they encouraged photographers to create master print portfolios. Dominated by East Coast curators and gallery dealers, the American photography scene of the late sixties and seventies was dedicated to establishing photography as a collectible art form. Gallery shows and articles about the booming art market for photographs championed a relatively limited group of photographers from the West Coast (Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham), the French humanist tradition (Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, André Kertész) and the New York street photography scene (Robert Frank, Berenice Abbott, Lisette Model).145 Private collectors and institutions sought out vintage prints that were taken, printed, and signed by the photographer.146 Dealers encouraged a connoisseurial approach to the print. They directed potential collectors to texts by Beaumont Newhall and John Szarkowski to learn about camera aesthetics and to understand what makes a “good” photograph.147 Cornell Capa had a different set of preoccupations. Having seen Magnum’s difficulties with information overload firsthand, Cornell feared the work of early photographers would be lost and forgotten. He wanted the ICP to serve as the home for large collections of press photographs and negatives that were languishing at picture agencies and magazine offices. MAGNUM SYSTEMS, MAGNUM MYTHOLOGIES



“Out of tragedy and Dogged persistence, Cornell Capa Builds a photography Museum,” People (June 27, 1977). author’s collection.

here is how he explained the situation to his colleague and board member Karl Katz, the former director of the Jewish Museum, in 1971: Because of the veritable flood of photographs being created daily, the work of yesterday is quickly forgotten. photographers born at the beginning of this century are not reaching their optimum life expectancy and there are no real city, state or national institutions to locate, acquire, care for and preserve such collections of lives’ work. the communication organizations are staggering under the cost and task of preserving and utilizing the accumulated and ever-growing avalanche of material; it is economically not feasible for them to do so.148

tasking the ICp with archive preservation meant that Cornell Capa also had to define the value of those archives. Neither the language of the art world—which fought for photography as a form of creative expression and for the photograph as a rare, collectible object— nor that of commercial picture libraries, which made money by selling reproduction rights, seemed fitting. Cornell Capa relied on the language of “concern” to explain why the work of the first generation of modern photojournalists should be preserved and made available to the public through exhibitions and accessible archives. his was a discursive solution to the 222

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material problem of press photography, which was piling up in offices and had no single custodian. Through Cornell Capa’s efforts, concerned photography became a parallel tradition in the New York photo world with a past (embodied by Hine, Capa, and others) and a future (because it trained young photographers to create documentary images despite the decline of the magazines). While Cartier-Bresson mostly stopped taking pictures and returned to drawing, Cornell Capa became a self-made celebrity of the New York photo world through his leadership of the ICP. He curated shows, organized lectures and workshops, published the first monographs on Robert Capa, David Seymour, and others, and raised thousands of dollars to support his activities.149 Journalists portrayed him as “the mad Hungarian in rumpled slacks,” charming enough to recruit the likes of Jackie Onassis to his board of trustees (fig. 99).150 But like CartierBresson, Cornell began to dissociate himself and concerned photography from the market realities and contexts of photojournalism. In 1976 Cornell Capa explained that publishing photographs in books and showing them in exhibitions was “preferable from the photographer’s point of view than having his pictures published in Life, cluttered by all those ads. That was a miserable way to present your work, but it was the only way.”151 In so doing Cornell set up a false binary at a time when magazines were no longer an option anyway; when the ICP was the one organizing the publications and exhibits that Cornell praised; and when it was easy to critique the primary market that he and his Magnum colleagues had worked with for decades, because it had become a feature of the past. While attentive to photographic history and archives, he also built an institution that created a fairly conservative vision for the future of photography, with its emphasis on masters, solo exhibitions, and individual style. Although their underlying values of aestheticism and humanism may at first appear contradictory, the decisive moment and concerned photography became two sides of the same coin that Magnum employed generously to position itself as a unique player in the picture supply market. Thus on the occasion of the first major retrospective on Magnum in 1989, readers learned that to understand Magnum, they needed to see Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa as archetypes of the essential qualities of photojournalism and as the two poles of the agency. While Capa represented the documentary aspect of photography, Cartier-Bresson represented the personal, subjective vision and the idea that photography was self-sufficient without text.152 Magnum’s mythmaking, like its photojournalism, has always depended on a careful process of editing and selection in order to get the story sold, published, and displayed. The only plausible definition of “Magnum” is its photography, concluded a 2017 retrospective.153 But what about that other “veritable flood” of material that Cornell Capa did not mention as such, though he was certainly aware of it?154 Magnum’s enormous paper archive attests to the daily grind of its organizational history, with all of its memos, charts, unedited picture files, and the long hours put in by John Morris, Sam Holmes, and Inge Bondi. “Action, Action, Action,” it calls out, demanding we re-edit the agency’s story.



CONCLUSION The Magnum Archive


2015, Inge Bondi sent me a packet of documents from her personal archive in Princeton, New Jersey. I had interviewed Bondi the previous month about her involvement in Magnum’s advertising campaigns and exhibitions. Fearing that her memory had been faulty, she took it upon herself to dig up some papers for my use. At the top of the pile she placed a Xeroxed copy of a group photograph of Magnum, which the Society for Photographic Education had published on the cover of its magazine in 1982 (fig. 100).1 The bodies and faces were dark and blotchy, but Bondi was able to make out each one. I quickly recognized a number of photographers, but what excited me were the other people—the ones I had often read about in Magnum’s correspondence but whose faces I had never seen. Bondi pointed out that Olga Brodsky, the New York bookkeeper, was standing next to Allen Brown, the messenger who picked up film from labs and delivered stories to editors. Behind Seemah, a secretary in New York, was Sam Holmes, the manager of Magnum’s picture library and advocate of stock photo sales. To his left was Magnum’s Paris bureau chief Trudy Feliu, who worked with all the European sales N EARLY MARCH



inge Bondi’s annotated Xerox and the original cover of Exposure (1982) featuring Bert stern’s portrait of Magnum photographers and staff circa 1957. Author’s collection.

agents and editors. sitting on the floor was the executive editor John Morris, arms crossed and expression firm. And at the center, looking coolly at the camera, was inge Bondi herself—the ad woman of Magnum. Though the organization deals in photographs, images are rather bad at capturing the complex and collaborative nature of Magnum’s history. Bondi’s diagram, however, comes close to a summation of this book. With its nearly one-to-one ratio of photographers to staff, this unintended network visualization—which inspired this book’s frontispiece—asks us to see individual Magnum photographers alongside the other people who made the agency function.2 Because most of these figures occupied multiple roles within Magnum, the diagram also points to the challenge of capturing the bustle and pace of the agency’s activities, which is at odds with the traditional, linear narrative of history writing. With its black spots and crossedout names and dates, this far-from-perfect copy (of a 1957 photograph, printed in a 1982 magazine, and decoded in 2015) is indicative of the multiple phases of reproduction and repurposing that Magnum’s images went through. The fact that Bondi saved this old magazine cover among many other documents is a testament to the kind of extensive documentation and record-keeping involved in running a photographic agency, and inadvertently creating an archive. And that Bondi decided i would find value in this image shows what made her so good at her job. once again, the right picture got to the right person. 226


By the time i received Bondi’s package, i had already learned that the “no Magnum archive” narrative was misleading. There was no single defining collection of documents and no roadmap of where to find its papers when i started, but there were multiple private and public collections kept by former Magnum staff, photographers, and established institutions such as the center for creative Photography and the international center of Photography. Most of these collections had a mix of images (in the form of negatives, contact sheets, press prints, and exhibition prints) and paper records (caption lists, story research, business documents, correspondence, and tear sheets of published work). The individual archives were limited by their focus on a particular photographer, era, or market (in the case of “client” archives kept by Standard Oil or the book publisher richard Simon), but together they added up to a vast amount of surviving material about the agency. The problem, i found, was not scraping together a few new documents, but rather finding ways to read, synthesize, and keep straight the vast amount of information that Magnum’s archive contained. For much of Magnum’s existence—roughly from the 1950s to the 1990s—the agency’s “archive” seemed to consist of a relatively small number of photographs that were sold, collected, and displayed amid a steadily growing art market for photography. in dozens of exhibitions and lavishly designed books about Magnum or its most famous photographers, photographs were valued for their image content—that is, for what they said about the past and about the art of photography as practiced by Magnum photographers. Thus in 1985, After the War Was Over: 168 Masterpieces by Magnum Photographers showed “cartier-Bresson documenting the forlorn russian deportees trudging back home from a dismembered germany; robert capa capturing the excitement of the new Look at a 1947 Paris fashion show; David Seymour confronting an aging whore plying her trade in rubble-strewn essen.”3 nearly silent about the practice of photojournalism, such Magnum retrospectives were not about Magnum’s history as much as they were “visual histories” of the postwar era, influenced by their own moments’ anxieties about photography.4 in 2001, a Magnum book insisted that for the agency, “all of it was simply in the pictures. . . . The pictures had their own status, their own right to exist, to teach, to speak, to be observed in their own terms.”5 Magnum’s photographs were allowed to speak for decades, often through the efforts of curators and scholars invited to “read” the agency’s history through images. Many reached for the biographies of Magnum’s founders to flesh out some historical details, but the results were often unsatisfying because they reduced Magnum to a menagerie of brilliant personalities. When the first major retrospective book on Magnum appeared in 1989, John Morris was sad about how little space had been given to george rodger, the least known of the founders. But he also articulated a bigger problem with how the agency’s history was framed. “i find the photographers’ ‘artistic’ egos sadly over-exposed. . . . Most of the time most of us were scrambling to make a living. We didn’t even consider that what we were doing was ‘art’. history, perhaps. The forces of the market are virtually ignored. Only a few photographers enjoyed the luxury of doing what they truly wanted to do.”6 What would it take to rearticulate Magnum’s archive and thus arrive at a different history of the agency? The historian Peter Fritzsche once observed that “for archives to collect the The MagnuM archive


past, the past has to come to mind as something imperiled and distinctive.”7 After decades of suggesting that it was all in the pictures, Magnum found its organizational past imperiled at the turn of the twenty-first century when the photojournalism industry transitioned to digital technology. starting in the 1990s, libraries of countless picture agencies were sold, merged, relicensed, and ultimately subsumed by such media giants as Getty images. Magnum turned itself into a fully digital sales and licensing operation, and it continues to operate independently.8 The eight-by-ten-inch prints that Allan Brown had once hand-delivered to editors were no longer necessary for their image content, but they became valuable as the material traces of running an agency in the analog era.9 in 2010 MsD Capital, the private investment firm of Michael s. Dell, purchased two hundred thousand press prints from the agency’s new York photo library spanning Magnum’s entire history. Today the Magnum Photos Collection lives at the Harry Ransom Center at the university of Texas in Austin, valued as a relic of a disappearing technology and an archive of “vintage prints” that capture “the events and spirit of the 20th century in a way that only Magnum photojournalists can.”10 in 2013 a thoughtful exhibition highlighted the materiality of the collection—especially the information contained on the backs of prints—but its focus on the photographs meant that like so many Magnum shows before it, the exhibit was more about the dizzying variety of events and personalities Magnum photographed since 1947 rather than the operations of Magnum itself. The agency’s business papers, memos, and tear sheets were notably absent from the Dell sale, but considering that Magnum’s continued success depends in part on shaping its identity and telling its own history, it is not surprising that they did not go to the Ransom Center. instead, part of the money from the Dell sale allowed Magnum to support a budding initiative started by the photographers a few years prior: an organization now called the Magnum Foundation. Created in 2007, the foundation is meant to empower young documentary photographers and to preserve Magnum’s own history in a “world . . . exposed to a constant stream of content—often lacking important context.”11 The moment in which the Magnum Foundation was founded was not unlike the one Cornell Capa experienced in the sixties that led him to institutionalize the archives of Robert Capa and establish the iCP. Both saw the decline of existing platforms that supported in-depth photographic reporting. Both aimed to support young photographers committed to a socially engaged, documentary practice but who had few resources or institutional support. Both began publishing books mostly about Magnum photographers, and both maintain a repository of archives. Time and again, Magnum photographers have responded to the changes in the photography market by thinking about how to better market their work and how to define their institutional legacy. led by the Magnum photographer susan Meiselas, the Magnum Foundation had initially planned to collect materials that would track “the transformation in [Magnum’s] practice from the analog to digital era”—including tear sheets, photographers’ portfolios, and financial records. But when she saw Magnum staff throwing out old papers during an office move in 2012, Meiselas took a few interns into the new York City dumpsters and began pulling out documents that predated the digital turn.12 Though most of its time and resources are dedicated to supporting new documentary photography projects, the 228


Magnum Foundation has continued to collect archival material about the agency’s early history, calling on photographers’ children, spouses, and former staff to deposit the boxes in their attics and basements with the institution. Like the icP, which made “concerned photography” a central pillar of Magnum’s brand, today the Magnum Foundation is slowly changing the way Magnum is telling its history: not simply through photographs, but with recourse to the organization’s business history, using excerpts from key documents held by the foundation to show that Magnum’s founders were as entrepreneurial as they were “concerned.”13 Yet in-house agency histories are necessarily promotional material.14 even when they draw on their own archival records, they are often filled with hyperbolic language about the aesthetic and cultural power of their images and abundant claims about being “first” or “the only” in the business of photojournalism.15 as the first independent scholarly work on early Magnum, this book has relied on a plethora of archival documents to both question Magnum’s mythologies and offer an alternative history.16 i have looked at Magnum not on its own terms, and not only in the context of what was happening in the world it documented, but in relation to the much larger business of producing and selling photographs after World War ii. Driven to make a living from freelance photography, Magnum’s photographers figured out how to sell their photo essays to a host of publications with different audiences and editorial politics. at the same time that Magnum worked with John Morris to show the universality of human experience for Ladies’ Home Journal (discussed in chapter 2), its photographers also shot stories that often upheld the america-centric, cold War politics of Life (chapter 3). They worked with Holiday editors to make travel into photographic news (chapter 4). as they positioned themselves as supertourists, they became the subjects of their own stories in Holiday and in National Geographic, and they got themselves hired to document the global expansion of american industries, from cinema to oil exploration (chapter 5). although i have divided Magnum’s activities into distinctive chapters dealing with humanitarian-like photography, news pictures, travel photojournalism, and industrial work, all of these markets overlapped. Magnum’s pictures sold and circulated widely precisely because they crossed boundaries, working as news and advertising, legible in the u.S. and in France, germany, and elsewhere. By reselling their photographs to multiple magazines in the u.S. and around the world, Magnum’s photographers helped make news pictures the visual vernacular of the postwar world. Drawing on thousands of pages from the Magnum archive has also allowed me to recount the development of the young agency, focusing for the first time on its clients and many of the staff in Bondi’s diagram. Photographers still drive much of the story here, but i have looked at how they produced their iconic and forgotten projects in order to show a different side to the big names in Magnum. These were photographers who struggled to get visas, take good pictures, write accurate captions, sell their work, and clean up their files. They were entrepreneurs and team players; editors and reporters. To give them less credit would underestimate what a photojournalist’s career entailed. While the content of Magnum’s archive informs the first five chapters, the very scale and dispersed nature of Magnum’s documents tell another story about the agency.17 Before The MagnuM archive


they became archival documents, Magnum’s papers were the material tools of running an organization. The hundreds of letters between photographers, staff, and editors that are now piled up around the world, often in duplicate, show the importance of weekly conversations about the changing market, upcoming stories, and hundreds of other topics. Photographers could not afford to lose touch with the Magnum offices, no matter how far away they were. Most of all, the quantity of paper that Magnum left insists that the neat narratives we regularly hear about the agency are distillations of a much bigger, and messier, history. Thus in the last chapter, i have put Magnum’s material overload into conversation with the major discourses that the agency established about itself in the 1950s and 1960s, when “decisive moments” and “concerned photography” helped Magnum to distinguish its production from the other photographs being made in the decades following World War ii. Complicating Magnum’s mythologies is essential precisely because those myths have shaped popular and academic histories of photography.18 “The founders of Magnum could never have imagined how supersaturated with images our world has become in the past fifty years,” Michael ignatieff wrote at the turn of the twenty-first century, when many were debating the “end” of photography amid the rise of digital images.19 But couldn’t they have? instead of distancing the young agency from all that is now happening online and on our phones, it would be more accurate to see Magnum as a decisive network of early adapters. in the late 1940s, Capa had no illusions about the various markets springing up for photography after the war. He wanted Magnum to anticipate those market trends in every way possible—even by creating a video department and getting into television.20 Cartier-Bresson pushed Magnum to upgrade its film editing equipment.21 Capa, Rodger, and Haas actively experimented with color photography. Erich Hartmann’s interest in science and industry led him to cultivate long-term relationships with companies such as iBM, whose experiments shaped his own work. in the 1960s he thought about how photography could capture something as removed from sight as voice recognition technology. He was also the first Magnum photographer to acquire a computer. in the 1980s and 1990s he encouraged the agency to think systematically about working in and archiving digital photography, and he used his own computer to create the first thorough chronology of Magnum’s history and membership.22 surely Magnum’s founders were at the center of the saturated image culture after World War ii, and so were the other people in inge Bondi’s Xeroxed, marked-up picture—including Morris, Holmes, and Bondi herself. Rather than resisting the tide of the market and new technologies, Magnum’s team dove right in. its archive has as much to teach us about postwar photojournalism as it does about the digital era, which only amplified the networked and commercial history of photography in which Magnum participated so willingly—and so skillfully.




alone,” wrote Marshall McLuhan, and the same goes for writing a book. This one certainly would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and institutions. I began this project at the University of Southern California, where a Provost’s Fellowship and funding from the Department of Art History, the Science and Technology Research Cluster, and the Visual Studies Research Institute allowed me to travel to archives. A Mellon Foundation/American Council on Learned Societies Dissertation Completion Fellowship supported my last year of writing away from Los Angeles. Since then, the Ryerson Image Centre, the Center for Creative Photography, Yale University, and a Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art supported new research and gave me the time and resources to revise the dissertation into a book. I feel fortunate to have met a number of people who were involved in early Magnum and who are continuing to shape its legacy today. In Paris, John G. Morris entrusted me with his copy of the Magnum archive after our first meeting, and he encouraged me to travel to the University of Chicago to see the rest of his papers. I am sorry that he passed away before this book’s completion. Inge Bondi welcomed me “NOBODY CAN COMMIT PHOTOGRAPHY


at her home in Princeton. she shared memories, happily answered emails, and gave me copies of valuable documents from her archive. Ruth Hartmann graciously accommodated me at her home in new York and has helped me navigate erich Hartmann’s archives and legacy on multiple occasions. In england, Jinx Rodger gave me unimpeded access to her and george Rodger’s papers and was terrific company during my time in smarden. In Israel, micha and orna Bar-Am shared memories of cornell capa and their association with magnum before and after 1967. I thank noam gal at the Israel museum and Ruth Iskin at Ben gurion University for facilitating our meeting and for their encouragement as I immersed myself in Israeli photography and visual culture. elliott erwitt patiently answered my questions while mio nakamura tracked down all of the materials I wanted to see. Yukiko lanois graciously answered many questions about her work in the Black star picture library, and I am grateful to Paul Roth for the introduction. And in desert Hot springs, Phil gittelman shared his experiences at magnum Films. the magnum Foundation let me into its archive when it was still housed in a public storage closet in chelsea. my foremost thanks to susan meiselas, as well as kristen lubben, Ryan Buckley, and kate Phillips for facilitating my research. John Jacob kindly allowed me to work in Inge morath’s papers as they were being packed up for their move to Yale, while marco Bischof shared digital copies of his father’s archive. At the International center of Photography, I benefited from the guidance of maya Benton, mathew carson, emily dunne, claartje van dijk, and cynthia Young. Aude Raimbault and Agnes sire welcomed me at the Fondation Henri cartier-Bresson and provided me with additional research assistance when I could not get back to Paris. leslie squyres shepherded me through nearly a dozen collections at the center for creative Photography while emily weirich happily shared her knowledge of digital humanities methods. daniel goldstein and Jenny Hodge at Uc davis’s shields library helped me track down and later reproduce pages from Holiday magazine. I am also grateful for the help of staff at the Beinecke Rare Book and manuscript library at Yale University; the Rare Books and manuscript library at columbia University; the Harry Ransom center at the University of texas at Austin; the getty Research Institute; the museum of modern Art Archives; the Archives and special collections at the University of louisville; the smithsonian Institution Archives; the national Archives and Records Administration; the new York Historical society; and the Usc libraries. For help arranging the rights to magnum’s images, I thank michael shulman and Pauline Vermar. I thank thierry gervais, charlene Heath, Paul Roth, and gaëlle morel for welcoming me at the Ryerson Image centre and for helping me think more deeply about the work of photo agencies through my research into Black star. my time at Yale allowed me crystallize my thoughts on magnum’s archive and the role of its staff. I am grateful to laura wexler for her mentorship, and to the digital Humanities lab team for their enthusiastic collaboration on a digital project that improved this book’s structure and arguments: catherine deRose, douglas duhaime, Peter leonard, and especially monica ong Reed, who turned my ideas into custom visualizations and contributed a number of illustrations to this book. eliyahu stern welcomed me into Yale’s Jewish studies writing group and together with Allyson 232


Gonzalez, Adam Stern, and Gabor Toth offered wise suggestions on my chapter on Life magazine. Colleagues far and wide helped me make sense of my research. I am grateful for invitations to share work in progress at Hunter College, the Maison Française in Oxford, the New York Public Library, the Princeton Art Museum, the Ryerson Image Center, the Rocky Mountain Interdisciplinary History Conference, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the University of Saint Thomas, the University of Vienna, the Photographic Memory Workshop at Yale University, York University, and the annual meetings of the College Art Association and the Association for Jewish Studies. A number of the ideas in this book were first developed in articles, including “Never Alone: Photo Editing and Collaboration,” in Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News, edited by Jason E. Hill and Vanessa Schwartz (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015); “The Decisive Network: Producing Henri Cartier-Bresson at MidCentury,” History of Photography 40, no. 2 (May 2016); “Their Daily Bread: American Sponsorship and Magnum Photos’ Global Network,” American Art 31, no. 2 (Summer 2017); “From Antifascism to Humanism: The Legacies of Robert Capa’s Spanish Civil War Photography,” in Visualizing Fascism, edited by Geoff Eley and Julia Adney Thomas (Durham: Duke University Press, 2020, forthcoming); and “Photo Essays at Life,” in LIFE Magazine and the Power of Photography, edited by Katherine Bussard and Kristen Gresh (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020, forthcoming). I thank the editors, publishers, and reviewers for their insightful comments and enthusiastic support. I benefited from many fruitful conversations with Deborah Achtenberg, Stuart Alexander, Estelle Blaschke, Monica Bravo, A. D. Coleman, Rachel Deblinger, Dennis Dworkin, Kristen Gresh, Steven Hoelscher, Brian Jacobson, Vincent Lavoie, Marion Krammer, Kelly Midori McCormick, Mary Panzer, Antonella Pelizarri, Sam Spinner, Sally Stein, Margarethe Szeless, Jennifer Tucker, Nicholas Underwood, Brian Wallace, Carol Zemel, and Andrés Mario Zervigón. Michael Leja, David Lubin, Alexander Nemerov, and Fred Turner offered encouragement and guidance on the craft of writing. Jason Hill was always happy to mull over ideas and delight in print media. Catherine Clark has been a generous interlocutor, steadfast editor, and dedicated friend. Her comments on this manuscript were invaluable in making it cohere as a book. That I became a historian of photography is in large part due to David Shneer. He has been an ally, critic, reader, collaborator, and friend for over a decade, and I thank him for every lesson about work and life. At USC I learned a great deal from Daniela Bleichmar, Kate Flint, Suzanne Hudson, Mia Mizuta, Karen Lang, and Paul Lerner. Students in the art history department and the Visual Studies Research Institute helped me think more deeply while offering terrific friendship: Sam Adams, Jonathan Dentler, Matthew Fox-Amato, Rika Hiro, Megan Mastroianni, Bess Murphy, Aaron Rich, Steven Samols, MacKenzie Stevens, Lana Swartz, Kay Wells, and above all Brendan McMahon and Lida Sunderland. I am indebted to members of the Visual Studies and Cinema Studies writing group for reading key chapters early on: Umayyah Cable, Samantha Carrick, Allison Kozberg, Ellen Macfarlane, C. C. Marsh, Luci Marzola, Joshua Mitchell, Kate Page-Lippsmeyer, Roxanne Samer, Lana Swartz, and Stephanie Sparling Williams, and ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


especially laura serna and Jennifer greenhill, who offered leadership and guidance. my committee members megan luke and Richard meyer offered profound insights into the art of looking at and writing about photography. I owe most to the relentless enthusiasm, generosity, and brilliant guidance of Vanessa schwartz. Vanessa challenged me to hone my ideas, to read widely, and to travel far and wide since the first day I suggested there might be something more to say about magnum. she has made the team a family, and I hope that like her, I will always think big and help others win. I was sustained by the community and friendship of many wonderful people as I worked on this project. my love and thanks go foremost to Anthe Bova, as well as to Jonathan Astmann, Yani dickens, gregg drinkwater, liron elkan, stephanie gibson, Jeff gingold, Ben karl, suzy and evan klass, sana krasikov, marty and steve matles, Jessica marglin, Rebecca metter, nuri miller, Beth oelberger, Becky Patel, nathan Perl-Rosenthal, Paul Baker Prindle, david Rondel, suzanne silvermann, Jane townley, and Jessica Younger. For their loving hospitality over the years, and for welcoming me into their family, I thank cindy Potthast and craig woods. For hosting me during my research trips, my thanks to dana Astmann and cynthia miller, susanna and Puran Bair, Anthe and matthew Bova, daniel nerenberg and Rochelle Arms, miriam stanton, and lida sunderland and mark simpson. without the teachings of manouso manos and Paul cabanis, this work of the mind would not have been possible. my parents, Vladimir strizhevsky and oksana Volgina, put me on this path by encouraging my intellectual pursuits and reminding me to cultivate my full self. my grandparents, mera and Abram strizhevskiy, z”l, and emma and Vilen Volgin, lived through world war II and restarted their lives in postwar moscow. their stories shaped my interest in the war and its aftermath, and their resilience and creativity allowed me to flourish in the old country and new. this book is dedicated to ethan Bair, who has been my rock and source of unwavering love at every stage. You, and now chaya miriam, make every day worth it.





1. Susan Moeller’s Shooting War: Photography and the American Experience of Combat (New York: Basic Books, 1989) is still best for understanding American wartime photography. On Britain, see Jorge Lewinski, The Camera at War: A History of War Photography from 1848 to the Present Day (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978), 93–136. On the USSR see David Shneer, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010). 2. Magnum Photos certificate of incorporation, May 22, 1947, in Clément Chéroux in collaboration with Clara Bouveresse, Magnum Manifesto (London: Thames & Hudson, 2017), 37–39. 3. Mary Blume, After the War Was Over: 168 Masterpieces by Magnum Photographers (London: Thames & Hudson, 1985); William Manchester et al., In Our Time: The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers (New York: The American Federation of Arts in association with WW Norton, 1989); Michael Ignatieff, Magnum Degrees (London: Phaidon, 2000); Chris Boot, Magnum Stories (London: Phaidon, 2004); Kristen Luben, Magnum Contact Sheets (London: Thames & Hudson, 2011); Steven Hoelscher, ed., Reading Magnum: A Visual Archive of the Modern World (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013); Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto. All of these volumes were created in some form of collaboration with Magnum.






8. 9.

10. 11.



With the exception of Cynthia Young, ed., We Went Back: Photographs from Europe, 1933–1956 by Chim (New York: International Center of Photography and Prestel, 2013), and Capa in Color (Munich: Prestel Publishing, 2014). With the exception of Blume, all of the volumes in note 3, as well as Clara Bouvresse’s Histoire de l’Agence Magnum—L’art d’être photographe (Paris: Flammarion, 2017), span Magnum’s entire history from 1947 to the present, often looking back to explain the causes of Magnum’s success and longevity. In the U.S., photography was adopted as a subfield of art history between the 1930s and 1960s. The idea of a pure photographic practice—untethered to the market, emerging from the eye of the artist, and centering on photography’s unique formal qualities—dominated discussions of the medium, as did art historical methods of biography and formal analysis. The social historians of art paved the way for new approaches to photography, most notably Elizabeth Ann McCauley, Industrial Madness: Commercial Photography in Paris, 1848–1871 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994). In the twenty-first century, art historians have increasingly turned their attention to the mass nature of photography, including its engagement with the press. Douglas Nickel, “History of Photography: The State of Research,” Art Bulletin, September 2001, 548–558, and François Brunet, “Robert Taft: Historian of Photography as a Mass Medium,” American Art 27, no. 3 (Summer 2013), 25–32. Leading scholars of the post-1945 period have looked at the political and economic dimensions of recovery and examined the experiences of displaced populations largely without accounting for visual culture and the illustrated press in this transitional period. Wolfgang Schivelbush, In a Cold Crater: Cultural and Intellectual Life in Berlin, 1945–1948 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (New York: Penguin Press, 2005); Atina Grossmann, Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007). By mythical I refer, in Roland Barthes’s sense of the term, to a repetitive and distorting narrative that lacks historical specificity. Roland Barthes, Mythologies (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972 [1957]). Influenced by literary studies, much excellent scholarship on photojournalism reads pictures on the page, including Erica Doss, ed., Looking at Life Magazine (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001), and Martin Berger, Seeing Through Race: A Reinterpretation of Civil Rights Photography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011). While contact sheets constitute one type of archive for photojournalism, their reproduction focuses readers’ attention on a photographer’s personal vision, often at the cost of social history. Sarah Greenough, Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans (Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2009), and Luben, Magnum Contact Sheets. Jason E. Hill and Vanessa R. Schwartz, eds., Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015), 105. Leading work on photography as the history of a practice, and which shaped my study, are Catherine Clark, Paris and the Cliché of History: The City and Photographs, 1860–1970 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018); Elizabeth Edwards, The Camera as Historian: Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination, 1885–1918 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012); and Shneer, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes. I was not able to get access to Magnum’s Paris archive. Examining Magnum’s relationship to its European client base would facilitate a better understanding of American influences on European periodicals and advertisements after World War II. It would complicate our understanding of post1945 Europe by demonstrating how publications differed in their reproduction of Magnum stories about such issues as the war in Algeria or life behind the Iron Curtain. It would also ask us to grap-


13. 14.









ple with European networks of picture editors who influenced exhibitions, book publishing, and the commercial sale of photography in the fifties and sixties, including Roger Therond, editor of Paris Match, and the book publisher Robert Delpire. Hill and Schwartz, eds., Getting the Picture, 3. My definition of Magnum’s photography may be likened to what James L. Hevia calls a “photo complex”: a system of many different actors (human and nonhuman), and a set of daily practices and processes rather than simply a collection of images or a few elite photographers. James L. Hevia, “The Photography Complex: Exposing Boxer-Era China 1900–1901, Making Civilization,” in Photographies East: The Camera and Its Histories in East and Southeast Asia, ed. R. C. Morris (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), 79–119, and Tom Allbeson and Pippa Oldfield, “War, Photography, Business New Critical Histories,” Journal of War and Culture Studies 9, no. 2 (May 2016), 94–114. Three of the Magnum founders were already known as war photographers from the Spanish Civil War (Capa and Seymour) and World War II (Capa and Rodger). Numerous biographies, autobiographies, and exhibitions have focused on the photographers’ war coverage, including Richard Whelan, This Is War! Robert Capa at War (New York: International Center of Photography, 2007), and Cynthia Young, ed., The Mexican Suitcase: The Rediscovered Spanish Civil War Negatives of Capa, Chim, and Taro (New York: International Center of Photography, 2010). A lasting critique of Magnum’s war photography is Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003), while Anne Wilkes Tucker, War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), shows the ongoing interest in this genre. Recognizing the constructed nature of all photographs, I refrain from calling their news pictures “objective”—a concept that has been treated extensively, including in Dona Schwartz, “Objective Representation: Photographs as Facts” in Picturing the Past: Media, History and Photography, eds. Bonnie Brennen and Hanno Hardt (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999), 158–181. Particularly through the work of Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt, whose MONY Life Insurance advertisements are reproduced for the first time in Jessica S. McDonald, ed., Elliott Erwitt: Home Around the World (New York: Aperture, 2016). Still influential for defining the characteristics of humanist photography is Peter Hamilton, “Representing the Social: France and Frenchness in Post-war Humanist Photography,” in Representations: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, ed. Stuart Hall (London: Sage Publications, 1997), 75–150. Jean-Claude Gautrand, “Looking at Others: Humanism and Neo-realism,” in A New History of Photography, ed. Michel Frizot et al. (Cologne: Könemann Press, 1998), 612–639; Ignatieff, Magnum Degrees; Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto. On how written inscriptions become accepted as fact see Bruno Latour, “Drawing Things Together,” in Representation in Scientific Practice, ed. M. Lynch and S. Woolgar (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990), 19–68. Marion Krammer and Margarethe Szeless, “The Cold War of Pictures: Framing Returning Prisoners of War in Austria’s Illustrated Press,” History of Photography 42, no. 4 (2018), 376–391, here 379. On the universalizing and dehistoricizing power of newspaper and magazine captions accompanying Holocaust photographs see Barbie Zelizer, Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory through the Camera’s Eye (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998). Critics and scholars have traced this paradigm back to the documentary photographs of Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine in early twentieth-century America, as well as to the Great Depression–era photographs of the Farm Security Administration. Cornell Capa, The Concerned Photographer, vol. 2 (New York: Grossman Publishers with the International Fund for Concerned Photography, 1972);




24. 25.



28. 29.




33. 34.


Newhall, History of Photography, 235–246; Louis Kaplan, American Exposures: Photography and Community in the Twentieth Century (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 48–49. A range of works have employed this selective chronology with regard to humanism, including Catherine A. Lutz and Jane L. Collins, Reading National Geographic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 59–61, and Blake Stimson, “What Was Humanism?” Either/And (May 30, 2013), accessed April 1, 2016, Martina Caruso, Italian Humanist Photography from Fascism to the Cold War (New York: Bloomsbury, 2016), offers a predominantly European lineage for the genre while acknowledging the pivotal role of Family of Man. Roland Barthes, Mythologies, 101–102. Another starting point for “postwar” photography is the 1955 publication of Robert Frank’s photo book The Americans. See Blake Stimson, The Pivot of the World: Photography and Its Nation (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006), and Greenough, Looking In. Histories of Holocaust photography are some of the only sources on photography in the late 1940s, most notably Zelizer, Remembering to Forget, and Shneer, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes. Alan Brinkley, The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century (New York: Random House, 2010); Chris Vials, “The Popular Front in the American Century: Life Magazine, Margaret BourkeWhite, and Consumer Realism, 1936–1941,” American Periodicals 16, no.1 (2006), 74–102; Wendell L. Wilkie, One World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1943). On Wilkie’s cultural influence, see Jenifer Van Vleck, Empire of the Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy (Cambridge: Harvard University, 2013), 109–113. Among these Judt, Postwar; Mark Mazower, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); and Jay Winter, Dreams of Peace and Freedom Utopian Moments in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006). Julian Huxley, UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy (Paris: UNESCO, 1946), 5. Christopher Endy, Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004); Victoria di Grazia, Irresistible Empire: America’s Advance Through Twentieth Century Europe (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2005); Vanessa Schwartz, It’s So French! Hollywood, Paris and the Making of Cosmopolitan Film Culture. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007); Richard K. Popp, The Holiday Makers: Magazines, Advertising, and Mass Tourism in Postwar America (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2012). Notable exceptions are Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making the Way for Modernity, 1920–1940 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), and Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); Michele Bogart, Artists, Advertising, and the Borders of Art (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), and Vanessa Schwartz’s Jet Age Aesthetic: The Glamour of Media in Motion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020, forthcoming). While this subject awaits a definitive study, existing work on image banks and stock photographs shows how corporations shaped visual culture. Paul Frosh, The Image Factory: Consumer Culture, Photography, and the Visual Content Industry (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2003), and Estelle Blaschke, Banking on Images: The Bettman Archive and Corbis (Leipzig: Spector Books, 2016). Scholars looking at large collections and archives of photographs have been most successful at bridging the genres that often organize photo histories into subfields. See Clark, Paris and the Cliché of History, and Blaschke, Banking on Images. Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952). Catherine Clark, “A Decisive Moment, France, 1932,” in Hill and Schwartz, eds., Getting the Picture, 55–58.


35. My approach necessarily builds on art history’s tradition of studying the social context of art and the role of patrons, dealers, and workshops, ushered in with Michael Baxandall’s Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988 [1972]). With few notable exceptions, including McCauley’s Industrial Madness and Stephen Bann’s Parallel Lines: Printmakers, Painters, and Photographers in Nineteenth-Century France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), such methods are rarely implemented for the history of commercial photography. I looked to media histories for guidance on writing the history of a network: Anna McCarthy, The Citizen Machine: Governing by Television in 1950s America (New York: The New Press, 2010); Fred Turner, The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013); and Brian Hochman, Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014). 36. Howard Becker, Art Worlds (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2008 [1982]), xxiv. To identify patterns in the production of culture Becker relied heavily on the social historians of art before him, including Michael Baxandall (see note 35) and the print scholar William Ivins. On the particular value of networked approaches for the history of the press, see John Fagg, et al., “Introduction: Networks and the Nineteenth Century Periodical,” American Periodicals 23, no. 2 (2013), 93–104. 37. On the challenges art historians face for thinking about the “the human-machine continuum” see Vanessa R. Schwartz, “Networks: Technology, Mobility, and Mediation in Visual Culture,” American Art 31, no. 2 (Summer 2017), 104–109. 38. Media anthropologist Zeynep Devrim Gürsel’s Image Brokers: Visualizing World News in the Age of Digital Circulation (Oakland: University of California Press, 2016) is indispensable for thinking about how images become news by traveling in certain networks. 39. From anthropological approaches to science and technology to Bruno Latour’s Actor Network Theory (ANT), network methods “share a passionate interest in the ways in which attention to practice reveals networks of collaboration that destabilize powerful theoretical constructs . . . that rest on claims to autonomous reason.” Hanna Knox, Mike Savage, and Penny Harvey, “Social Networks and the Study of Relations: Networks as Method, Metaphor, and Form,” Economy and Society 35 (2006), 113–140, here 127. 40. John Bidwell, Graphic Passion: Matisse and the Book Arts (Philadelphia: Penn State Press & The Morgan Library, 2015); Richard Benson, The Printed Picture (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008). 41. Gürsel, Image Brokers; Thierry Gervais in collaboration with Gaëlle Morel, The Making of Visual News (New York: Bloomsbury, 2017); Jason Hill, Artist as Reporter: Weegee, Ad Reinhardt, and the PM News Picture (Oakland: University of California Press, 2018); and Krammer and Szeless, “The Cold War of Pictures.” 42. Claude Cookman, “Henri Cartier-Bresson Reinterprets His Career,” History of Photography 32, no. 1 (2008), 59–73, offers a helpful overview of the changes in photography criticism after 1945. 43. McCarthy, Citizen Machine; Turner, Democratic Surround. 44. Jan Tischold quoted in Blaschke, Banking on Images, 36. CHAPTER 1

1. Maria Eisner noted that the restaurant was in the penthouse of MOMA in Harvey V. Fondiller, “Magnum—Image and Reality” 35mm Photography (Winter 1976), 60, while Russell Miller notes it was on the second floor. Russell Miller, Fifty Years at the Front Line of History (New York: Grove Press, 1997), 60. 2. Vandivert told Rodger that “Len Spooner is over here now, has been sitting in on our discussions.” Rita Vandivert to George and Cicely Rodger, May 19, 1947, Archive of George and Jinx Rodger (GJRA). NOTES TO CHAPTER 1


3. Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto, 13. 4. Chris Boot is one of many to note that Magnum’s vision for a collective came out of the 1930s environment of French antifascism, the Popular Front, and the movement for worker’s rights. Boot, Magnum Stories, 5. On photography collectives of the interwar period see Beaumont Newhall, “Photo Eye of the 1920s: The Deutscher Werkbund Exhibition of 1929” in Public Photographic Spaces: Propaganda Exhibitions from Pressa to The Family of Man, 1928–55, ed. Jorge Ribalta (Museu D’Art Contemporani de Barcelona: 2009). 5. Bouveresse, Histoire de l’agence; Howard Chapnick, Truth Needs No Ally: Inside Photojournalism (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1994), 114; Gürsel, Image Brokers, 53; Hamilton, “Representing the Social,” 144. 6. Magnum Photos certificate of incorporation, May 22, 1947, in Clément Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto, 37–39. 7. Thierry Gervais, “ ‘Le Plus grand des photographes de guerre’: Jimmy Hare, Photoreporter au tournant du XIXe et du XXe siècle,” Études photographiques 26 (November 2010), 11–34. 8. Gervais, Making of Visual News, 14–19, and Jennifer Tucker, “Famished for News Pictures: Mason Jackson, The Illustrated London News, and the Pictorial Spirit,” in Hill and Schwartz, eds., Getting the Picture, 213–220. 9. The halftone was patented in 1882 but it was not until the early 1890s that the Levy brothers in Philadelphia developed a version that could withstand industrial production and yield an image of sufficient quality. Publishers continued to rely on illustrations and engravings, producing what Gervais calls “hybrid” images, with the halftone winning out as the primary way to publish press pictures by the early twentieth century. Gervais, Making of Visual News, 20–25; Blaschke, Banking on images, 24, and Neil Harris, “Iconography and Intellectual History: The Halftone Effect” in Cultural Excursions: Marketing Appetites and Cultural Tastes in Modern America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980). 10. Blaschke, Banking on Images, 41. As Blaschke notes, scholars have acknowledged the importance of the press while often neglecting the role of advertising and other “utilitarian” uses of photography that increased the medium’s visibility and encouraged formal innovation. 11. Many of these early agencies specialized in photographic genres, including aviation, sports, society events, architecture, and fashion. As competition increased, agencies began to diversify their products in order to take advantage of new markets, and to better manage and exploit their growing picture archives. Michel Frizot and Cedric de Veigy, VU: The Story of a Magazine (London: Thames & Hudson, 2009), 13–15. 12. Not all editors embraced the Leica right away and until the 1940s, agencies including United Press International, ACME, and International News Photos relied on medium format negatives, which did not need to be enlarged to create a photographic print. Blaschke, Banking on Images, 25. 13. Andrés Mario Zervigón, “Rotogravure and the Modern Aesthetic of News Reporting” in Hill and Schwartz, eds., Getting the Picture, 197–205. In the 1930s, most of Life’s photographs were reproduced by halftone on letterpress though occasional pages used rotogravure. “Speaking of Pictures . . . This Is How a Halftone is Made,” Life (July 19, 1937), 12–13. On the magazine’s Chicago-based printer Donnelley and Sons, see Melissa Renn, “Life in Color: Life Magazine and the Color Reproduction of Works of Art” in Bright Modernity: Color, Commerce, and Consumer Culture, ed. Regina Lee Blaszczyk and Uwe Spiekermann (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 167–226. 14. Michael Jennings, “Agriculture, Industry and the Birth of the Photo Essay in the Late Weimar Republic,” October 93 (Summer 2000), 23–56; Daniel H. Magilow, The Photography of Crisis: The Photo Essays of Weimar Germany (University Park: Penn State Univ. Press, 2012); Erica Wolf, “When Photographs Speak, to Whom Do They Talk? The Origins and Audience of SSSR na stroike (USSR in




16. 17.

18. 19. 20. 21.

22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

27. 28. 29.


Construction),” Left History 6, no. 2 (2000), 53–82; Michael Hallett, Stefan Lorant: Godfather of Photojournalism (Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, 2006); Nadya Bair, “Photo Essays at Life,” in Life Magazine and the Power of Photography, ed. Katherine Bussard and Kristen Gresh (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2020, forthcoming). Thomas Michael Gunther, Alliance Photo: Agence Photographique, 1934–1940 (Paris: Bibliotheque Historique de la Ville de Paris, 1988); Hallett, Stefan Lorant, 27–47; Françoise Denoyelle, La lumière de Paris, vol. 2 (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997); Robert Lebeck and Bodo Von Dewitz, Kiosk: A History of Photojournalism (Göttingen: Steidl Verlag, 2001). A classic account on the need for speed in news picture delivery appears in A. J. Ezickson, Get That Picture! The Story of the News Cameraman (New York: National Library Press, 1938), 33–48. Jonathan Dentler, “Cabled Images: Wire Photography and the Globalization of the Illustrated Press,” Transbordeur 3 (2019), 14–25; Oliver Boyd Barrett, “Global News Agencies,” in The Globalization of News, ed. Oliver Boyd Barrett and Terhi Rantanen (London: Sage Publications, 1998), 19–34. Radiophoto transmissions were also not uncommon in the 1920s. Barbie Zelizer, “Journalism’s Last Stand: Wirephoto and the Discourse of Resistance,” Journal of Communication 45, no. 2 (Spring 1995), 78–92. Gürsel, Image Brokers, 54–57, and “A Short History of Wire Service Photography,” in Hill and Schwartz, eds., Getting the Picture, 206–211. Dentler, “Cabled Images,” 15. Bernard Lebrun and Michel Lefebvre, Robert Capa: The Paris Years, 1933–1954 (New York: Abrams, 2011), 63; Russell Miller, Magnum: Fifty Years at the Front Line of History (New York: Grove Press, 1997), 24. Peter Galassi, “Old Worlds, Modern Times,” in Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century (New York: MOMA, 2012), 1. Peter Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work (New York: MOMA, 1987), and Young, The Mexican Suitcase. Gervais, Making of Visual News, 79. Jean Lacouture, “The Founders” in William Manchester et al., In Our Time: The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers, 47–61. Lynn Berger, “Photography Distinguishes Itself: Law and the Emerging Profession of Photography in the Nineteenth Century United States,” Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 2016; Anne McCauley, “Merely Mechanical: On the Origins of Photographic Copyright in France and Great Britain,” Association of Art Historians 31, no. 1 (2008), 57–78; Blaschke, Banking on Images, 34–35. Frizot and Veigy , VU, 14. Picture Post (December 3, 1938), 13. Nadya Bair, “From Antifascism to Humanism: The Legacies of Robert Capa’s Spanish Civil War Photography” in Visualizing Fascism, ed. Julia Adney Thomas and Geoff Eley (Durham: Duke University Press, 2020, forthcoming); and Michael Griffin, “The Great War Photographs: Constructing Myths of History and Photojournalism,” in Picturing the Past: Media, History and Photography, ed. Bonnie Brennen and Hanno Hardt (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999), 122–157. Zoe Smith, “Émigré Contributions to ‘Life’: The German Influence in the Development of America’s First Picture Magazine,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism, July 1982, and “The History of Black Star Picture Agency: ‘Life’s’ European Connection,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, August 1984. Hendrik Neubauer suggests that the relationship between Black Star and Life modeled the ties between BIZ and the Berlin agency Mauritius, founded by Ernst



31. 32.



35. 36.

37. 38.


40. 41.


43. 44. 45. 242

Mayer in 1929. Neubauer, “Inside Black Star: The History of an American Photojournalistic Agency,” in Black Star: 60 Years of Photojournalism, trans. Adri Van der Cloff et al. (Cologne: Könemann, 1997), 11. Robert Lehman, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). The agency’s work is now available at Neubauer, “Inside Black Star”; Frizot and de Veigny, VU, 13–15; Audrey Leblanc and Sebastien Dupuy, “Sygma exploite par Corbis: une autre histoire du photojournalisme,” Études Photographiques 35 (Spring 2017), 89–111; Michael Tarosian interview with Benjamin J. Chapnick, June 6, 2012, Black Star Collection, Ryerson Image Centre (RIC). Thierry Gervais cites his own and others’ quantitative analyses in Gervais, Making of Visual News, 94–96. I have found the same pattern from my own research into the contents of Life and its archive at the New York Historical Society. Before the start of WWII, Safranski even traveled back to Europe to scout out European photographers for the Hearst publications. Michael Tarosian, Black Star: Graybar Days (Toronto: Lumiere Press, 2013), 34, Black Star Collection, RIC. Blaschke, Banking on Images, 11. Of course, magazines also reused photographs taken by their photographers. The enormous Life Picture Library was exploited for decades by Time Inc.’s magazines (including Life, Fortune, and Time) as well as its sophisticated publishing program, which became a separate Time-Life Books division in 1961. In these books, which sold by the millions and proved highly profitable, magazine photographs became repackaged as illustrations of history. Robert Elson, Time Inc: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1941–1960 (New York: Atheneum, 1973), 480. Frosh, Image Factory, 36–37, and Gürsel, Image Brokers, 70–72. Frosh, Image Factory, 37. On the rhetoric of producing and selling photography in interwar Germany, see Olivier Lugon, “Photo Inflation: Image Profusion in German Photography, 1925–1945” History of Photography 32, no. 3 (2008), 219–234. Catherine E. Clark, “Capturing the Moment, Picturing History: Photographs of the Liberation of Paris,” American Historical Review (June 2016), 824–860. Across the channel, Herbert Mason’s 1940 photograph of Saint Paul’s Cathedral rising out of the flames during the Blitz became a potent symbol of British resilience because it harkened back to seventeenth-century images with the Great Fire of London. Tom Allbeson, “Visualizing Wartime Destruction and Postwar Reconstruction: Herbert Mason’s Photograph of St. Paul’s Revisited,” Journal of Modern History 87 (September 2015), 532–578. Gürsel, Image Brokers, 37–38. Moeller, Shooting War, 181. On radio during WWII see Stanley Cloud and Lynne Olson, The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Frontlines of Broadcast Journalism (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996). On the wartime rise of television news see Mike Conway, The Origins of Television News in America: The Visualizers of CBS in the 1940s (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2009). One hundred combat and fifty civilian photographers were assigned to cover the D-Day invasion and at least seventeen photographers and cameramen were called in to document the German surrender to General Eisenhower. Photographers and film crews accompanied each Allied unit as they entered prisoner of war and concentration camps. Moeler, Shooting War, 197; Loengard, Life Photographers, 136, 169–170. For one reconstruction of this history see Sylvie Lindeperg, Tom Mes, trans., Night and Fog: A Film in History (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014). Moeler, Shooting War, 181–183. Moeler, 195. Moeler, 181.


46. Loengard, Life Photographers, 200 and 219. Between 1940 and 1948, Life’s circulation nearly doubled from 2.86 million to 5.45 million. Baughman, “Who Read LIFE?” in Looking at Life, ed. Erica Doss (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001), 43–44. 47. An essential overview of photography beyond the press during World War II is F. Barrows Colton, “How We Fight with Photographs,” National Geographic 86, no. 3 (September 1944), 257–280. 48. David Seymour—“Chim” 1911–1956 (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1974), 8–9. Photo interpreters mostly used mathematical formulas and stereoscopic devices to translate the tones, shapes, and shadows in aerial reconnaissance photographs into information about enemy supplies and locations. 49. Whelan, Robert Capa: A Biography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985), 123, 181–182. On the controversies surrounding the production of the Falling Soldier, see Sally Stein, “Close-ups from Afar: Contested Framings of the Spanish Civil War in U.S. Print Media, 1936,” in Magazines, Modernity and War, ed. Jordana Mendelson (Madrid: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 2008), 117–139. 50. George Rodger, “75,000 Miles,” Life (August 10, 1942), 61. Some of the images from that feature had already appeared in the magazine as part of Rodger’s wartime coverage, including “Emir Abdullah,” Life (December 1, 1941), 67–70, and “Flight from Burma,” Life (June 8, 1942), 30–32. The story on Bourke-White appeared in the March 1, 1943, issue. Beth E. Wilson, “The Corporate Creation of the Photojournalist: Life Magazine and Margaret Bourke-White in World War II,” Journal of War and Culture Studies 9, no. 2 (May 2016), 133–150. 51. Moeler, Shooting War, 197. 52. Robert Capa, Slightly Out of Focus (New York: Henry Holt, 1947), 139–149. 53. John Hersey, “The Man Who Invented Himself,” The Magazine of the Year (September 1947), pagination unknown. Whelan, Robert Capa, 180–181. 54. Charles Herrick, “Follow the Film, Part 3” Photocritic International blog, accessed September 2, 2019, SHAEF not only censored film, but also had the power to select certain pictures for radio transmission to North America. SHAEF chose at least one photograph by Robert Capa, which it radioed to American papers in advance of Life’s publication and which was credited to the Signal Corps. A. D. Coleman, “Alternate History: Robert Capa on D-Day (44a),” Photocritic International blog, accessed September 2, 2019, 55. Film by other photographers—including Robert Sargent of the U.S. Coast Guard and Walter Rosenblum of the U.S. Army Signal Corps—also survived, and in the 1940s and 1950s their work was reproduced interchangeably with Capa’s. Robert Capa’s pictures became singled out in 1961 as part of the traveling exhibition Robert Capa: War Photographs, curated by Cornell Capa. A. D. Coleman, “Alternate History: Robert Capa on D-Day (34),” Photocritic International blog, accessed May 3, 2019, 56. A. D. Coleman, “Alternate History: Robert Capa on D-Day,” Exposure Magazine (February 12, 2019), accessed May 3, 2019, Though Capa caught the Chase out on time, he was delayed for over five hours getting off the ship and delivering his film. Acme’s Bert Brandt, who was also at Omaha and went back on the USS Carroll, submitted his film two hours earlier. Charles Herrick, “Follow the Film, Part 1,” Photocritic International blog, accessed September 2, 2019, /artandphoto/photocritic/2019/06/06/guest-post-28-charles-herrick-on-capas-d-day-j/ 57. Clément Chéroux, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Here and Now, trans. David H. Wilson and Ruth Sharman (London: Thames & Hudson 2014), 206, and Ian Aitken, ed., The Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film (New York: Routledge, 2013), 757–758. NOTES TO CHAPTER 1


58. According to Rodger’s biographer, he already knew their work from the press. Carol Naggar, George Rodger: An Adventure in Photography 1908–1925 (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2003), 43–44, 112–113. David Seymour introduced Cartier-Bresson to Robert Capa in interwar Paris. 59. Notably, the D-Day story serves as the opening in John G. Morris, Get the Picture: A Personal History of Photojournalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 3–7. 60. Anatole Litvak worked on a number of wartime movies and collected footage for the Why We Fight war-training film series, with Frank Capra. He also oversaw the filming of the D-Day Normandy landings because of his ability to speak multiple languages. Harlow Robinson, Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood’s Russians: Biography of an Image (Lebanon, NH: Northeastern University Press, 2007), 16, 27. Seymour’s papers at the Magnum Foundation demonstrate that he had a personal relationship with Litvak and that Seymour introduced Litvak to other Magnum photographers. John Huston made films for the U.S. Army Signal Corps during WWII as well as the controversial wartime series Report from the Aleutians (1943), The Battle of San Pietro (1944), and Let There Be Light (1945); he also received the Legion of Merit for his work under battle conditions. Huston, a lifelong friend of Litvak, met Capa in London in 1943. Axel Madsen, John Huston (New York: Doubleday, 1978), 55–72. See also Alain Bergala’s introductory essay in Magnum Cinema: des histoires de cinema par les photographes de magnum (Paris: Cahiers du Cinema, 1994). 61. Louis Mercier, “Introduction: Paris—City of Types,” Holiday (April 1953), 49. 62. “Editor’s Note,” The Lamp (Fall 1957), 18. 63. Barbie Zelizer, “Words against Images: Positioning Newswork in the Age of Photography” in Newsworkers: Toward a History of the Rank and File, ed. Bonnie Brennan and Hanno Hardt (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 135–159, and Zelizer, “Journalism’s ‘Last’ Stand.” 64. Concurrently with the war, the New York tabloid PM set out to revise this notion of news photographs as the “mechanical products of disinterested, unthinking picture machines.” Jason Hill, Artist as Reporter, 124. 65. “Atrocities,” Life (May 7, 1945), 32–33. 66. Film footage also played a fundamental role in publicizing Nazi atrocities via newsreels and documentary films, produced in the war’s aftermath. On this parallel history, see Lindeperg, Night and Fog, including her extensive bibliography on this subject. 67. Barbie Zelizer, Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory through the Camera’s Eye (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 12. In the USSR, readers learned about Nazi atrocities years earlier than in the U.S., through images of killing fields rather than camps. Photographers thus created different iconographies of the war and the Holocaust depending on where they took and published their pictures. Shneer, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes. 68. Griffin, “The Great War Photographs,” 126, and Sher Lynne Paris, “Raising Photography to Visual Communication in American Schools of Journalism, with attention to the Universities of Missouri and Texas, 1880s-1990s,” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 2007). 69. George Rodger, Red Moon Rising (London: Cresset Press, 1943) and Desert Journey (London: Cresset Press, 1944). 70. Gervais, Making of Visual News, 6. 71. Louis Menand, “Postwar” in Henry Finder, ed., The 40s: The Story of a Decade (New York: Random House, 2014), 234. 72. Susan Schulten, The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880–1950 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 204–238. 73. Roeder, The Censored War, 83–84; Mark Monmonier, Maps with the News: The Development of American Journalistic Cartography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989); and Timothy



74. 75.


77. 78. 79. 80. 81.


83. 84.



87. 88.

Barney, “Richard Edes Harrison and the Cartographic Perspective of Modern Internationalism” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 15, no. 3 (Fall 2012), 397–433. Melissa Renn, “Within their Walls: LIFE Magazine’s ‘Illuminations’ ” Archives of American Art Journal 53, no. 1/2 (Spring 2014), 30–51. Life photo editor Wilson Hicks discussed the challenges of transitioning to peace in an oral history with Time Inc. Celia Sugarman, notes on interview with Wilson Hicks, June 16, 1956, box 353, folder 2, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG 2, the New-York Historical Society (NYHS). The end of the war posed an even greater challenge to television news, which was born during the war itself, and to radio. Conway, The Origins of Television News, 177, 180–181. Agnes Sire et al., Henri Cartier-Bresson/Walker Evans: Photographing America, 1929–1947 (London: Thames & Hudson, 2009), and Documentary and Anti-Graphic Photographs: Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans (Gottingen: Steidl, 2004). Naggar, George Rodger, 150–153. Carole Naggar, “Lives of Chim” in Cynthia Young, We Went Back! Photographs from Europe, 1933–1956 by Chim (New York: International Center of Photography, 2013), 19–21. Rita Vandivert to George and Cicely Rodger, May 19, 1947, GJRA. Ibid. The same text also appears in Rita Vandivert to Henri Cartier-Bresson, May 22, 1947, Magnum Foundation New York (MFNY). A longstanding trope in memoirs and interviews from the 1990s on is that Magnum’s division of the world into five areas of coverage was a romantic dream to let photographers have a “personal hunting ground” where they could follow their curiosities and wanderlust. George Rodger quoted in Miller, Magnum, 51. First reproduction rights gave publications exclusive rights over the images until their publication, and expired automatically when the next issue of the periodical went on sale. During this time Magnum could not re-sell those photographs to any other publication. John Morris, Report on 1957 Operations, March 15, 1958, Archive of John G. Morris (AJGM). George Rodger to Rita Vandivert, June 6, 1947, GJRA. On Magnum’s business structure, see also Fred Ritchin, “What is Magnum?” in Manchester, In Our Time, 417–444 and Alison Nordstrom, “On Becoming an Archive,” in Hoelscher, Reading Magnum, 17–35. Official accounts of Black Star insinuate that the agency supplied Life with “most” of its pictures in the 1930s. Hendrik Neubauer, Black Star: 60 Years of Photojournalism. New research into the agency shows this was another type of mythology in the history of photo agencies. In 1941 Life estimated that 250 pictures appeared in its issue each week. An average 679 Black Star photos were published a year in Life from 1937 to 1941, and that number declined to 195 a year between 1942 and 1972. “Facts about Life,” June 30, 1941, box 519, folder 5, Time Inc. Reference Files, MS 3009-RG 3, NYHS. My thanks to Thierry Gervais for sharing the findings of the 2010 Black Star Research Workshop at the Ryerson Image Centre. When Michael Tarosian set out to write a history of the Black Star agency in 2012, he could not initially find any pictures of the founders. That research problem is indicative of how differently Magnum and Black Star operated. Black Star agents worked diligently behind the scenes selling pictures while Magnum devoted equal time to keeping its photographer-founders in the spotlight. Michael Tarosian, Black Star. James Baker Hall, “The Last Happy Band of Brothers,” Esquire (April 1972), 117–125, 232–237. Martine Franck, et al., Magna Brava: Magnum’s Women Photographers (New York: Prestel, 1999); Janine Di Giovanni, Eve Arnold: Magnum Legacy (New York: Prestel, 2015); Clara Bouveresse, Histoire de l’agence Magnum, 325–348.



89. On Life’s women see Bair, “Photo Essays at LIFE.” 90. At Life, all film had to pass through the hands of Peggy Sargent, whom Magnum photographers lauded for her editing work. Cornell Capa to Magnum, September 8, 1955, AJGM; f.y.i. (April 7, 1947); f.y.i. (January 8, 1960); “Film Editor for the World” Life 57, no. 15 (October 9, 1964), box 389, folder 42, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG 2, NYHS, and Loudon Wainwright, The Great American Magazine: An Inside Story of Life (New York: Knopf, 1986); 242–243. See also Chris Vials, “The Popular Front in the American Century: Life Magazine, Margaret Bourke-White, and Consumer Realism, 1936–1941,” American Periodicals 16, no. 1 (2006), 94. 91. Women were encouraged to go back into the home with the conclusion of World War II, but the percentage of women in the workplace continued to grow, as did their upward mobility. Ruth Milkman, Gender at Work: The Dynamics of Job Segregation by Sex during WWII (Urbana: Univeristy of Illinois Press, 1987), 128–160, and Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumer’s Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. (New York: Vintage Books, 2003), 111–256. Magnum’s female staff were thus part of a larger story about gender dynamics in the postwar workplace, in which select women could rise within their organizations when given the right opportunity by their male colleagues. 92. Maria Eisner to Henri Cartier-Bresson, January 20, 1949, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson (FHCB). 93. Rita Vandivert to David Seymour, September 25, 1947, MFNY. 94. Trudy Feliu to George Rodger, July 11, 1957, GJRA. 95. Davide Rodogno and Thomas David, “All the World Loves a Picture: The World Health Organization’s Visual Politics, 1948–1973,” in Heide Fehrenback and Davide Rodogno, Humanitarian Photography: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015), 235. 96. “Globetrotters Stop Here to Be Married” read a January 28, 1953 wedding announcement in the newspaper of Akron, Ohio, where Jinx’s parents lived. GJRA. 97. Jinx to George, June 8, 1950; Norton Wood to Jinx, July 21, 1950, and September 19, 1950; Jinx to Norton Wood, November 16, 1950, all GJRA. 98. Margot Shore to John Morris, October 13, 1954, AJGM. 99. Robert Capa to John Morris, July 23, 1951, AJGM. 100. Magnum Announcement, March 5, 1953, AJGM. 101. Box 17, John G. Morris Papers, University of Chicago (AJGM-UC). 102. He used that archive, now partially at the University of Chicago and partially with Magnum, to write his memoir, Get the Picture (2002). 103. Edwin Eberman and Daniel Mich, The Technique of the Picture Story (New York: McGraw Hill, 1945); Wilson Hicks, Words and Pictures: An Introduction to Photojournalism (New York: Harper, 1952). 104. Cartier-Bresson to Maria Eisner, October 12, 1949, FHCB. 105. The notion of “information overload” itself emerged in the 1960s in the context of American psychology and systems theory, conceptualizing humans as “bit-processing systems of limited capacity,” i.e., as communications channels that could be overwhelmed. Over time, the term was adapted by social scientists and finally journalists. Notably, many were concerned about the overabundance of paper—not digital media—well into the 1990s. Nick Levine, “The Nature of the Glut: Information Overload in Postwar America,” History of the Human Sciences 30, no. 1 (2017), 32–49, here 34, with thanks to Lana Swartz. 106. H.G Wells quoted in Shannon Christine Mattern, Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), 69, with thanks to Jason Hill. 107. John Morris to Magnum Shareholders, July 6, 1953, and Report to Members on the State of Magnum, July 1, 1955, AJGM. 108. Erich Hartmann, Magnum Chronology, 1988, Erich Hartmann Estate, New York (EHE). 246


109. Magnum Memo, May 7, 1955, box 33:48, folder 46, W. Eugene Smith Archive, Center for Creative Photography (CCP). 110. Magnum Memo, August 24, 1957, AJGM. 111. On the page as the fundamental unit of magazine design see Tom Gretton, “The Pragmatics of Page Design in Nineteenth-Century General Interest Weekly Illustrated Magazines in London and Paris,” Art History 33, no. 4 (September 2010), 680–709. 112. James L. Baughman, “Who Read LIFE? The Circulation of America’s Favorite Magazine” in Doss, Looking at Life, 44. 113. The Philadelphia-based Curtis Publishing Company owned the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies’ Home Journal. 114. Magnum Memo, April 2, 1960, AJGM. Among them were Ernst Haas and David Seymour, whose color pictures of Scandinavian sweaters appeared in “The Sporting Look: New Northern Knits” Sports Illustrated (September 17, 1956), tear sheets of which are at the MFNY. 115. Robert Elson, Time Inc: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise, 1923–1941 (New York: Atheneum, 1968), 136; Michael Augspurger, An Economy of Abundant Beauty: Fortune Magazine and Depression America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004). Magnum’s work with Fortune invites longer and separate treatment. While existing scholarship focuses on the magazine’s politics and modernist aesthetics, Fortune is an ideal site for understanding how public relations photography functioned as photographic news, especially amid the globalization of American industry after WWII. 116. The latter situation changed by 1955, when Trudy Feliu noted that European magazines were using more color, closing those stories between three and four weeks in advance. European Distribution Report, 1956, AJGM. 117. Robert Capa to George Rodger, January 16, 1952, GJRA. 118. Magnum Stockholder Report, February 15, 1952, AJGM. 119. Bill Vandivert to Chim, July 15, 1947, MFNY. These instructions follow other letters by Eisner and Vandivert communicating the same idea. 120. The agency’s Paris office oversaw Magnum’s European distribution and took a percentage of each European sale to support its operations. The New York office took a percentage from each U.S. sale. 121. A distribution summary from 1954 recorded, for instance, eight sets of Robert Capa’s coverage of Barefoot Contessa, six sets of David Seymour’s story on the “White Islands of Greece” (three in black and white, three in color), and seven sets of Werner Bischof’s story on Korea. Distribution Report, April 1954, EHE. 122. On transporting news images in the jet age, see Schwartz, Jet Age Aesthetic. 123. Rita Vandivert to George and Cicely, May 19, 1947, GJRA. 124. Based on my analysis of every issue in these years. 125. Robert Capa, Report to the Stockholders of Magnum, February 15, 1952, AJGM. The first-look conditions at Picture Post were similar to what they had been at Illustrated: the magazine had to decide immediately whether it would publish Magnum’s news pictures, but had two weeks to sit on feature material—i.e. photo stories that were often longer and not time-sensitive. Magnum’s contract explains why Henri Cartier-Bresson’s 1954 coverage of the USSR, which the photographer executed without an assignment, was distributed to Picture Post in England and appeared there just twelve days after its debut in Life. 126. European Distribution Report, 1956, AJGM. 127. Magnum opened a full-time London office in 1986, hiring Neil Burgess as bureau chief. The London office operates to this day. Manchester, In Our Time, 455. 128. Magnum Memo, October 27, 1960, AJGM. NOTES TO CHAPTER 1


129. 130. 131. 132. 133. 134.

135. 136. 137. 138. 139. 140. 141.

142. 143.

144. 145. 146. 147. 148. 149. 150. 151.

Robert Capa to Maria Eisner, November 3, 1947, FHCB. Paris bureau report on Magnum markets, 1955, AJGM. Robert Capa, Report to the Stockholders of Magnum, February 15, 1952, AJGM. David Seymour to John Morris and Cornell Capa, September 19, 1954, AJGM. Magnum Board of Directors’ Meeting, Editorial Resume, January 11, 1961 and Michel Chevalier to Elliott Erwitt and the Executive Committee, February 14, 196, AJGM. Margarethe Szeless and Marion Krammer, “Yoichi Okamoto and the ‘Pictorial Section’: AustrianAmerican Relations in Press Photography, 1945–1955” in Gunter Bischof, et al., Austria-Hungary, the Origins, and the First Year of World War I (New Orleans: University of New Orleans Press, 2014), 275–291. Magnum Contract with Münchner Illustrierte, January 20, 1950, MFNY. Susie to John Morris, May 20, 1954, AJGM. John Morris, Report to Members on the State of Magnum, July 1, 1955, AJGM. Michele Chevalier to John Morris Re: Germany Situation, October 3, 1959, AJGM. Magnum contract with Epoca, January 23, 1951, MFNY. See also Gabriella Ciami de Claricini, “Topical Weeklies in Italy,” International Communication Gazette 11, no.1 (February 1, 1965), 12–26. The first issue of Paris Match (March 25, 1949) similarly included outdated but high-quality picture stories, showing a larger pattern of publishing recent “greatest hits” in inaugural issues. Maria Eisner to Alberto Mondadori, October 26 and November 24, 1950; Maria Eisner to Seymour, Georges Ninaud, and Cesare Coen, December 26, 1950; Georges Ninaud, Magnum Paris to Cesare Coen, February 3, 5, and 16, 1951 and March 21, 1951, MFNY. Sylvia Peck to Alberto Mondadori, November 28, 1950, MFNY. Trudy Feliu, Paris Bureau report on European Markets, n.d. (likely 1955), AJGM. Because he was based in Italy, Magnum co-founder David Seymour also served as an important interlocutor between Magnum and Epoca from 1950 until his death in 1956. Paris Bureau report on European Markets, n.d. (1955), AJGM. 1956 European distribution report, AJGM. Michel Chevalier to Cornell Capa and John Morris, December 9, 1958, AJGM. Michel Chevalier to Magnum, January 5, 1961, AJGM. John Morris noted that Magnum basically had a full-time office in Zurich because of Rosellina’s efforts. Midsummer challenges to Magnum, July 1960, AJGM. Robert Capa to Maria Eisner, November 3, 1947, FHCB; 1955 Paris Bureau Report on Magnum Market and Midsummer challenges to Magnum, July 1960, AJGM. Robert Capa, Report to the Stockholders of Magnum, February 15, 1952; 1955 Paris Bureau report on Magnum markets; 1956 European distribution report, all AJGM. 1955 Paris Bureau Report on Magnum Markets, AJGM.


1. Founded in 1963 by Nathan Lyons, Beaumont Newhall, John Szarkowski and others, the Society for Photographic Education became an important professional association when photography began to be taught within art departments. Jason Francisco, “Teaching Photography as Art,” American Art 21, no. 3 (Fall 2007), 19–24. 2. Andy Grundberg, “John Morris, Renowned Photo Editor in the Thick of History, Dies at 100,” The New York Times (July 29, 2017), A22. 3. Morris, “A Photographic Memoir,” Exposure 20, no. 2 (Summer 1982), 20. 4. Eric J. Sandeen, Picturing an Exhibition: The Family of Man and 1950s America. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995) and Jean Back and Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff, The Family of Man, 1955–2001, Humanism and Postmodernism: A Reappraisal of the Photo Exhibition by



5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10.



13. 14. 15. 16.



19. 20. 21.

Edward Steichen (Marburg: Jonas Verlag, 2004). For an important rereading of the exhibition and an overview of the critiques it prompted, see Fred Turner, “The Family of Man and the Politics of Attention in Cold War America,” Public Culture 24, no. 1 (2012), 55–84. Eric J. Sandeen, “The International Reception of The Family of Man,“ History of Photography 29, no.4 (Winter 2005), 344–355. Hamilton, 143; Caruso, Italian Humanist Photography, 5. Morris, “A Photographic Memoir,” 20. As A. D. Coleman notes, “This ‘people are people/family of man’ notion ran rampant as an article of faith in liberal-left circles during the post-World War II years.” A.D. Coleman, “Alternate History: Robert Capa on D-Day (Post 22),” Photocritic International blog, accessed April 27, 2015, http:// Mary Ellen Zuckerman, A History of Popular Women’s Magazines in the United States, 1792–1995 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1998), 3–9. Existing studies focus on the magazine’s relationship to consumer culture. Sally Stein, “The Graphic Ordering of Desire: Modernization of a Middle-Class Women’s Magazine, 1914–1939,” in The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography, ed. Richard Bolton (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992), 145–162; Helen Damon-Moore, Magazines for the Millions: Gender and Commerce in Ladies’ Home Journal and Saturday Evening Post, 1880–1910 (Albany: State University of New York, 1994); Jennifer Scanlon, Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies’ Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture (New York: Routledge, 1995). The Journal’s art department was in Philadelphia while the rest of the offices were in the RKO building of the Rockefeller Center in New York. The Goulds and their staff shuttled between the two each week. Morris, Get the Picture, 101–102. Though socially progressive and committed to educating and empowering its readers, the Goulds still felt that women were best suited for the domestic sphere. Bruce and Beatrice Gould, American Story (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 165–174. Morris, Get the Picture, 99. Maria Eisner to “GX photographers,” November 22, 1950, AJGM. Bruce and Beatrice Gould to John G. Morris, June 30, 1947, AJGM-UC. Morris’s files contain outlines for multiple stories that were not approved. Nancy Walker, Shaping Our Mothers’ World: American Women’s Magazines (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2000), 111–129, and “The Ladies’ Home Journal, How America Lives, and the Limits of Cultural Diversity” Media History 6, no. 10 (2000), 129–138. The central role of photography in HAL is notably absent in Walker’s otherwise excellent analysis. The Goulds admitted to such practices in “How the Journal Lives,” Ladies’ Home Journal (May 1949), 194–196. On 1930s documentary see William Stott, Documentary Expression and Thirties America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973) and John Raeburn, A Staggering Revolution: A Cultural History of Thirties Photography (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006). Helen Hughes, The Human Interest Story (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940), 12, 67–80, and Robert Park, “News as a Form of Knowledge,” American Journal of Sociology, 45, no. 5 (March 1940), 677–681. Michael Leja, “News Pictures in the Early Years of Mass Visual Culture in New York: Lithographs and the Penny Press,” in Hill and Schwartz, Getting the Picture, 146–153. Erica Wolf “The Context of Soviet Photojournalism, 1923–1932,” Zimmerli Journal 2 (Fall 2004), 106–117. William Stott notes that the Farm Security Administration photographs were a form of “human documentary” because they showed the human condition and the experience of unpreventable





24. 25.

26. 27.


29. 30. 31.


33. 34. 35.

36. 37.

38. 39. 40.


events caused by nature. The human element was central as well for imbuing the image with emotion and for communicating feeling. Stott, Documentary Expression, 50–58. Capa’s pictures were known well enough to inspire a scene in Romain Gary’s The Kites, published in France as Les cerfs volants in 1980. On Haas’s story see Krammer and Szeless, “The Cold War of Pictures.” Sarah Igo, The Averaged American (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 7–12, and Andrew Abbott and James T. Sparrow, “Hot War, Cold War: The Structures of Sociological Action, 1940– 1955” in Sociology in America: A History, ed. Craig Calhoun (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 296. Igo, The Averaged American, 7–8. Carl Fleischhaue and Beverly W. Brannan, Documenting America, 1935–1943 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 1–75. Stryker’s deep involvement with photographers’ research continued in his work at the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. Ulrich Keller, The Highway as Habitat: A Roy Stryker Documentation, 1943–1955 (Santa Barbara: University Art Museum, 1986), 9–55. Roy Stryker to Jack, November 7, 1947, Roy Stryker Papers, University of Louisville, KY. Memorandum from Bruce and Beatrice Gould to John G. Morris, June 30, 1947, and Memorandum from Berenice E. Connor to Mr. Richard Zeising Jr., “Keeping Tabs on HAL,” March 6, 1952, AJGM-UC. Bruce and Beatrice Gould, American Story, 165–174; A Short History of Ladies Home Journal (Philadelphia: Curtis Publishing Company, 1953), 10–11; Walker, Shaping Our Mothers’ World, 117–129. The Journal’s war-related features included Beatrice Gould’s editorial on the beginning of World War II in July, 1941; “How War Came” by Forrest Davis and E. K. Lindley in 1942; “Can the US Have Peace after the War?” by Walter Lippman in 1943, and a color photo essay on “How Japan Lives” published in 1946. John Morris to Bruce and Beatrice Gould, n.d., AJGM-UC. Manfred Steger, The Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from the French Revolution to the Global War on Terror (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). Wilkie was the Republican presidential candidate in 1940. In 1942 Roosevelt sent Wilkie on a world tour as a gesture of political unity on the American home front, with Wilkie serving as the selfproclaimed emissary of the “American common man” as he met with many kinds of “common men” in over a dozen cities. Van Vleck, Empire of the Air, 109–113. Dick van Lente, “Introduction: A Transnational History of Popular Images and Narratives of Nuclear Technologies in the First Two Postwar Decades” in The Nuclear Age in Popular Media: A Transnational History, 1945–1965, ed. Dick Van Lente (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 1–18. Dorothy Thompson, “Toward the Big One,” Ladies’ Home Journal (January 1946), 6, 102–103. John Morris to Bruce and Beatrice Gould, n.d., AJGM-UC. Henry Luce, “The American Century,” Life (February 17, 1941), 65, and Chris Vials, “The Popular Front in the American Century: Life Magazine, Margaret Bourke-White, and Consumer Realism, 1936–1941,” American Periodicals 16, no. 1 (2006), 74–75. Preamble to the UNESCO Charter, quoted in Turner, Democratic Surround, 164. Fred Turner offers another useful context for these ideas. Postwar psychologists and anthropologists reimagined international relations in psychological terms. It became common to see the individual psyche as a breeding ground for war, while interpersonal relations could become a model for thinking about the relationships between countries. Turner, Democratic Surround, 164. Walker, Shaping Our Mothers’ World, vii; Cohen, A Consumer’s Republic, 112–165. John Morris to Bruce and Beatrice Gould, n.d., AJGM-UC. Morris, Get the Picture, 113–116.


41. Morris, Get the Picture, 114. This was common practice at the Journal, whose editor Mary Bass often accompanied HAL photographers on their shoots. 42. Morris, 114. 43. John G. Morris quoted in Seona Robertson, director, The Chosen People, 2000. The visual template that Morris created with Capa’s pictures flashes briefly at minute 8:42. I have not been able to locate the original document. 44. Rita Vandivert to David Seymour, July 2, 1947, MFNY. 45. Morris, Get the Picture, 116. 46. Magnum New York to David Seymour, July 10, 1947; Bill Vandivert to Seymour, July 15, 1947 and December 22, 1947, MFNY. 47. Robert Capa’s story on a Czech wedding appeared in Sie und Er (July 23, 1948), 16–17. According to Seymour’s bibliography at the ICP, the stories included “Their Plan Is a New World” Illustrated (October 18, 1947), 23–26; “The War on Black Death,” Illustrated (January 17, 1948), 5–8; “Germany’s Year of Destiny,” Illustrated (October 15, 1949), 9–17; “Fraulein in Search of Happiness,” Illustrated (October 22, 1949); “Deutschland im Jahr 5,” Quick (January 1, 1950), 9–11. David Seymour Archive, ICP. 48. John Morris, “People are People the World Over: Woman’s World Revolves around the Kitchen,” Ladies Home Journal (May 1948), 43. 49. Morris, 43. 50. Morris, 43. 51. Geoffrey Batchen, Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance (Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004). 52. Morris, “Woman’s World,” 44–45. 53. These kinds of scenes are in George Rodger’s contact sheets and are reproduced in Seona Robertson, The Chosen People, 2001. 54. UNESCO’s Human Rights exhibition, which opened in France in 1949 and was made available to any UN member nation in the form of an exhibition kit through 1951, used photographic reproductions of works of art and historical images to narrate the rise of civilization and the concept of “human rights.” Tom Allbeson, “Photographic Diplomacy in the Postwar World: UNESCO and the Conception of Photography as a Universal Language, 1946–1956,” Modern Intellectual History 12, no. 2 (2015), 383–415. 55. John Morris, “People are People the World Over: This is How the World Gets Around,” Ladies’ Home Journal (February 1949), 45. 56. Tamar R. Rothenberg, Presenting America’s World: Strategies of Innocence in National Geographic Magazine, 1888–1945 (Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2007), and Lutz and Collins, Reading National Geographic. 57. General Carl Spatz, “If We Should Have to Fight Again,” Life (July 5, 1948), 34. 58. In England, Picture Post published Captain Lidell Hart, “Can We Avoid war?” Picture Post 40, no. 4 (July 24, 1948), 12–14. 59. Bruce Gould to John Morris, November 1, 1950, AJGM-UC. 60. John Morris to Ernestine Evans, November 4, 1949, AJGM; John Morris to Herbert Abraham, September 22, 1950; Helene Frye to John G. Morris, February 11, 1952, AJGM-UC. In New York, Young America Films adapted the series into filmstrips for classroom use. John Godfrey Morris, “People are People” International House Quarterly 13, no. 3 (Summer 1949), 122. 61. Morris, “People are People” International House Quarterly, 117–122. 62. It is unclear whose connections resulted in the publication. Inge Morath, who would become a Magnum photographer in 1953, was the Austrian picture editor for Heute from January 1948 until




64. 65. 66. 67.



70. 71.

72. 73.

74. 75.


the summer of 1949, and may have already been in contact with Robert Capa, who is sometimes credited for making this sale. Capa’s biographer claims the photographer negotiated a contract between Magnum and Marshall Plan publications in Europe, but does not cite any further evidence. Whelan, Robert Capa, 270–271. John Morris’s connections may have helped as well, since he personally tried to sell the story to other publications, including International House Quarterly and those of UNESCO. His archive includes correspondence with Elmer Lower, who was employed by the U.S. Foreign Service and involved in Heute. In the 1950s Lower facilitated exchanges between American and German magazine editors. Elmer Lower to John Morris, August 24, 1952, and John Morris to Elmer Lower, September 5, 1952, AJGM. On Morath at Heute see Krammer and Szeless, “The Cold War of Pictures.” James Rolleston, “Heute, 1948: Photojournalism Frames the German Present” South Atlantic Review, 69:2 (2004), 74–97, and “After Zero Hour: The Visual Texts of Post-War Germany,” South Atlantic Review, 64, no. 2 (Spring 1999), 1–19. Rolleston, “Heute, 1948,” 77–78. Rolleston, 79. American writers expressed fears about a Nazi backlash, for instance, Rebecca West, “The Birch Leaves Falling,” The New Yorker (October 26, 1946), in Finder and Harvey, eds., The 40s, 250–263. Robert Capa’s tear sheet archive at the ICP shows that Heute bought numerous stories without significant political content that also appeared in other magazines in the U.S. and Europe. Capa’s story on Parisian fashion was published in Heute (March 30, 1949) as well as Illustrated (March 19, 1949). Capa’s photo essay on Oktoberfest, published in Heute (October 11, 1950), also appeared in Illustrated (October 21, 1950), Münchner Illustrierte (October 1950) and Holiday (October 1951). Robert Capa Archive, ICP. Reinhold Wagnleitner, Coca-Colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War (University of North Carolina Press, 2000); and Evan S. Noble, “Marshall Plan Films and Americanization,” M.A. thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 2006. Rachel Perry, “Immutable Mobiles: UNESCO’s Archive of Color Reproductions” The Art Bulletin 99:2 (2017), 166–185; and Mark Mazower, No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009). Minutes from the UNESCO preparatory commission on the press, June 25, 1946, UNESCO Archives, Paris. Seymour covered Europe with the former war correspondent Bill Downs. The report also involved Jim Hurlbut, a former Marine combat correspondent who worked with a Navy service photographer in the Pacific islands, and correspondent Bill Costello, who worked with a Signal Corps photographer in Hiroshima and with Horace Bristol’s East-West Agency in Tokyo. “We Went Back!” This Week (August 10, 1947), E2. On air, audio recordings of the interviews with the story’s subjects replaced the photographs. Young, We Went Back, 40. The report explained that “Germans armor themselves with callousness” against the despair of rubble and rampant prostitution. “We Went Back!,” E12. Seymour worked within a much longer tradition of humanitarian imagery, which since the midnineteenth century was dominated by pictures of children and often used the convention of the news. Heide Fehrenbach, “Children and Other Civilians: Photography and the Politics of Humanitarian Image-Making” in Humanitarian Photography: A History, ed. Heide and Davide Rodogno (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 165–199. Tara Zahra, “A Human Treasure: Europe’s Displaced Children between Nationalism and Internationalism” Past and Present 210 (2011), 332–50, here 342. Allbeson, “Photographic Diplomacy in the Postwar World,” 402.


76. Young, We Went Back, 42. 77. Maria Eisner telegram to David Seymour, May 29, 1947, and Rita Vandivert to Cartier-Bresson, May 22, 1947, MFNY. 78. Rita Vandivert to Seymour, November 19, 1947, MFNY. 79. Naggar, “Lives of Seymour,” 20–21, overlooks these challenges while Bondi, Seymour, 75–78, gives more insight into the difficulties Seymour faced adapting to Magnum and the postwar market. 80. Lebrun and Lefebvre, The Paris Years, 63; Miller, Magnum, 24. On his work in Spain see Young, Mexican Suitcase. 81. Bill Vandivert to David Seymour, July 15, 1947, MFNY. 82. “Super Babies,” Life (August 13, 1945), 36–41; “Black Markets Boom in Berlin,” Life (September 10, 1945), 50–51; “Jewish New Year,” Life (October 8, 1945), 48–53. 83. The projects of rehabilitation, retribution, and restoration continued in Europe into the 1950s. David W. Ellwood, Rebuilding Europe: Western Europe, America, and Postwar Reconstruction (London: Longman, 1992); Tomasz Gross Deak and Tony Judt, The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and Its Aftermath (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); Grossmann, Jews, Germans, and Allies. For Tony Judt, postwar economic recovery continued into the 1970s while memories of the war could not be processed until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Judt, Postwar. 84. David Seymour to Rita Vandivert, July 23, 1947, MFNY; Bondi, Seymour, 76. 85. Maria Eisner to Rita Vandivert, July 26, 1947; Maria Eisner to Rita Vandivert, September 13, 1947; and Rita Vandivert to David Seymour, September 25, 1947, MFNY. 86. Rita Vandivert to David Seymour, September 25, 1947, MFNY. 87. Ben Hibbs, Saturday Evening Post editor, to Rita Vandivert, December 16, 1947, MFNY. 88. Ibid., and Seymour to Rita Vandivert, December 23, 1947, MFNY. 89. Judt, Postwar, 10. 90. Julian Huxley, UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy (Paris: UNESCO, 1946), 24, 58–62. 91. John Grierson, Grierson on Documentary (London: Faber, 1966). 92. Turner, Democratic Surround, 15–38. 93. Zoë Druick, “UNESCO, Film, and Education: Mediating Postwar Paradigms of Communication,” in Useful Cinema, ed. Charles R. Acland and Haidee Wasson (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011), 81–102; and Druick and Deane Williams, eds., The Grierson Effect: Tracing Documentary’s International Movement (London: British Film Institute, 2014). 94. Five years later, UNESCO also turned its newspaper-format newsletter, the UNESCO Courier, into an illustrated magazine, which more than tripled its international circulation. Allbeson, “Photographic Diplomacy in the Postwar World,” 388 and 388n18. 95. “Letter to the Reader,” Impetus: A Monthly Review of Reconstruction in Education, Science, and Culture 3, nos. 8–9 (August –September 1949), inside cover, UNESCO Archives, Paris. 96. David Seymour to Magnum New York, January 29, 1948, MFNY. 97. Robert Capa to Maria Eisner copy to Henri Cartier-Bresson, November 3, 1947, FHCB. 98. On Seymour’s itinerary and the facilities he visited during his trip see Naggar, Vies de Seymour, 79–88. 99. David Seymour, Children of Europe (Paris: UNESCO, 1949), 14. 100. Allbeson, “Photographic Diplomacy in the Postwar World,” 403n50. 101. “Somewhere in Europe: A Photographer Highlights the Drama of Post-War Youngsters,” UNESCO Courier 2, no. 1 (February 1949), 6. The pictures were also used in other UNESCO publications and exhibitions in the 1950s. Allbeson, “Photographic Diplomacy in the Postwar World,” 403n50.



102. “The New Generation” Illustrated (March 12, 1949), 1–7; “The Serum That Will Save Europe’s Children,” Science Illustrated (April 1949), 46–49; Collier’s (July 8, 1950), and Intercom (December 1957). 103. “Children of Europe,” Life (December 27, 1948), 13. 104. Earlier that year, Picture Post led with its own survey of Europe’s children with pictures by Werner Bischof (not yet a Magnum member), Federico Patellani, and unidentified staff photographers, with a direct appeal to “unite for the sake of the children” by supporting the newly formed UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). “230,000,000 Hungry Children” Picture Post 39, no. 4 (April 24, 1948), 7–18. Seymour’s pictures likely did not make it into Picture Post given the first-look arrangement with Illustrated described in chapter 1. 105. On Seymour’s post-UNESCO work see Young, We Went Back, 46–50, 207–266. 106. Seymour and the journalist Jean Roy were on their way to cover an exchange of prisoners at Al Qantara but were shot down by Egyptian gunfire, three days after the ceasefire. Naggar, “Lives of Chim,” 28. 107. Chim (David Seymour) 1911–1956 (Paris: Michel Brient, 1966); Anna Fárová, David Seymour (“Chim”) (New York: Grossman, 1966); Cornell Capa, ed., David Seymour—“Chim” (New York: Grossman, 1974). 108. Inge Bondi, Chim: The Photographs of David Seymour (New York: Bulfinch Press, 1996), 90; Carole Naggar, “Lives of Seymour,” 21–22, and David Seymour, vies de Chim (Paris: Contrejour, 2014), 79–88. 109. Silvia Salvatici, “Sights of Benevolence: UNRRA’s Recipients Portrayed,” in Fehrenbach and Rodogno, Humanitarian Photography, 200–222. On the UNRRA see William Hitchcok, The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe (New York: Free Press, 2008), 215–248. 110. Ruth Gruber, Witness: One of the Great Foreign Correspondents of the Twentieth Century Tells Her Story, with 190 of her own photographs (New York: Schocken Books, 2007). 111. Magnum and Its Markets, June 21, 1954; Report to Members on the State of Magnum, July 1, 1955; Magnum Memo, July 5, 1959, AJGM. CHAPTER 3

1. Trudy Feliu to John Morris, November 14, 1955, AJGM. 2. Rudolf Janssens and Gertjan Kalff, “Time Incorporated Stink Club: The Influence of Life on the Founding of Magnum Photos,” in American Photographs in Europe, ed. Mick Gidley (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1995), 223–242; and Matthias Christen, Anton Holzer, and Christoph Schaden, “Mythos Magnum: Die Geschichte einer legendaren Fotoagentur,” Literatur, Beilage zum Mittelweg 36, no. 5 (2007), 53–80. 3. State of Magnum Report, October 1956, AJGM. 4. Mark Mazower, “The End of Eurocentrism,” Critical Inquiry 40, no. 4 (Summer 2014), 298–313. On the extent and pace of interconnectedness in the post-1945 world, see Leela Gandhi and Deborah L. Nelson, “Editor’s Introduction,” Critical Inquiry, Special Issue on Around 1948: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Transformation, 40, no. 4 (Summer 2014), 285–297. 5. To this day, however, Magnum’s pictures are discussed as windows onto past events and ideological struggles. See most recently Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto. 6. Scholars have approached these Magnum projects through formal and historical analysis, and postcolonial and capitalist critique. Douglas Smith, “From One China to Another: Cartier-Bresson, Sartre, and Photography in the Age of Decolonization,” Photographies (March 2009), 59–71, and Andrew L. Mendelson and C. Zoe Smith, “Vision of a New State: Israel as Mythologized by Robert Capa,” Journalism Studies 7, no. 2 (2006), 187–211. Few have analyzed the mechanics of what it meant to photograph the world at this time with the exception of Claude Cookman, “Margaret Bourke-White and Henri Cartier-Bresson: Gandhi’s Funeral,” History of Photography 22, no. 2 (Summer 1998), 199–209.



7. James L. Baughman, “Who Read LIFE? The Circulation of America’s Favorite Magazine,” in Doss, Looking at Life, 44. 8. Henry R. Luce, “Confidential: Organization of Editorial Staff of The Picture Magazine,” September 8, 1936, box 58, folder 2, Henry Luce Papers, MS3014, NYHS. 9. Henry R. Luce, “Redefinition of the editorial contents and purpose of LIFE,” February 1937, box 58, folder 2, Henry Luce Papers, MS3014, NYHS. 10. On Life magazine’s staggered production and printing schedule, see Wainwright, The Great American Magazine; Elson, Time Inc., 1923–1941, and Time Inc, 1941–1960. 11. Doss, Looking at Life, and Wendy Kozol, “Life” ’s America: Family and Nation in Postwar Photojournalism (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994). 12. Robert Capa, Report to the Stockholders of Magnum, February 15, 1952, AJGM. 13. Between 1937 and 1939, Cartier-Bresson worked for Ce Soir. His exhibitions included a one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art from February to April 1947, which consisted of his street photography from 1930s Mexico, Spain, and France. “Speaking of Pictures,” Life (March 3, 1947), 14–16. Prior to that, his work was shown twice at the Julien Gallery in 1933 and 1935. On the early reception of CartierBresson’s work see James Thrall Soby, “The Art of Poetic Accident: The Photographs of CartierBresson and Helen Levitt,” Minicam 6 (March 1943), 28–31, 95, and “A New Vision in Photography,” The Saturday Review (April 5, 1947), 32–34. 14. Kunang Helmi, “Ratna Cartier-Bresson: A Fragmented Portrait,” Archipel 54, no. 1 (1997), 266–268, and Michael Kimmelman, “Cartier-Bresson, Artist Who Used Lens, Dies at 95,” New York Times (August 5, 2004), A21. 15. The UN was based in Lake Success, on Long Island, New York, from 1946 to 1951. 16. Multiple letters at the FHCB from 1947 to 1949 are addressed in this way. 17. Galassi, Old World, Modern Times, 17. On how chance haunted Cartier-Bresson’s career and legacy, see Robin Kelsey, Photography and the Art of Chance (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015). 18. Cookman, “Margaret Bourke-White and Henri Cartier-Bresson.” 19. Cookman, 203–204. 20. Cookman, 201. 21. Cookman, 203–204. 22. My thanks to Catherine Clark for many conversations on this subject. Cartier-Bresson’s work in China receives a thorough treatment in her forthcoming book, Seeing Red: France and the People’s Republic of China. 23. Magnum telegram to Cartier-Bresson in Burma, November 25, 1948, FHCB. 24. “U.S. Reaches End of Line in China,” Life (February 24, 1947), 27–33. 25. “Peiping,” Life (April 29, 1946), 67–76. 26. That story came with a guarantee of $250/page in black and white with eight pages minimum guaranteed. Maria Eisner to Henri Cartier-Bresson, January 20, 1949, FHCB. On Luce’s childhood in China and subsequent investment in the country’s future see Alan Brinkley, The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010); Patricia Niels, China Images in the Life and Times of Henry Luce (Savage, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1990); and Robert Edwin Herzstein, Henry R. Luce, Time, and the American Crusade in Asia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 27. Magnum telegram to Henri Cartier-Bresson, November 25, 1948, FHCB. 28. Henri Cartier-Bresson to Ed Thompson, October 2, 1952, box 310, folder 41, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG2, NYHS. 29. Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment, 1952, n.p.



30. Maria Eisner to Henri Cartier-Bresson, January 6, 1949, FHCB. 31. Magnum Photos Accountants Report from Inception May 27, 1947, to October 31, 1947, and Magnum Photos Accountants Report as of January 31, 1948, GJRA. Steinbeck arranged for the New York Herald Tribune to publish a series of illustrated articles beginning in January 1948, while Capa enlisted John Morris to publish “Women and Children in the USSR” in Ladies’ Home Journal the following month. Capa’s tear sheet collection at the ICP shows that Magnum sold Capa’s pictures in the U.S. to Collier’s, Life, and at least eleven publications in Europe, including Illustrated, Réalités, and Epoca. 32. John Hersey, “The Man Who Invented Himself” The Magazine of the Year (September 1947), pagination unknown. “Bob Capa Tells of Photographic Experiences Abroad” was broadcast on October 20, 1947, on the 8:30 morning radio show Hi! Jinx. 33. A foundational account of these events is in Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–2001 (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), 161–301. 34. The reasons for Capa’s name appear in most discussions of the photographer, including Lebrun and Lefebvre, Robert Capa, 74. 35. According to Capa’s biographer, Capa returned to his native Budapest in 1947 to learn that his own relatives and friends had perished in forced labor camps during the war. Whelan, Robert Capa, 256, 269. 36. Lebrun and Lefebvre, Robert Capa, 74; Whelan, Robert Capa, 256, 269. Capa’s Jewish identity has been mostly ignored or downplayed with the exception of Nick Underwood, “Glimpses of a Puzzling Phenomenon: Robert Capa and Jewish History,” Images 5 (2011), 132–135 and Michael Berkowitz, Jews and Photography in Britain (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015), 121–126. 37. Robert Capa to George Rodger, January 16, 1952, GJRA. 38. G. W. Churchill to John Phillips, July 19, 1947; J. J. Thorndike to Henry Luce, n.d. (1948); and John Shaw Billings to John Phillips, February 20, 1948, box 382, folder 41, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG 2, NYHS. 39. On the general’s fundamental role in political and military affairs in the Middle East see Benny Morris, The Road to Jerusalem: Glubb Pasha, Palestine, and the Jews (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2002). 40. Phillips’s stories were: “Jews Score a Preliminary Victory,” Life (May 10, 1948), 29–35; “King Abdullah,” Life (June 21, 1948), 64–66; “Arabs Sack Holy City,” Life (June 28, 1948), 36–37; and “The New Israel,” Life (July 18, 1949), 71–77. The other two features were “Warfare Spreads in the Holy Land,” Life (January 19, 1948), with photos by Dmitri Kessel, and Capa’s “Jew Fights Jew in Israel,” Life (July 12, 1948), 38–39, on the Altalena affair. 41. The use of “Holy City” also referenced a larger discourse about Palestine as the Holy Land of the Old and New Testaments (a trope heavily intertwined with both archaeology of and religious tourism to the region) rather than a Jewish homeland. 42. Phillips railed at requests for stereotypical, exoticizing visual details when they came from Life, but he obliged when he could. January 30, 1948, John Phillips to Wilson Hicks with copy to Allan Grover, VP of Time Inc, box 382, folder 41, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG 2, NYHS. 43. The Irgun planned to unload the ship and use the forces and weapons in their private militia but this would have violated the terms of the temporary ceasefire between Israelis and Arabs. Because the Irgun was confident that the Israeli government would not attack fellow Jews, it purposefully anchored its ship in front of the Public Information Office and the UN headquarters, making it easier for the reporters stationed there to see and record the action, after the IDF opened fire, from a safe distance. Benny Morris, 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 271–272. 44. Based on the tear sheet collection at the ICP. In the U.S., Capa’s 1948 war photographs sold only, as far as I could locate, to PM (June 20, 1948) and Hagannah Speaks (June 16, 1948, and July 2, 1948). 256


45. Derek J. Penslar, Jews and the Military: A History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), 248–252. 46. Robert Capa, Images of War (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1964). 47. Young, Capa in Color, 9–10. 48. Shaw’s stories appeared without illustrations. Irwin Shaw, “Letter from Tel Aviv,” The New Yorker (May 28, 1949), 82–88; “Movie in Galilee,” The New Yorker (July 30, 1949), 44–53; “Letter from Tel Aviv,” The New Yorker (August 13, 1949), 50–65. 49. “A Tale of Two Cities,” Illustrated (June 17, 1950), 20–25, 43, 45, and “Jerusalem,” Holiday (April 1950), 114–127. 50. In this genre see Jakob Rosner, A Palestine Picture Book (New York: Schocken, 1947); Yeshuvey Mishlat (Jerusalem: The Foundation Fund, the Youth Department, 1949); To the Negev (Jerusalem: the Zionist Federation, the Youth and Pioneer Department, 1953); and Paritzki, The Decade Album (Jerusalem: The Ministry of Labor, the Public Works Department, 1959). In the United States, the first generation of Zionist leadership circa 1900 relied on popular travel books to learn about Palestine, many of which claimed that it was a desolate and uninhabited land. John B. Judis, Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), 140–143. 51. Seeing that the country was there to stay, editors at Time Inc. acknowledged that it was time to embrace the Jewish story and, indirectly, Jewish readers. Editor Willi Schlamm told Henry Luce: “The Birth of a Nation (Palestine) might be a ‘must,’ for that very reason everybody else is doing it; and LIFE, of course, ought to do it better.” Willi Schlamm to Henry Luce, March 2, 1949, box 382, folder 41, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG 2, NYHS. 52. Phillips was still at Life and thus covered Israel’s first anniversary for the magazine, now from the Jewish side. “The New Israel,” Life (July 18, 1949), 71–77. 53. Edna Barromi Perlman, “Practices of Photography on Kibbutz: The Case of Eliezer Sklarz,” Journal of Israeli History 34, no. 2 (2015), 181–203. 54. Unsigned letter to Robert Capa, January 1, 1951, and Maria Eisner to Robert Capa, February 7, 1951, Robert Capa Archive, ICP. 55. Robert Capa to Ray Mackland, February 14, 1951, Robert Capa Archive, ICP. 56. Such pictures were often made for the two largest employers of photographers in the country: the Jewish National Fund (JNF, Keren Kayemet L’Israel, founded in 1903 to purchase land in Palestine) and the Foundation Fund (Keren Ha Yesod, established in 1920 to support construction and the development of land). Ruth Oren, “Zionist Photography, 1910–1941: Constructing a Landscape,” History of Photography 19, no. 3 (Autumn 1995), 201–209. JNF’s photographs focused almost exclusively on the process of settling the new land. See the KKL-JNF Photo Archive, accessed August 28, 2017, 57. The Jewish Federation system in North America consists of local fundraising and philanthropic organizations set up to support the needs of Jews locally, in Israel and around the world. Donald Feldstein, “The Jewish Federation: The First Hundred Years,” in A Portrait of the American Jewish Community, ed. Norman Linzer, David J. Schnall, and Jerome A. Chanes (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1998). 58. Robert Capa to Maria Eisner, March 14, 1951, Robert Capa Archive, ICP. 59. Capa’s near contemporary Roman Vishniac, for instance, spent much of the 1930s photographing Jewish life in Europe for the Joint Distribution Committee. Later, Vishniac failed to mention the assignment. He claimed that he took the pictures because he foresaw this community’s destruction and wanted to record it for future generations. Robert Capa’s brother Cornell Capa helped propagate that story when he included Vishniac in exhibitions at the International Center for Photography and published his work in books. Maya Benton, ed., Roman Vishniac Rediscovered (New York: International Center of Photography, DelMonico Books, Prestel, 2016). NOTES TO CHAPTER 3


60. Whelan, Robert Capa, 267–269; Lefebvre and Lebrun, Robert Capa, 234–235. A copy of the film is housed at the Robert Capa Archive, ICP. 61. Standing next to Robert Capa is Henry Morgenthau Jr., the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for whom Tal Shachar was named. (The German Morgenthau and Hebrew Tal Shachar both translate to “morning dew.”) After leaving government service in 1945, Morgenthau devoted his life to philanthropy and served as a financial advisor to Israel. Peter Moreira, The Jew Who Defeated Hitler: Henry Morgenthau Jr., FDR, and How We Won the War (New York: Prometheus Books, 2014). 62. Unlike earlier Zionist movements in Europe, turn-of-the-century American Zionism was built on the idea that Diaspora Jews did not have to move to Israel but could channel their support through political lobbying and sending money. Judis, Genesis, and James Loeffler, Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018). 63. Barbie Zelizer, “From the Image of Record to the Image of Memory: Holocaust Photography, Then and Now,” in Picturing the Past, ed. Hardt and Brennan, 98–119. 64. David Ogilvy elaborated on this strategy: “a layout must relate to the graphic climate of the newspaper or magazine which is to carry it. . . . There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers.” David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man (London: Southbank Publishing, 2012 [1963]), 137. 65. El Al hired Magnum photographers, including Erich Hartmann, to shoot the airline’s advertisements on multiple occasions. April 8, 1959, Outstanding Industrial and Institutional Projects, Report for 1960 from Inge Bondi to Board, Members, and Staff; Advertising Log, May 27, 1960, AJGM. El Al also underwrote Cornell Capa’s 1969 exhibition catalog Israel/The Reality (New York: World Publishing Company, 1969). 66. The Arab-Israeli War of 1948–49 displaced over seven hundred thousand Palestinians, more than half of whom settled in refugee camps in Jordan. Jordan subsequently annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem with help from the British-funded Arab Legion, appropriating territory that was slated for a Palestinian state. Morris, Righteous Victims, 161–263, and The Road to Jerusalem, 119–150. 67. “I was an Arabist working with the Palestinian refugees [while] Capa, Chim and other photographers insisted on photographing the promised land and distributing the pictures all round the world. . . . My version of these facts was never published because the editors of American magazines were nearly all Jewish.” Rodger quoted in Miller, Magnum, 166. 68. Sometimes Rodger said the real trauma of Bergen-Belsen was that he found himself scanning piles of bodies for the most effective picture. George Rodger, Humanity and Inhumanity: The Photographic Journey of George Rodger (New York: Phaidon, 1994). In another interview he said, “I wanted to join a primitive people who lived at peace and tranquility so that I could join in their lives and get a bit of it for myself. . . . [A] country that was clean and a people that were clean. And that’s why I went to Africa.” Seona Robertson, director, The Chosen People, 2000. 69. “I could see that colonialism was finished,” Rodger said, “and I wanted to photograph what was left of the old Africa, before it became ruled more by the ballpoint than by the spear.” George Rodger, Village of the Nubas, trans. Liz Heron (London: Phaidon Press Limited [Robert Delpire, 1955], 1999), ii. 70. Life (December 1, 1941), 23. 71. George Rodger to Rita Vandivert, June 6, 1947, GJRA. 72. Ibid. 73. George Rodger, “Africa’s Land of Red People,” Illustrated (August 21, 1948), 12–13, and “Dr. Williamson’s Diamonds,” Illustrated (December 23, 1948), 7–11. I rely on the 1948 names of the countries based on Rodger’s diaries; today Rhodesia is Zimbabwe and Abyssinia is Ethiopia.



74. Magnum Photos Accountants Report from Inception May 27, 1947, to October 31, 1947; Magnum Photos Accountants Report as of January 31, 1948; and Magnum Photos Accountants Report as of April 30, 1949, GJRA. 75. According to an undated memo from John Berg to Joan Lailey, ECA Magazine Unit, GJRA. 76. Jinx Witherspoon to George Rodger, June 8, 1950; Norton Wood to Jinx Witherspoon, July 21, 1950, and September 19, 1950; Jinx Witherspoon to Norton Wood, November 16, 1950, GJRA. 77. Jinx and George’s letters and diary entries often use the same turns of phrase, or even replicate entire paragraphs to describe their impressions of the region. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, December 3, 1951, GJRA, and George Rodger to John Morris, December 5, 1951, AJGM-UC; Jinx Witherspoon to parents, December 15, 1951, GJRA, and George Rodger to John Morris, December 16, 1951, AJGM-UC. 78. See for instance “Dr. Schweitzer” Ladies’ Home Journal (May 30, 1951). Regarding her Schweitzer article she wrote proudly to her parents: “Schweitzer is still selling all over Europe—my text is now translated into 9 different languages!” Jinx Witherspoon to parents, November 4, 1951, GJRA. 79. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, June 3 and August 7, 1951, GJRA. Also see Æsa Sigurjónsdóttir, “Hot Spots in the Cold War: Scripts, Visual Agendas, and Relocated Narratives in Cold War Photography,” in On Display: Visual Politics, Material Culture, and Education, ed. Karin Priem and Kerstin te Heesen (Waxmann Verlag, 2016), 145–170. 80. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, November 11, 1951, GJRA. 81. Jinx received her visas on the merit of her father, who spent part of his life as a minister in the Middle East. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, November 11, 1951, GJRA. 82. Old and New Testament descriptions of the inhabitants and topography of Palestine shaped representations, tourists’ experiences, and the commodification of Israel as the Holy Land for over a century. See Naomi Shepherd, Zealous Intruders: The Western Rediscovery of Palestine (London: Collins, 1987); Annabel Jane Wharton, Selling Jerusalem: Relics, Replicas, Theme Parks (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006); Annelies Moors, “Presenting People: The Politics of Picture Postcards of Palestine/Israel” in Postcards: Ephemeral Histories of Modernity, ed. David Prochaska and Jordana Mendelson (University Park: Pennsylvania University Press, 2010), 93–105. 83. Rodger, Desert Journey, 107–108. 84. Jordan formally annexed these areas between 1949 and 1950. Morris, Road to Jerusalem, 119–150. 85. “Emir Abdullah” Life (December 1, 1941), 70. In late 1951 Jinx bragged to her former supervisor, John Morris, that Glubb Pasha was “a personal friend of George’s” with whose help they would be able to shoot a story on the Arab Legion. Jinx Witherspoon to John Morris, November 17, 1951, AJGM-UC. 86. George Rodger to John Morris, December 5, 1951, AJGM-UC and Morris, Road to Jerusalem, 209. 87. George Rodger to Allan Michie, April 12, 1952, GJRA. 88. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, November 18, 26, December 3, 1951, GJRA. Jinx, George, and Glubb Pasha all expressed great empathy for the Palestinian refugees, which often outweighed their empathy for Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust. George Rodger to John Morris, December 5, 1951, AJGM-UC; Jinx Witherspoon to parents, November 18, 1951, GJRA; Morris, Road to Jerusalem, 209. 89. George Rodger to John Morris, December 5, 1951, AJGM-UC, and Jinx Witherspoon to parents, December 15, 1951, GJRA. 90. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, December 3, 1951, GJRA. 91. “While in Beirut we had long talks with James Bell, Middle East correspondent for Life. He, too, is working hard on more refugee stories; we compared all our notes, discussed ideas, and on our return to Paris will try to present Life with a really dramatic and thought-provoking refugee story. . . .



92. 93. 94.

95. 96. 97. 98.

99. 100.

101. 102. 103. 104. 105.

106. 107. 108. 109. 110.


112. 260

When Bell’s piece appeared in Life Luce wrote him saying he thought it ought to have been even stronger. So we will try to give him just that.” Jinx Witherspoon to parents, April 4, 1952, GJRA. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, December 3, 1951, GJRA. George Rodger to John Morris, December 5, 1951, AJGM-UC; Jinx Witherspoon to parents, December 15, 1951, and April 4, 1952, GJRA. George Rodger to John Morris, December 5, 1951, AJGM-UC. As Carole Naggar points out, not all of Rodger’s facts on these issues were correct. Seven hundred thousand Palestinians had been displaced, not nine hundred thousand as Rodger indicated; he was incorrect that only 1.3 percent of Palestinians had been nomads; and he greatly exaggerated the communist threat. Naggar, George Rodger, 219. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, November 18, 1951, GJRA. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, November 26, 1951, GJRA. Rodger quoted in Miller, Magnum, 166. The editors of these journals were Edward K. Thompson (Life), William B. Arthur (Look), Ben Hibbs (Saturday Evening Post), Ted Patrick (Holiday), Bruce and Beatrice Gould as well as Mary Bass (Ladies’ Home Journal). The Curtis Publishing Company, which published the latter three magazines, was founded by Cyrus H.K. Curtis; Life was published by Henry Luce’s Time Inc. Bar-Gal, Propaganda and Zionist Education. Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal, The Palestinian People: A History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), 214–239; and Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), 119–176. Robert Capa to George Rodger, January 16, 1952, GJRA. Ibid. Robert Capa, “The Winter Alps,” Holiday (January 1951), 90–103, and “The Queen and I,” Holiday (November 1951), 52–55, 154. Robert Capa to George Rodger, January 16, 1952, GJRA. Copied on the report are Werner Bischof, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ernst Haas, Fenno Jacobs, Homer Page, Carl Perutz, George Rodger, and David Seymour. Robert Capa, Report to the Stockholders of Magnum, February 15, 1952, AJGM. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, February 13, 1952, GJRA. Brinkley, The Publisher, 44, 115. George Rodger to Henry R. Luce, May 5, 1952, box 386, folder 12, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG 2, NYHS. Henry R. Luce to George Rodger, August 18, 1952, box 386, folder 12, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG 2, NYHS. “Mystery Man of Islam Speaks,” Life (October 27, 1952), 145–146, 148, 151–152; “Egypt’s Premier Reveals How He Made Red Arms Deal,” Life (November 14, 1955), 127–130; “Arabs Cry up a War Scare,” Life (March 19, 1956), 35–36; and “A Clear and Present Danger on Israel-Egypt Gaza Strip,” Life (March 26, 1956), 28–29. Glubb was dismissed in March 1956 after Jordanian supporters of Egypt’s Nasser tried to subvert and overthrow the Hashemite monarchy in Amman, and thereby stymie Jordanian entry into the Baghdad Pact (a U.S. initiative to establish a chain of allied Muslim and Arab states who would counter Soviet influence in and possible invasion of the Middle East). Jordan, with its heavy subsidies from Britain, was seen as the center of British imperial interests, and the new Hashemite King Hussein dismissed Glubb as part of an effort to Arabize the army and quell riots. Between Glubb’s dismissal and the failed attempt to overthrow Nasser, Britain’s position in the Middle East declined abruptly. Morris, Road to Jerusalem, 228–232. For instance, in the genre of “Peril for Polish Leader,” Life (November 26, 1956), 171–186.


113. “Glubb Tells How Our Mid-East Enemies Work,” Life (April 16, 1956), 145–156. 114. The list included Picture Post, Illustrated, Match, Point du Vue, Realites, Die Woche, Du, Billed Bladet, Aktuell, Se, Kufa, Illustratzione, Epoca, Patriote Illustre, De Spaarnestad, Münchner Illustrierte. George Rodger, “Magnum Photos was formed five years ago,” late 1952, GJRA. 115. According to George Rodger’s tear sheet collection, GJRA, cross-checked with the tear sheet collection at MFNY. 116. The magazines’ headlines showed the disagreement over the number of Palestinian refugees at the time, which the UNRWA now estimates to have been about 750,000 when the agency began operations in 1950. UNRWA for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, accessed on May 14, 2019, 117. In 1956 her image also appeared in the New York Times Magazine as part of an extensive story on Arab nationalism. Instead of showing the living conditions of the refugees, the photograph now encapsulated Arab “hatred of Israel,” which, as the Times explained, was strongest in Jordanian camps. William Attwood, “Arabs Aroused,” New York Times Magazine (March 18, 1956), 29. 118. Mazower, No Enchanted Palace. 119. The Swiss Jean Mohr, for instance, documented the humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross and the UNRWA in Jordan. His sold to magazines to show the story of Arab refugees. George and Jinx Witherspoon’s correspondence shows that UN relief workers sometimes took pictures and wrote editorial columns for the press themselves. See, for instance, “Who’ll Help the Arab Refugees?” Picture Post (June 25, 1949), 12–17. 120. National Geographic printed Rodger’s pictures in “Boom Time in Kuwait” (December 1952), 783–802. 121. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, January 25, 1952, GJRA. 122. George Rodger to John Morris, January 26, 1952, AJGM-UC; George Rodger to Allan Michie, April 12, 1952, GJRA; George Rodger to Henry R. Luce, May 5, 1952, box 386, folder 12, Time Inc. Bio Files, MS 3009-RG 2, NYHS. 123. “Memorable and Beautiful: New Cartier-Bresson Book Shows Work of a Great Photographer,” Life (October 13, 1952), 137–144. 124. Richard Simon to “Fellow Photographer,” December 5, 1955, Richard L. Simon papers, Rare Books and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York. 125. Chéroux, Henri Cartier-Bresson (London: Thames & Hudson, 2014), 218. 126. Maria Eisner to Henri Cartier-Bresson, January 23, 1948, FHCB. As late as 1951, Capa insisted that Cartier-Bresson’s captions were “absolutely unsufficient [sic].” Robert Capa to Henri CartierBresson, April 21, 1951, FHCB. 127. Report to Members on the State of Magnum, July 1, 1955, AJGM. 128. Author interview with Yukiko Lanois, former picture librarian of Black Star, October 31, 2016. 129. Henry Cartier-Bresson to Richard Simon, April 26, 1955, Richard L. Simon papers. 130. “Paris! City of Types,” Holiday (April 1953), 48–60, and “The Face of Europe,” Holiday (January 1954), 32–53. 131. David-Fox, Showcasing the Great Experiment. Indeed, when Capa applied to go there in 1948, getting a visa was not inevitable, but his partnership with John Steinbeck, beloved in the USSR for The Grapes of Wrath, helped. 132. Alan Brinkley, The Publisher, 366. The Time Inc. records show that the publishing company had an entire desk devoted to monitoring the USSR, staffed in part by former Soviet citizens who had defected. 133. “Stalin’s Ghastly Secrets” were published in three parts in Life: part 1, April 6, 1953, 109–123; part 2, April 13, 1953, 160–161; part 3, April 20, 1953, 142–143. 134. “Russia’s Wintry Look,” Life (April 26, 1954), 104–109. NOTES TO CHAPTER 3


135. Ed Thompson to Henri Cartier-Bresson, October 8, 1954, AJGM-UC and quoted in Morris, Get the Picture, 168. 136. “One Red Challenge We Should Not Meet,” Life (August 2, 1954), 24. 137. Weekly Report, January 5, 1957, AJGM; “Peril for Polish Leader,” Life (November 26, 1956), 171–186. 138. Weekly Report, January 5, 1957, AJGM. 139. Ibid. Lessing’s pictures appeared in “A Gamble by Gomulka Wins in Poland,” Life (February 4, 1957), 36–37. 140. Magnum Memo, March 29, 1957, AJGM. CHAPTER 4

1. Young, Capa in Color is indispensable for understanding Capa’s work for Holiday. 2. Robert Capa to Patrick and John Morris, February 1953; Capa to Morris Ernst, March 10, 1953; Capa to Morris Ernst, Exhibit C, March 18, 1953; John Morris to Capa, March 20, 1953; Ted Patrick to Capa, April 17, 1953, all AJGM. 3. Mason Klein and Catherine Evans, The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League, 1936–1951 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011). 4. Robert Capa to John Morris, February 24, 1953, AJGM. 5. Capa laid out the situation to Patrick and then sent a copy of that letter to Morris. Robert Capa to Ted Patrick, February 24, 1953, AJGM. 6. During World War II, Patrick was the chief of graphics of printed matter at the Office of War Information, overseeing Yank, U.S.A, and Victory magazines. Popp, Holiday Makers, 49. 7. Robert Capa to Morris Ernst, March 10 and 18, 1953 and John Morris to Robert Capa, April 18, 1953, AJGM. 8. A range of scholars have looked at the rise of travel by studying the interconnected advancements in technology, mass communications, politics, and economics after the war, most notably Endy, Cold War Holidays; Orvar Lofgren, On Holiday: A History of Vacationing (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Harvey Levenstein, We’ll Always Have Paris: American Tourists in France Since 1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); Van Vleck, Empire of the Air; Annabel Jane Wharton, Building the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels and Modern Architecture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001). On how film and photography mediated global travel see Schwartz, It’s So French! including the bibliography. 9. On the long-term implications of Capa’s passport fiasco see Nadya Bair, “From Antifascism to Humanism.” 10. Robert Capa to John Morris, March 18, 1953, AJGM. 11. Pat Hagan to All Photographers on U.S. Editorial Progress and Plans, May 29, 1952, AJGM. 12. These included: “Jerusalem,” Holiday (April 1950), 114–127, with photos by Robert Capa; “Japan,” Holiday (April 1952), 26–41, with photos by Werner Bischof; “Eternal Rome,” Holiday (April 1952), 34–57, with photos by Robert Capa; “Africa,” Holiday (March 1954), 34–51, with photos by George Rodger; “The Middle East,” Holiday (December 1956), 50–65, with photos by Inge Morath; “Spain,” Holiday (May 1954), 34–41, with photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Special Holiday issues on Paris (April 1953) and Europe (January 1954) included photographs by multiple Magnum photographers. 13. Magnum Weekly Report, April 12, 1957, AJGM. 14. Among these were Robert Capa, “The Winter Alps,” Holiday (January 1951), 90–103, and Robert Capa, “Deauville and Biarritz,” Holiday (September 1953), 90–97, 121–122. On the workings of color in the press see Kim Timby, “Look at Those Lollipops! Integrating Color into News Pictures,” in Getting the Picture, ed. Hill and Schwartz , 236–243; Lisa Hostetler and Katherine A. Bussard, Color




16. 17.

18. 19. 20. 21.



24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.




Rush: American Color Photography from Stieglitz to Sherman (New York: Aperture, 2013); Young, Capa in Color; and Schwartz, Jet Age Aesthetic. The Magnum surveys constitute a new genre in Holiday’s history that is not treated in Panzer, “On Holiday,” or Popp, Holiday Makers. Recent collections on Magnum, including Hoelscher, Reading Magnum, and Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto, treat the surveys as noteworthy agency projects without considering their relationship to magazine history and the popularization of social science. Damon-Moore, Magazines for the Millions, and James Playstead Wood, The Curtis Magazines (New York: Ronald Press, 1971). According to Holiday mastheads, its first staff photographers were Alfred A. DeLardi and William B. Springfield, but the magazine got rid of these positions within two years, hired more picture editors, and began to rely on freelance and agency photographers, including Magnum, RaphoGuillumette, Scope, PIX, Black Star, and Three Lions. Patrick worked at Young and Rubicam in the 1930s and had a short stint at Compton Advertising before he joined the Curtis Publishing Company in 1945. Popp, Holiday Makers, 49. Advertisement for Holiday in The New Yorker, January 1950. Popp, Holiday Makers, 47–50. See also Clifton Fadiman, Ten Years of Holiday: An Anniversary Collection of 40 Memorable Pieces (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1956), viii. E. B. White, “Here Is New York,” Holiday (April 1949), 41; John Steinbeck, “In Quest of America,” Holiday (July 1961), 27; John Steinbeck, “In Quest of America,” Holiday (December 1961), 60. Also see Michael Callahan, “A Holiday for the Jet Set,” Vanity Fair (May 2013), accessed on October 12, 2015, Based on my review of every issue of the magazine at the University of California-Davis library. John Morris reported that Magnum’s photographers get “first crack at foreign jobs in most cases” from Holiday. John Morris to Robert Capa and Margot Shore, March 28, 1953, AJGM. Morris noted happily that Holiday, “in proportion to its resources, makes better use of Magnum’s services than any other American magazine.” John G. Morris, Magnum & Its Markets, June 21, 1954, AJGM. Endy, Cold War Holidays, 105–132. Such stories were sporadic in 1946 and 1947 but steadily increased after 1948, beginning with the first Holiday issue on Paris in May of that year. “Holiday News,” Holiday (March 1946), 11. See for instance Holiday (July 1947), 41, and Holiday (May 1948), 28–29. John Horne Burns, “Naples,” Holiday (May 1949), 65. The English-language literature on rubble photography is more limited than the literature on rubble films. Helpful text include Neil Matheson, “National Identity and the ‘Melancholy of Ruins’: Cecil Beaton’s photographs of the London Blitz,” Journal of War and Culture Studies 1, no. 3 (2008), 261–274; Robert R. Shandley, Rubble Films: German Cinema in the Shadow of the Third Reich (Temple University Press, 2001); and Steven Hoelscher, “Dresden: A Camera Accuses,” in History of Photography 36, no. 3 (August 2012), 288–305, which cites a number of German sources on the subject. Matheson, “National Identity and the ‘Melancholy of Ruins,’ ” Tom Allbeson, “Visualizing Wartime Destruction and Postwar Reconstruction,” and Angus Calder, The Myth of the Blitz (London: Random House Limited, 1991). By the 1950s, advertisers were designing campaigns that centered on overturning weather stereotypes associated with a place, from rainy England to Southern California with its unbearably hot summers. Popp, Holiday Makers, 103–127. David Seymour to Rita Vandivert, December 11, 1947, MFNY.



33. Maria Eisner to Robert Capa, October 7, 1948, Robert Capa Archive, ICP. 34. When American magazines from Life and Look to Readers’ Digest published stories on the USSR in the early days of the Cold War, they frequently positioned the Soviet Union as the authoritarian foil to the freedoms of America. Popp, Holiday Makers, 76–77. 35. Theodore E. White, “From the Rubble,” Holiday (June 1949), 144. 36. Based on my analysis of every issue of Holiday from 1946 to 1956. 37. This is the progression of visual content in a Holocaust story in Life (May 7, 1945), 32–50. On how Holocaust photographs were presented in the U.S. and British press in the late 1940s, see Zelizer, Remembering to Forget, 86–140. 38. “Things to Look for in Hollywood,” Holiday (October 1946), 20–24. Many winter issues were dedicated to warm places, including the January 1948 issue of Holiday on Florida, while the April 1948 issue ran with a cover story on Hawaii. 39. On the relationship between fantasy and advertising imagery see Patricia Johnston, Real Fantasies: Edward Steichen’s Advertising Photography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). 40. “Capa is back. His Return to Budapest piece is at last in the current Holiday, and reads very well. I value him more and more as the years go by.” John Morris to Ernestine Evans, November 4, 1949, AJGM. See also Fadiman, Ten Years of Holiday. 41. Maria Eisner to Robert Capa, October 7, 1948, Robert Capa Archive, ICP. 42. Theodore White’s presence became part of Capa’s story, with White as the good Western reporter wanting to get to the bottom of how evil Communism is, and the Hungarian people failing to give him what he wants. Instead of hearing the truth, White drank until he passed out from the Hungarian wine. Robert Capa, “Conversation in Budapest,” Holiday (November 1949), 65–66, 68–70, 120, 122–125. 43. After the war, Capa often wrote lightheartedly about the rise of fascism that sent him, like other Jewish photographers of his generation, into exile time and again. An official Magnum blurb on the photographer, distributed to editors and printed in a number of American magazines after World War II began: “Due to disagreement with a Mr. Horthy, [Capa] left Hungary at the age of 18 and became a photographer in Germany. In 1933, due to disagreement with a Mr. Hitler, Capa left Germany and found his way to France.” Robert Capa, self-authored biography, n.d., MFNY. 44. Ben Hibbs to Rita Vandivert, December 6, 1947, MFNY. 45. Popp, Holiday Makers, 86–91. 46. James Thurber, “What Every Traveler Should Know,” Holiday (June 1949), reprinted in Fadiman, Ten Years of Holiday, 67–76. 47. Erik Sjogren, “Human Interest Travel,” in Travel Key to Europe (New York: This Week Magazine, 1952), 21–61. 48. Sjogren, 25. 49. Maria Eisner to Henri Cartier-Bresson, January 20, 1949, FHCB. 50. Accountant’s Report through July 31, 1949, FHCB. 51. In the spring of 1949, Seymour shot a set of images for Morris at Ladies’ Home Journal on city life, which Magnum hoped would be a sequel to the farming families’ approach of PPTWO. A Magnum staff member wrote to Cartier-Bresson, “We are all holding our breaths hoping that John Morris will like the story (on Rome) and that MAGNUM lands the fat assignment of covering the world’s cities, which would save us financially this year.” Elizabeth Reeve to Henri Cartier-Bresson, May 31, 1949, FHCB. 52. Capa planned to use backing from an American publication to cover most of the production costs of the survey and supplement the rest with funds from the Illustrated and Epoca, who would have first distribution rights to the story in Europe. Epoca contract for Generation X, circa 1950, MFNY.




54. 55.

56. 57.



60. 61. 62. 63. 64.

65. 66. 67. 68.


70. 71. 72. 73.

Magnum “Generation X,” October 20, 1950, AJGM-UC. The original pitch is in Morris’s files alongside multiple versions that show Morris editing the text, making Capa’s English sound more like Morris’s writing in “People are People the World Over” and therefore more presentable to Morris’s editors at the Journal. In an email to me on November 28, 2011, Morris said that after “People are People,” he wrote “a questionnaire directed at Young People around the world but couldn’t sell it to [his] editors. Capa sold it as a Magnum project to McCall’s.” Magnum “Generation X,” October 20, 1950, AJGM-UC. See for instance Janet Flanner, “Letter from Paris,” The New Yorker (January 7, 1950); “The American Task,” Life (January 2, 1950), 28; The March of Time 16, no. 1 (February 3, 1950); and Hanna Arendt’s 1950 preface to The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1994 [1948]), vii-ix. Maria Eisner to “GX photographers,” November 22, 1950; Robert Capa to Pat Hagan, May 29, 1951; Robert Capa to John Morris, July 23, 1951, AJGM. Magnum, “Generation X,” October 20, 1950, AJGM-UC. Magnum’s proposal included a French Communist and Egyptian prostitute. Capa lamented about the final choices of subjects: “I felt that as much as the major problem of this generation is war, we certainly should have had a Western European conscript or at least a British sailor in it.” Robert Capa to Pat Hagan, May 29, 1951, AJGM. As the finished stories began to come in, both Magnum and McCall’s felt that the profiles were “too documentary, lacking mobility, excitement, and interest.” Pat Hagan to “GX Photographers,” July 27, 1951, AJGM. On the tyranny of the photo editor, see Janssens and Kalff, “Time Incorporated Stink Club”; Galassi, “Old Worlds, Modern Times”; and Bair, “Never Alone: Photo Editing and Collaboration,” in Hill and Schwartz, Getting the Picture. On Haas’s involvement in producing Generation X see Inge Bondi, “The Life and Work of Ernst Haas” (manuscript, 2012), 142, Inge Bondi Archive, with thanks to Vanessa Schwartz. Robert Capa to “GX photographers,” n.d. (circa 1951), AJGM. Letter to Magnum Shareholders on Editorial Progress in the US, May 29, 1952, AJGM and Whelan, Robert Capa, 277–278. “Holiday: Who and Where,” Holiday (January 1953), 25. Popp, Holiday Makers, 118. In Ogilvy’s advertising campaign for the British Travel Association, for instance, ads focused heavily on “castles, thatched roofs, and quirky ‘Olde-Curiosity-Shoppe aspects’ of British culture” so as to suggest that American tourists coming to England would get a taste of the “patently non-American, British essence for themselves.” Popp, Holiday Makers, 118. Van Vleck, Empire of the Air, 219–221. “Can you name the homelands of these people?” Life (April 9, 1956), inside cover. Letters to the Editor, Holiday (April 1953), 4. On travel abroad as a form of ambassadorship, see Endy, Cold War Holidays, 116–121, 226 and Richard Ivin Jobs, Backpack Ambassadors: How Youth Travel Integrated Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017). On the wartime effects on American consumption and the immediate changes after 1945 as they relate to vacationing, see Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumer’s Republic and Charles F. McGovern, Sold American: Consumption and Citizenship, 1890–1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006). Popp, Holiday Makers, 28–30. “Your Right to Be Restless,” Holiday (April 1951), 30. Robert Capa, “No-Nights in Norway,” Holiday (September 1952), 90. “Conclusion: Youth and the World,” Holiday (March 1953), 51.



74. 75. 76. 77. 78.

79. 80. 81. 82.

83. 84.

85. 86.

87. 88. 89.

90. 91. 92.





Jinx Witherspoon to parents, March 14, 1952, GJRA. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, March 23, 1952, GJRA. Jinx Witherspoon to parents, March 30, 1952, GJRA. “Youth and the World: Conclusion,” Holiday (March 1953), 58. Ibid., 59. On this formative period in Yugoslav-Soviet relations see Svetozar Rajak, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union in the Early Cold War: Reconciliation, Comradeship, Confrontation, 1953–1957 (New York: Routledge, 2011). Don Smith, “Adventures in Tito-Land,” Holiday (April 1953), 36–46, 69–70. Harry G. Nickles, “Holiday in Russia,” Holiday (July 1955), 102–111, here 103. Nickles, “Holiday in Russia,” 103. Even though as Popp notes, certain groups, including African Americans and Jews, faced impediments when they traveled in the U.S., with some hotels and resorts not selling accommodations to such guests. Popp, Holiday Makers, 71–81. Robert Capa to Lou Mercier, June 25, 1952 cited in Young, Capa in Color, 24. In the second installment of the series, published in February 1953, the young people’s individual narratives were subsumed by their nations’ recent past and their relationship to the U.S., first as war-era enemies and then as recipients of American aid. The installment featured young people from Italy, Japan, and Germany—“each of the three defeated, formerly enemy countries”—as well as France, “a country bitterly hurt by defeat and occupation in the last war.” “Youth and the World: Part II,” Holiday (February 1953), 48. Magnum and Its Markets, June 21, 195, AJGM. Han Suyin, “The New World of Asia: Singapore,” Holiday (September 1954), 46–51, 83–84; J. Bryan III “The Duke of Edinburgh—Part I,” Holiday (May 1956), 52–56; “Toscanini: Portrait of a Genius, Part I of IV,” Holiday (October 1955). Magnum Update on Photographers, December 7, 1955, AJGM John Morris, “Magnum: An International Cooperative,” US Camera (1954), 110–152. Robert Capa to all photographers, May 1, 1951; John Morris to Robert Capa, July 25, 1953; list of stories and assignments accepted and given out by Robert Capa in London for Picture Post (n.d.— late 1953), all AJGM; David Seymour to John Morris, May 14, 1956, MFNY; Magnum Memo, November 26, 1958, AJGM. Popp, Holiday Makers, 76. Robert Capa to Pat Hagan, May 29, 1951, AJGM, and Young, Capa in Color, 20. The locations in “World of Women” were Greece, Singapore, the Philippines, the United States, France, Chile, Haiti, Egypt, India, Italy, and Spain. The countries in “World of Children” were Cuba, Uganda, England, France, the United States, Peru, Holland, Japan, Finland, and Italy. Preparing to shoot the World of Children story, Eve Arnold wrote from Cuba about her reliance on a fixer to get around the country and to find lodging: “I have met a man . . . who knows all about the Cuban coast . . . [he] has promised to take me in his amphibious plane to a small cay off the coast of Cuba where I can find the kind of child I want. . . . If we find the little girl (fisherman’s child) my friend will provide a yacht on which I can live while working.” Eve Arnold to Magnum, March 22, 1954, AJGM. Jacqueline Brugess and John R. Gold, eds., Geography, the Media and Popular Culture (London: Croom Helm, 1985); Schulten, Geographical Imagination in America, 121–147; and Leo Zonn, ed., Place Images in Media: Portrayal, Experience, and Meaning (Savage: Rowan & Littlefield, 1990). My thanks to Steven Hoelscher for conversations on this subject. Such skills were part of the “new anthropo-geographical methodology” intended to “capture the everyday interactions between humans and their environment.” Paula Amad, Counter-Archive: Film,


96. 97. 98.


100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105.

106. 107. 108.

109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114.


the Everyday, and Albert Kahn’s Archives de la Planete (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 49–80, here 58. Amad, Counter-Archive, 5. Amad, Counter-Archive, 78. Roger Angell, “World of Women: Part I,” Holiday (December 1954), 41. The introduction to “World of Children” described photographers’ process: “This is a collaboration between Holiday and Magnum Photos, the international photographic agency whose staff took all the pictures for these stories. The text is based entirely on searching interviews with the children and their parents, and upon the children’s answers to a long and detailed questionnaire.” Roger Angell, “Children’s World: Part I,” Holiday (December 1955), 41. The questionnaire in Cartier-Bresson’s archive shows the photographer crossed out many of the questions, and commented that others were “indecent” or “none of my business.” An exchange between Cartier-Bresson and Roger Angell of Holiday ensued in which the editor pleaded for more information to make the “Petit Rat” profile come alive in the text. Roger Angell to Cartier-Bresson, July 21, 1955, FHCB. Lou Mercier to John Morris, January 13, 1954, AJGM. “Approved List of Subjects for Children of the World,” n.d., and Margot Shore to John Morris, February 20, 1954, AJGM. Popp, Holiday Makers, 113–115. Margot Shore to John Morris, February 20, 1954, AJGM. “World of Children: Part II,” Holiday (January 1956), 98–99. American Express first noticed “off the beaten path” travel in the mid-1950s as Americans started renting cars to escape crowds. Arthur Frommer’s Europe on $5 a Day appeared in 1957, becoming a bible for Americans looking to rough it across Europe. Yet notions of authenticity were a minor theme throughout most of the vacation boom, emerging only by the late 1950s. Popp, Holiday Makers, 129. Also see Jobs, Backpack Ambassadors. Robert Capa, “The Winter Alps,” Holiday (January 1951), 90–103; and Robert Capa, “Deauville and Biarritz,” Holiday (September 1953), 90–97, 121–122. “Holiday Camera: Robert Capa Shares His Tricks for Shooting Snow,” Holiday (January 1952), 23. “Holiday Camera” ran in the magazine from August 1951 to August 1952. The feature was likely influenced by Frank Zachary’s experience at Modern Photography, a magazine aimed at amateur practitioners. “Who and Where—A Who’s Who of People on the Go: The Hundred Days of C. B.,” Holiday (January 1954), 28. Magnum and its Markets, June 21, 1954, AJGM. Louis Mercier, “The Face of Europe,” Holiday (January 1954), 32. Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment, n.p. Mercier, “The Face of Europe,” 32. Not until 1956 would other photographers receive the kind of treatment that Cartier-Bresson received in 1954. In those cases, the photographers—such as Arnold Newman and Slim Aarons— were Americans and their subjects were often American as well, making Cartier-Bresson one of the most prestigious European photographers covering Europe in the first decade of Holiday’s history. In Arnold Newman’s portfolio, “The American Indian,” Holiday (February 1956), or Slim Aarons’s “The View from Villa d’Este,” Holiday (September 1956), neither of the photographers was listed in the table of contents as the authors of the stories. On lure advertising in Holiday, see Popp, Holiday Makers, 103–122.



116. Holiday likewise sent letters of introduction but these were delayed. David Seymour to John Morris, February 24, 1954; Magnum to Seymour, February 27, 1954; Seymour to John Morris, March 1, 1954; Seymour to John Morris, March 3, 1954; Seymour to Margot Shore, March 9, 1954; Magnum to Seymour, March 20, 1954; Seymour to John Morris, March 31, 1954; Seymour to John Morris, April 19, 1954; Seymour to John Morris, “Frederica, Queen of the Hellenes,” n.d. (circa April 19, 1954), all MFNY. 117. George Rodger to Margot Shore, April 20, 1954, GJRA. 118. “Lollobrigida’s bust was front-page news in the Italian and American press and entire articles were dedicated to it.” Réka Buckley, “National Body: Gina Lollobrigida and the Cult of the Star in the 1950s,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 20, no. 4 (2000), 527–547, here 531. Seymour enjoyed close working relationships with and was trusted by a number of actresses in the last years of his life, including Lollobrigida, Ingrid Bergman, and Sophia Loren, when he was predominantly working on film sets. Seymour to John Morris and Inge Bondi, January 23, 1956, John Morris to Seymour, October 4, 1956; Seymour to John Morris, October 19, 1956, MFNY; John Morris to Dan Mich, August 8, 1956, AJGM. 119. Stephen Gundle, “Hollywood Glamour and Mass Consumption in Postwar Italy,” Journal of Cold War Studies 4, no. 3 (Summer 2002), 95–118. 120. Charles L. Ponce de Leon, Self Exposure: Human-Interest Journalism and the Emergence of Celebrity in America, 1890–1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002); Schwartz, It’s So French!, especially 102–157; and Ryan Linkof, Public Images: Celebrity, Photojournalism, and the Making of the Tabloid Press (New York: Bloomsbury, 2018). 121. John Morris to Magnum Stockholders, A Report on 1957 Operations, March 15, 1958, AJGM. 122. Minutes from Magnum’s Board of Directors Meeting, January 11, 1961, AJGM 123. Callahan, “A Holiday for the Jet Set.” CHAPTER 5

1. “Birth Pangs at Detroit for a New Economy Car,” Life (September 14, 1959), 157–165. 2. Wilson Hicks, Words and Pictures, 63–80; Mich and Eberman, Technique of the Picture Story; and R. Smith Schuneman, ed., Photographic Communication: Principles, Problems, and Challenges of Photojournalism (New York: Hastings House, 1972). 3. John Morris, “Magnum and Ford,” October 3, 1959, AJGM. 4. Ibid. 5. Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto, 216–226. 6. Magnum’s timeline dovetails with the one used by a leftist generation of photography critics in the 1980s and 1990s, who dug up a body of corporate news pictures (including campaigns by Magnum photographers) to critique photographers for working in the service of corporate capitalism. See Carol Squiers, “The Corporate Year in Pictures,” in Bolton, The Contest of Meaning, 207–218. Two welcome exceptions include McCauley, Industrial Madness, and the work of Mary Panzer, including “Shot out of the Canon: Advertising Photography in Vogue Magazine, 1930s–1950s,” Aperture 208 (Fall 2012), 62–65, which articulates some of the methodological issues I raise here. 7. Scott M. Cutlip and Allen Center, Effective Public Relations, 3rd edition (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1964), 62. On the history of public relations see Stuart Ewen, PR! A Social History of Spin (New York: Basic Books, 1996). 8. David E. Nye, Image Worlds: Corporate Identities at General Electric, 1890–1930 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985); Elspeth H. Brown, The Corporate Eye: Photography and the Rationalization of American Commercial Culture, 1884–1929 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005); Roland Marchand, Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery



9. 10.

11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31.

in American Big Business (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); and Anthony Lee, A Shoemaker’s Story: Being Chiefly about French Canadian Immigrants, Enterprising Photographers, Rascal Yankees, and Chinese Cobblers in a Nineteenth-Century Factory Town (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008). John Harwood, The Interface: IBM and the Transformation of Corporate Design, 1945–1976 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 161–216. Patricia Johnston, Real Fantasies: Edward Steichen’s Advertising Photography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); Marchand, Advertising the American Dream; Bogart, Artists, Advertising, and the Borders of Art; and Sherwin Simmons, “Advertising Seizes Control of Life: Berlin Dada and the Power of Advertising,” Oxford Art Journal 22, no. 1 (1999), 121–146. Frank, Conquest of Cool, 55. They precipitated a trend that began in early twentieth-century in Germany in which “commercial advertisements . . . [became] a vital source of income for publishers and photographers, and by extension for their agents.” Blaschke, Banking on Images, 41. Pat Hagan to All Shareholders on US Editorial Progress and Plans, May 29, 1952, AJGM. Robert Capa, Magnum Report to Shareholders, February 15, 1952, AJGM. Magnum Memo, April 6, 1957, AJGM. On magazine shooting scripts see Hicks, Words and Pictures; Galassi, “Old Worlds, Modern Times,”11–77; and Bair, “Photo Essays at Life.” Cornell Capa Report to Shareholders of Magnum, August 22, 1957, AJGM. Schwartz, It’s So French, and Toby Miller, ed., Global Hollywood (London: BFI, 2001). See chapter 1 note 60. Not all of these pictures ended up in the press, and it is difficult to establish the precise dates for the film shoots without further research in the relevant film archives. The dates on the photographs, some published online by Magnum, note when the film was debuted instead of when it was made. Capa photographed movie productions before Magnum was established, including Hitchcock’s Notorious and the Arch of Triumph in 1946. Ingrid Bergman and Alan Burgess, Ingrid Bergman: My Story (New York: Dell Publishing, 1980), 190–226. Cartier-Bresson had already worked on film sets as well. One of his most iconic photographs of a former inmate about to strike her guard at the Dessau liberation was made during the filming of the educational film Le Retour in 1945. Bergala, Magnum Cinema, 8–14. Schwartz, It’s So French, 70–99; Carol Squiers, “Original Sin: The Birth of the Paparazzo,” in Sandra S. Philips, Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 221–228; Edgar Morin, The Stars (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972). Robert Muller, “Beat the Devil,” Picture Post (August 1954), 18–21, 39. Gundle, “Hollywood Glamour and Mass Consumption in Postwar Italy,” and Buckley, “National Body: Gina Lollobrigida and the Cult of the Star in the 1950s.” Magnum film contract sample, August 5, 1954, AJGM. George Rodger to Col. Stewart Chant, January 28, 1957, GJRA. Magnum Memo, April 6, 1957, AJGM. Magnum Memo, April 6, 1957; Cornell Capa Report to Shareholders of Magnum, August 22, 1957 and Report to members on the state of Magnum, July 1, 1955, AJGM. John Morris, Magnum Policy and Plans to All Shareholders, July 6, 1953, AJGM. Michel Chevalier, Report for 1960 Meeting, n.d.; Inge Bondi to Magnum, February 14, 1959, and Inge Bondi to Magnum Board, Members, and Staff, n.d., AJGM. Magnum Financial Report, 1958, AJGM.



32. John Morris, Report to Members on the State of Magnum, July 1, 1955, and Cornell Capa, Report to Shareholders of Magnum, August 22, 1957, AJGM. 33. George Rodger to John Morris, December 4, 1956, AJGM. Based on Rodger’s other correspondence, it seems that Rodger mis-dated this letter and sent it on December 4, 1955 rather than 1956. 34. George Rodger to John Morris, January 16, 1957, GJRA. 35. It is likely that Life did not purchase Rodger’s Africa pictures because it had its own staff photographer, Eliot Elisofon, working on the continent between the late 1940s and 1960s. Raoul K. Granqvist, “Photojournalism’s White Mythologies: Eliot Elisofon and LIFE in Africa, 1959–1961,” Research in African Literatures 43, no. 3 (Fall 2012), 84–105. 36. Robert Capa to George Rodger, January 16, 1952, GJRA. Rodger’s health also prevented him from chasing after certain stories if he needed to fly somewhere. 37. George Rodger to John Morris, December 4, 1956, AJGM. 38. In 1954, for instance, Magnum sold six stories to The Lamp ranging in price from $500 to $2,500. Magnum and Its Markets, June 21, 1954, AJGM. In 1955 Morris told Magnum shareholders that half of Magnum’s industrial income comes from Standard Oil Company of New Jersey’s The Lamp. John Morris, Report to Members on the State of Magnum, July 1, 1955, AJGM. 39. Mich and Eberman, Technique of Picture Story, 208. 40. Keller, Highway as Habitat, 47–49. 41. Mich and Eberman, Technique of Picture Story, 214–215. 42. On Standard Oil’s art collection see Bogart, Borders of Art, 273–275. 43. Keller, Highway as Habitat, 9–55. My analysis is based on my survey of over three dozen copies of The Lamp from the 1940s and 1950s at the New York Public Library. 44. The American assistant attorney general claimed that SONJ’s dealings with I. G. F. caused a shortage of synthetic rubber in the United States, compromising the Allied war effort. Keller, Highway as Habitat, 26, and Maren Stange, Symbols of Ideal Life: Social Documentary Photography in America, 1890–1950 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 142–147. 45. Larson, New Horizons, 629–647. 46. “The Photographic Section: Public Relations Department, Standard Oil Company,” November 8, 1946, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey Archive–Roy Stryker Papers, University of Louisville, KY (RSP). 47. Roy Stryker, “Photographs in Public Relations at the Standard Oil Company,” n.d. (circa 1945), RSP. 48. Keller, Highway as Habitat, 10. 49. John Morris, Magnum Policy and Plans to All Shareholders, July 6, 1953, AJGM. While most Lamp stories were illustrated with stock photographs from the SONJ archive and other image collections, the magazine’s table of contents from the late 1940s to the early 1950s show that in special cases the magazine commissioned photo essays from freelance photographers at PIX Publishing, Keystone, Rapho-Guillamette, Black Star, and European. 50. Werner Bischof to Rosellina Bischof, October 3, 1953 and January 1954, Werner Bischof Estate (WB). His images appeared as part of “Bold New Roads,” The Lamp (March 1954), 20–23. 51. Ed Sammis to Inge Morath, March 9, 1956, and Lou Mercier to Inge Morath, March 13, 1956, Inge Morath Papers, Beinecke Library, Yale University. 52. Henri Cartier-Bresson, caption sheets for “The Rhine,” FHCB, with thanks to Aude Raimbault. 53. Ferdinand Kuhn, “The Rhine,” The Lamp (Winter 1956), 9–16. 54. Naggar’s biography of Rodger, for instance, acknowledges certain SONJ assignments but does not underscore the centrality of SONJ and Sammis to the Rodgers’ itineraries and story ideas. When I presented this material at the New York Public Library in April 2016, Susan Meiselas, who as president of the Magnum Foundation is deeply versed in the agency’s history, referred to my dis-



55. 56. 57. 58.

59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65.

66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

76. 77. 78.

cussion of Rodger and Standard Oil as “my discovery,” further suggesting that this history is not widely known. George Rodger, “Desert Search,” The Lamp (Fall 1957), 18. Ed Sammis to George Rodger, November 9, 1956, GJRA. Each book was illustrated with sixty-four plates by Rodger. Both books can be seen as a continuation of nineteeth-century chronicles by Western photographers whose memoirs were filled with narratives of “adversity overcome and heroic endeavor.” Ali Behdad and Luke Gartlan, eds., Photography’s Orientalism: New Essays on Colonial Representation (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2013), 1–2. Ed Sammis to George Rodger, February 10, 1956, and Rodger to John Morris, February 14, 1956, GJRA. George Rodger to John Morris, July 6, 1956, and John Morris to George Rodger, July 10, 1956, GJRA. George Rodger to Ed Sammis, July 11, 1956, GJRA. George Rodger to John Morris, August 8, 1956, GJRA. Editor’s note to “Desert Search,” The Lamp (Fall 1957), 18. George and Jinx Rodger, “When Elephants Have Right of Way,” National Geographic (September 1960), 362–389. France was at war with the Algerian National Liberation Front from 1954 to 1962, when Algeria gained independence from France. Todd Shepard, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006) and Matthew James Connelly, A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post– Cold War Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). Naggar, George Rodger, 147–148. Ken Auletta, The Art of Corporate Success: The Story of Schlumberger (New York: Penguin Books, 1984). George Rodger to John Morris, December 14, 1956, GJRA. George Rodger to John Morris, January 16, 1957, and February 24, 1957, GJRA. George Rodger to John Morris, January 16, 20, 30, February 13, 24, March 3, 11, 1957; George Rodger to Inge Morath, January 26, 1957, GJRA. George Rodger to John Morris, March 11 and 20, 1957, GJRA. Schlumberger made its reports from the prints, captions and layouts supplied by Cornell. Inge Bondi to George Rodger, July 24, 1956, and George Rodger to Cornell Capa, May 21, 1957, GJRA. Such rhetoric is intrinsic to corporate promotion as outlined in Carol Squiers, “The Corporate Year in Pictures.” On the ethnographic color photographs in National Geographic see Hochman, Savage Preservation, 143–176. Lutz and Collins, Reading National Geographic, and Tamar R. Rothenberg, Presenting America’s World: Strategies of Innocence in National Geographic Magazine, 1888–1945 (Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2007), 7–10. It broke that policy to publish Richard Nixon’s report on his trip to Moscow. Lutz and Collins, Reading National Geographic, 36. Herbert Wilburn to Jinx Rodger, July 3, 1956, GJRA. Hawkins identifies three features of jungle housekeeping stories: couples grappling with uncertainties of changing gender roles in remote settings, women narrators commenting on domestic arrangements, and photographers “working in improvised labs or preparing film in mobile jungle darkrooms for the ultimate benefit of National Geographic Society members.” Stephanie L. Hawkins, American Iconographic: National Geographic, Global Culture, and the Visual Imagination (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010), 139.



79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86.

87. 88. 89. 90.

91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97.

98. 99.

1 00. 101. 102.

103. 104.


George Rodger to Melville Grosvenor, March 13, 1957, GJRA. Jinx Rodger, “Sand in My Eyes,” National Geographic 113, no. 5 (May 1958), 664. George Rodger to Trudy Feliu, April 29, 1957 and George Rodger to John Morris, May 20, 1957, GJRA. Tamar Rothenberg called this National Geographic’s “strategy of innocence” in Presenting America’s World. See also Lutz and Collins, Reading National Geographic, 57–70 and 87–117. Miller, Magnum: Fifty Years, 166. George Rodger to Cornell Capa, December 3, 1957, GJRA. By 1960, Magnum photographers including Marc Riboud came out against the war when rising protests made it clear that France would not be able to hold on to Algeria for much longer. The Rodgers’ Sahara trip expenses added up to $4,200, of which Schlumberger contributed $2,450. Life and The Lamp each paid $500 for the stories they bought but did not use. The rest of their debts were covered by the sale of pictures and text to National Geographic, which left them with a profit. Unsent letter from George Rodger to Inge Bondi, March 29, 1958, GJRA. Brian Brake to George and Jinx Rodger, June 7, 1958, GJRA. Ibid. John Baldwin to George Rodger, May 9 and June 24, 1958, GJRA. Erich and Ruth Hartmann, Our Daily Bread (Heidelberg: Kehrer, 2013); Nadya Bair, “Their Daily Bread: American Sponsorship and Magnum Photos’ Global Network,” American 31, no. 2 (Summer 2017), 109–117; Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto, 80–83. Magnum’s 2017 anniversary exhibition Magnum Manifesto and the eponymous volume accompanying it both presented Hartmann’s work precisely as evidence of Magnum’s postwar humanism. John Morris, Magnum and its Markets, June 21, 1954, AJGM. Magnum Memo, May 11, 1956, and Magnum Memo, May 26, 1956, box 33:48, folder 46, W. Eugene Smith Archive, CCP. John Morris, Report on 1956 Operations, January 15, 1957, AJGM. Inge Bondi, interview with the author, February 15, 2015, and Inge Bondi, Report for 1960 to the Board, Members, and Staff, n.d. (late 1959), AJGM. Inge Bondi, interview with the author, February 15, 2015, and John Morris, Report on 1956 Operations, January 15, 1957, AJGM. Cornell Capa, Report to the Shareholders of Magnum, August 22, 1957; Magnum Financial Report, March 4, 1958, AJGM; 1958, 1959, 1960 Stories by Photographer, AJGM. Arnold became an associate member in 1951 and a full member in 1955. Janine Di Giovanni, Eve Arnold: Magnum Legacy (New York: Prestel, 2015), 172–173. Interview with Inge Bondi, February 15, 2015, and e-mail correspondence with the author, March 14 and 17, 2015. Kerry William Purcell, Alexey Brodovitch (London: Phaidon, 2011), 75–85. In 1950 Eve Arnold spent six weeks in the course, receiving her only formal training in photography before joining Magnum. Di Giovanni, Eve Arnold, 20. Interview with Inge Bondi, February 15, 2015. Inge Bondi to Magnum Photographers, Regarding: Place of the Month, May 1951, FHCB, and Inge Bondi, interview with the author, February 15, 2015. David Seymour to Inge Bondi, May 20, 1955, and Inge Bondi to Alexey Brodovitch, November 25, 1955, MFNY. The stories were published as “David Niven,” Harper’s Bazaar (February 1956), 142–143, and “Above the Crowd,” Harper’s Bazaar (August 1956), 130–131. John Morris, Magnum Policy and Plans to All Shareholders, July 6, 1953 and John Morris to Cornell Capa, October 31, 1958, AJGM. Julianna Sivulka, Ad Women: How They Impact What We Need, Want, and Buy (New York: Prometheus Books, 2009).


105. Transcript of radio interview with Inge Bondi, October 4, 1955, Inge Bondi archive; Magnum Memo, January 17, 1959; Inge Bondi, Report for 1960 to the Board, Members, and Staff, n.d. (late 1959), AJGM; Inge Bondi and Alexey Brodovitch, “The Photographer’s ‘Two Masters,’ ” Print 13, no. 2 (March 1, 1959), 22–29. 106. Purcell, Alexey Brodovitch. 107. Bondi and Brodovitch, “The Photographer’s ‘Two Masters.’ ” 108. Vanessa R. Schwartz, “New York in Color, 1953,” in Schwartz and Hill, Getting the Picture, 73–75. 109. Inge Bondi, transcript for talk at the Art Directors’ Club of Indianapolis, October 9, 1959, Inge Bondi archive. On Haas’s color-motion see Schwartz, Jet Age Aesthetic. 110. Inge Bondi, Report for 1960 to the Board, Members, and Staff, n.d. (late 1959), AJGM. 111. Black Star’s editor and sales agent Ben Chapnick similarly recalled bringing tear sheets to advertisers to encourage them to hire journalistic photographers and use 35mm cameras for campaigns. Michael Tarosian, interview with Benjamin J. Chapnick, June 6, 2012, Black Star Archive, RIC. 112. Inge Bondi, Advertising Log, May 27, 1960, AJGM. 113. Magnum Weekly Report, January 11, 1957, AJGM. 114. Magnum Weekly Report, April 12, 1957, AJGM. 115. Inge Bondi to George Rodger, September 11, 1958, GJRA. 116. Some Magnum Photographed Advertisements and Campaigns, June 29, 1959, AJGM. 117. Inge Bondi, Report for 1960 to the Board, Members, and Staff, n.d. (late 1959), AJGM. 118. Cornell Capa, Report to the Shareholders of Magnum, August 22, 1957, and Cornell Capa, Report to Magnum Shareholders on Magnum’s State of Health, January 1959, AJGM. 119. Inge Bondi, Report for 1960: 1959 Productions, AJGM. In 1958, Brian Brake told George and Jinx Rodger that “Inge is doing a fantastic job on advertising and bringing in lots of money.” Brake to Rodger, June 7, 1958, GJRA. 120. While Bondi recalls working with Bankers’ Trust directly, the account was handled by the RoseMartin advertising agency, which paid Magnum. Magnum New York Statement of Account to Inge Morath as of November 30, 1960, Inge Morath Papers. Magnum’s website includes Cartier-Bresson’s pictures from Bankers’ Trust offices in 1960, so the photographer may not have rejected the assignment in its entirety. 121. Magnum Advertising Log, May 27, 1960; American Magazines Log May 21–27, 1960; May 27–June 3, 1960; June 4—June 10, 1960; June 18–24, 1960; Magnum Memo, July 1, 1960; American Magazine Log, November 5–11, 1960; March 18, 1961; October 28–November 3, 1961, AJGM, and Bondi, e-mail correspondence with the author, January 13, 2017. 122. New York Presented by the Bankers Trust Company (1961), back cover, Inge Morath Photographs and Papers. 123. Angela M. Blake, How New York Became American (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006). 124. “Images of a Magic City, Part I,” Life (September 14, 1953), 108–124; “Images of a Magic City, Part II,” Life (September 21, 1953), 116–126; Robert Frank, The Americans (New York: Grove Press, 1959). 125. In 1962 Morath married playwright Arthur Miller and moved to Manhattan. The photographer’s contact sheets include projects for Bankers’ Trust from 1960–1963, Boxes 41, 53, 135, 590, Inge Morath Papers. 126. “New York: Four Decades of History” by Inge Morath, Portfolio available through the Magnum Pro website, accessed on October 5, 2018, 127. According to the tear sheets in the Eve Arnold Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. NOTES TO CHAPTER 5


128. Douglas Martin, “Eve Arnold, A Photographer of Bold and Illuminating Images, Dies at 99,” New York Times, accessed on December 17, 2018, /eve-arnold-photographer-dies-at-99.html, and Di Giovanni, Eve Arnold, 62–64. Neither mention the advertising connection. 129. Elson, Time Inc., vol. 1, 338–339, and Wainwright, Great American Magazine, 96–98. 130. See Heiskell’s note in “Your Chance for $10,000,” Life (June 20, 1955), 145. Glinn’s essay appeared as “A Father Sees His Child Born,” Life (June 13, 1955), 133–138. Life also published “Natural Childbirth,” Life (January 30, 1950), 71–74, a photographic essay promoting Grantley Dick-Read’s 1942 argument in Childbirth without Fear (London: Pinter & Martin Publishers, 2013). 131. Michel Chevalier to Everybody at Magnum, January 5, 1961, AJGM. 132. Inge Bondi to Advertisers, September 14, 1959, AJGM. 133. Walter Hixson, Parting the Iron Curtain: Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 1945–1961 (New York: St. Martin’s Griffing, 1998). On the fair’s lessons in democracy see Turner, Democratic Surround, 213–258. 134. “American Exposition in Moscow—July 1959: An Outline of Magnum Photographic Services,” and John G. Morris, Sample Moscow Exhibition pitch, May 8, 1959, AJGM. 135. John G. Morris, Sample Moscow Exhibition pitch, May 8, 1959, AJGM, and Magnum brochure, 1959–1960, with John Williams’s name, Macy’s Model Home folder, Container 5, P 128: Records Relating to the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1958–1959, RG0306 US Information Agency, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. 136. Steven Hoelscher, “Cold Wars and Hot Assignments: Elliott Erwitt’s Photojournalism,” in McDonald, Elliott Erwitt, 99. I have not able to find the Westinghouse pictures in print nor in Elliott Erwitt’s archive, and a snippet from John Morris to Erwitt suggests that Magnum did not succeed in publishing commercial work from Moscow. Magnum Memo, August 8, 1959, AJGM. 137. Those pictures appeared throughout Life’s report on Richard Nixon’s trip to Russia (August 8, 1959), 22–35. 138. Henry R. Luce, “Redefinition of the editorial contents and purpose of LIFE,” February 1937, box 58, folder 2, Henry Luce Papers, MS3014, NYHS. 139. Hoelscher, “Cold Wars and Hot Assignments,” 101. 140. Erwitt mentioned the assignment in his interview cited in Hoelscher, “Cold Wars and Hot Assignments” and “Talking Photography with Elliott Erwitt,” New York Times Lens Blog, March 30, 2015, accessed on December 17, 2018, 141. Magnum Memo, November 16, 1957, AJGM. 142. George Rodger, interim report to all stockholders from Magnum Paris, June 7, 1952, AJGM-UC. Rodger continued to resist that Magnum had made it into the “Big League” into the 1960s. George Rodger, “Desires for 1960,” January 6, 1960, AJGM. 143. Cartier-Bresson to Magnum, May 25, 1962, quoted in Cookman, “Cartier-Bresson Reinterprets Career,” 64–65. 144. Cookman, 65–66. 145. Cookman, 66–66. 146. Cookman, 65–66. Magnum continued to maintain his files and market his work. The photographer also began selling his work to photography galleries through the agent Helen Wright. Inge Bondi, e-mail correspondence with the author, January 16, 2017, and box 194:2, folder 13, LIGHT gallery archives, CCP. 147. Elliott Erwitt, “Magnum Photos,” September 1966, box 104:3, Magnum Photos Archive, CCP. 148. Ibid.




1. Thomas J. Maloney founded U.S. Camera in 1935. Alongside Popular Photography, U.S. Camera had served as a standard bearer of the latest and best in photography since the 1930s. Industry professionals and magazine editors read these publications too, just as they subscribed to Infinity, the magazine of the Association of Magazine Photographers, established in 1952. Raeburn, A Staggering Revolution, 93–114, and Cara A. Finnegan, “Documentary as Art in ‘U.S. Camera,’ ” Rhetoric Society of America 31, no. 2 (Spring 2001), 37–68. 2. John Morris, “Magnum: An International Cooperative,” U.S. Camera (1954), 110–152, here 110. 3. Barthes, Mythologies, 143. 4. His reading of a cover of the magazine showing a young black man in a French military uniform saluting what is understood as the tricolor has become emblematic of Barthes’s semiotic reading of photographs. Barthes, Mythologies, 116. 5. James Baker Hall, “The Last Happy Band of Brothers,” Esquire (April 1972), 117–125, 232–237. On the projection of postwar anxieties onto the photographic profession, see Patricia Vettel-Becker, Shooting from the Hip: Photography, Masculinity, and Postwar America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005). 6. Indeed, as Abigail Solomon-Godeau noted in 1989, “The critical interrogation of myth is a necessary part of art-historical analysis.” Abigail Solomon-Godeau, “Going Native: Paul Gauguin and the Invention of Primitivist Modernism,” Art in America 77 (July 1989), 118–129. In this same spirit also see Rosalind Krauss, The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986). 7. Thus a 2010 Getty exhibition explained that postwar documentary photography, which appears objective and universally legible while also deeply personal and subjective, has its roots in the Magnum enterprise. And photojournalism since the 1960s has mostly existed apart from the commercial world, again thanks to Magnum: “The organization was meant to harness commercial assignments as a base from which to pursue independent work.” Brett Abbott, Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography Since the Sixties (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2010), 13. 8. Rita Vandivert to Capa, Cartier-Bresson, Chim, Eisner, Rodger and Bill Vandivert, April 10, 1948, FHCB. 9. Robert Capa, Report to Magnum shareholders, February 15, 1952, AJGM 10. Morris, “Magnum: An International Cooperative,” 110. 11. Hicks, Words and Pictures, 107–108. 12. Kalish and Edom, Picture Editing, 49–58; Mich and Eberman, Technique of the Picture Story, 195. On writers’ perception of photographers at Life see Wainwright, Great American Magazine, 150–151. 13. Fondiller, “Image and Reality,” 58–102. 14. Robert Capa to Henri Cartier-Bresson, January 23, 1948; Elizabeth Reeve to Henri Cartier-Bresson, October 5, 1948; Robert Capa to Henri Cartier-Bresson and Gail, April 21, 1951; Henri Cartier-Bresson, World of Children questionnaire, n.d.; Roger Angell to Henri Cartier-Bresson, July 21, 1955, FHCB. 15. During those years Magnum also gained firsthand experience with Smith’s difficulty in sticking to shooting scripts, deadlines, and budgets, particularly during his work with Stephan Lorant on an unrealized book about Pittsburgh. When Smith finally resigned in January 1959, he owed Magnum $9,071.85. John Morris to Board Members, April 8, 1955; Morris to Cornell Capa, September 2, 1955; Annual Meeting Minutes, January 10, 1959, AJGM. 16. Hall, “Last Happy Band of Brothers,” 122. 17. See my discussion of the critical responses to Cartier-Bresson later in this chapter. 18. David Seymour to John Morris, June 9, 1956, AJGM. 19. John Morris to Robert Capa, December 17, 1953, AJGM.



20. In 1953 Black Star had four salesmen plus Kurt Safranski, who sometimes stepped in to sell. Kurt Kornfeld was responsible for Time/Life sales. By 1957 Black Star’s sales team was up to six full-time staff. Morris to Capa, December 17, 1953, and Magnum Memo, August 3, 1957, AJGM; Michael Torosian interview with Benjamin J. Chapnick, June 6, 2012, Black Star Archive, RIC. It is difficult to determine how many photographers Black Star serviced in any given year compared to Magnum. As the agency itself admitted, Black Star worked with hundreds of photographers over the years and did not know many of them personally because they received their pictures from partner agencies around the world and not photographers themselves. Neubaeur, Black Star, 440. 21. Developing a Magnum System, December 1956, AJGM. 22. Robert Capa to John Morris, December 2, 1953; Cornell Capa to John Morris, August 21, 1955; David Seymour to John Morris, August 26, 1955; Ernst Haas to John Morris, n.d. 1955; George Rodger to John Morris, September 5, 1955, AJGM. 23. John Morris, Magnum Policy and Plans to All Shareholders, July 6, 1953, AJGM. 24. Robert Capa to John Morris, December 2, 1953, AJGM. 25. In one letter, Morris urged that Magnum hire former Brooklyn Eagle editor Tom Schroth at $250 per week plus Helena Robinson, who “formerly headed the Life domestic news bureau and thus knows newspapermen throughout the country” at $85 per week starting “tomorrow.” John Morris to Magnum Board Members, August 8, 1955, AJGM. 26. John Morris, Special Magnum Memo, August 6, 1955, AJGM. 27. Cornell Capa to John Morris, August 21, 1955; Seymour to John Morris, August 26, 1955; Ernst Haas to John Morris, n.d. 1955; George Rodger to John Morris, September 5, 1955; Cornell Capa to John Morris, September 11, 1955, all AJGM. 28. John Morris, Magnum & Its Markets, June 21, 1954, AJGM. 29. John Morris to Magnum Board Members, September 3, 1955, AJGM. 30. George Rodger to John Morris, September 5, 1955, AJGM. 31. Robert Capa, Report to the Stockholders of Magnum, February 15, 1952, AJGM. 32. Magnum Memo, October 8 and 29, 1955; Tom Schroth to John Morris, September 28, October 13 and 18, 1955, AJGM. 33. Magnum Memo, October 29, 1955, AJGM. 34. John Morris to Magnum Member and Associate Photographers, April 2, 1955, box 33:48 folder 51, W. Eugene Smith Archive, CCP. 35. John Morris, Developing a Magnum System, December 1956, AJGM. 36. David Seymour to John Morris, August 26, 1955, AJGM. 37. John Morris, Developing a Magnum System, December 1956, AJGM. 38. Olivier Lugon, “Photo-Inflation: Image Profusion in German Photography, 1925–1945,” History of Photography 32, no. 3 (Autumn 2008), 219–234. 39. Henri Cartier-Bresson to John Morris, August 12, 1955, AJGM. 40. Michel Nuridsany, “The Moment that Counts: An Interview with Henri Cartier-Bresson” New York Review of Books 42, no. 4 (March 2, 1995), 17. 41. John Morris, Report to Members on the State of Magnum, July 1, 1955, AJGM. 42. John Morris to Robert Capa, December 17, 1953, AJGM 43. Magnum Memo, December 9, 1955, AJGM. 44. Ibid. 45. Ibid. 46. John Morris to Magnum photographers, April 30, 1958, box 104:3, Magnum Photos Collection, CCP. 47. Ibid. 276


48. “Images of a Magic City,” Life (September 14 and 21, 1953); “The People of Russia Parts I and II,” Life (January 17 and 31, 1955); “ ‘Go Ye and Preach the Gospel’: Five Do and Die,” Life (January 30, 1956), 10–19. 49. John Morris to Magnum photographers, April 30, 1958, box 104:3, Magnum Photos Collection, CCP. 50. The rise of the art market for photography is usually dated to the explosion of galleries and auction sales beginning in the 1970s but Morris’s memos point to an earlier stirring of the photo boom that requires further study. Juliet Hacking, Photography and the Art Market (New York: Lund Humphries, 2019). 51. John Morris to Magnum Photographers, July 8, 1958, AJGM. 52. Estelle Blaschke, “From the Picture Archive to the Image Bank: Commercializing the Visual through Bettman Archive and Corbis,” Etudes Photographiques 24 (November 2009), and “The Excess of the Archive,” in Greg Mitman and Kelley Wilder, Documenting the World: Film, Photography, and the Scientific Record (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 224–254. 53. Life: The First Decade, 1936–1945 (New York: Little Brown and Company, 1979), n.p. 54. Ibid. 55. Lee Witkin to Cowles Communication, Inc., November 29, 1971, box 62:61, Witkin Gallery Archive, CCP. 56. Ibid. 57. John Morris, Report to Members on the State of Magnum, July 1, 1955, AJGM. 58. John Morris, Magnum Policy Plans, July 6, 1953, AJGM. 59. Magnum Memo, June 29, 1957, AJGM. 60. Ibid. and Cornell Capa report to Magnum Shareholders on Magnum’s State of Health, January 1959, AJGM. 61. Robert Capa to John Morris, December 2, 1953, AJGM. 62. There are many letters attesting to Cartier-Bresson’s resistance to working in color: Robert Capa to Henri Cartier-Bresson, January 23, 1948; Maria Eisner to Henri Cartier-Bresson, January 20, 1949; Eisner and Capa to Henri Cartier-Bresson, October 27, 1949, FHCB; and Ed Sammis to John Morris, February 14, 1956, AJGM. Notoriously, he pretended to lose the color from Russia in 1954 until his black-and-white pictures had been published. Cartier-Bresson to John Morris, April 15, 1955, AJGM. 63. Magnum Memo, May 11, 1956, and May 26, 1956, box 33:48, folder 46, W. Eugene Smith Archive, CCP. 64. Magnum Memo, January 31, 1959, AJGM. 65. Romana Javitz quoted in Mary Panzer, “Pictures at Work: Romana Javitz and the New York Public Library Collection,” in The “Public” Life of Photographs, ed. Thierry Gervais (Cambridge: MIT Press with Ryerson Image Centre, 2016), 99–121, here 102. Also see Diana Kamin, “Mid Century Visions, Programmed Affinities: The Enduring Challenges of Image Classification,” Journal of Visual Culture 16, no. 3 (2017), 310–336. Having already helped Roy Stryker think about the organization and captioning of the Farm Security Administration photographs, Javitz’s consultation with Magnum attests to the importance of sharing knowledge among the professionals who organized photo collections at mid-century. 66. “Magnum Photos, Inc.” n.d. Xerox of typed manuscript, box 104:3, Magnum Photos Collection, CCP. 67. The PFA exhibitions were the result of a collaboration between Ivan Dmitri, an established color photographer and printmaker who drove the project until his death in 1968; The Saturday Review, published by Jack Cominsky; and the Met, under the direction of James Rorimer. Miles Barth, et al., Master Photographs from PFA Exhibitions, 1959–67 (New York: International Center of Photography, 1988). 68. The photograph was the product of a large commission from Ogilvy, Benson and Mather for a tourism campaign for the Puerto Rican government, and it won a citation from the Art Directors’ NOTES TO CHAPTER 6


69. 70. 71. 72. 73.



76. 77. 78.

79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88.


90. 91.

92. 93. 94. 278

Club of New York in 1957. Magnum Memo, May 30, 1957, AJGM, and Inge Bondi, interview with the author, February 15, 2015. Inge Bondi to Magnum Photographers, “Exhibition News,” May 15, 1959, AJGM. Inge Bondi, Print Sales Report at Magnum, December 29, 1961, Inge Morath Papers. Ibid. Inge Bondi to Photographers, January 15, 1960, AJGM. Together with a new brochure extolling the talents of agency photographers and staff, the Popular Photography feature went to thousands of clients, potential clients, and friends in the world of photography. Magnum Memo, August 3, 1957, and August 24, 1957, AJGM; Magnum Photos brochure, 1957, GJRA. Magnum Photos Accountants Report from Inception, May 27, 1947 to October 31, 1947; Magnum Photos Accountants Report As of January 31, 1948; and Magnum Photos Accountants Report As of April 30, 1949, GJRA. These figures do not include Paris sales to European publications since the Magnum offices reported on finances separately. On the collaborative production history of Cartier-Bresson’s monumental photobook, see Nadya Bair, “The Decisive Network: Producing Henri Cartier-Bresson at Mid-Century” History of Photography 40, no. 2 (May 2016), 146–166. Newhall to Gernsheim, October 19, 1952, folder 14.7, Helmut and Alison Gernsheim Papers, Harry Ransom Center. Helen Gee, Limelight: A Memoir (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997), 248. Erich Hartmann, who worked on IBM’s corporate photography, helped arrange Cartier-Bresson’s exhibition at the company’s gallery, which recorded the attendance numbers. Inge Bondi to Magnum, May 15, 1959, AJGM. Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment, 1952, n.p. Henri Cartier-Bresson to Richard Simon, August 2, 1955, RLS. Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Europeans (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1955). See Cookman, “Henri Cartier-Bresson Reinterprets His Career.” John Morris, Magnum & Its Markets, June 21, 1954, AJGM. James Thrall Soby, “Two Contemporary Photographers,” Saturday Review (November 5, 1955), 33, quoted in Cookman, “Cartier-Bresson Reinterprets Career,” 64. John Szarkowski, wall label for Cartier-Bresson: Recent Photographs (25 June–2 September 1968), quoted in Cookman, “Cartier-Bresson Reinterprets Career,” 64. Peter Galassi, “Old Worlds, Modern Times,” 10–66. Hill, Artist as Reporter, 29–63. Beaumont Newhall, History of Photography, 80. Press photographs were also especially prominent in Steichen’s Road to Victory (1942); Power in the Pacific (1945); The Exact Instant (1949) and The Family of Man (1955); and in Szarkowski’s The Photo Essay (1965) and From the Picture Press (1973). Hackett, “Beaumont Newhall and a Machine,” Jason Hill, “Snap Shot: After Bullet Hit Gaynor,” in Hill and Schwartz, Getting the Picture, 190–196, and “An Exact Instant in the History of the Modern,” in Reintroducing the Modern: The First Twenty Years at MOMA, 1929–1949 (New York: Bloomsbury, forthcoming), with thanks to Jason Hill. John Morris, Special Magnum Memo, August 6, 1955, AJGM. Morris noted that Cornell Capa, Cartier-Bresson and Ernst Haas put the most time into creating the Popular Photography article though he does not mention who wrote the text. It was likely written by Morris and edited by the photographers. Magnum Memo, August 3, 1957, AJGM. Magnum press release on The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers, n.d., AJGM. Ibid. Ibid.


95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102.

103. 104.

105. 106.

107. 108.

109. 110.

111. 112. 113. 114.

115. 116. 117. 118. 119.


Ibid. Home Daily Bulletin, January 31, 1957, AJGM., accessed on May 9, 2017. Chris Boot, Magnum Stories, 6, and Elliott Erwitt, interview with the author, November 1, 2016. Quoted in Schwartz, “New York in Color, 1953,” in Hill and Schwartz, Getting the Picture, 73–75. Yves Bourde, “Un Enretien avec Henri Cartier-Bresson,” Le Monde (September 5, 1974), 13. Cookman, “Cartier-Bresson Reinterprets Career,” 66. Such narratives were repeated in eulogies and obituaries to Capa, including John Morris, “An Appreciation: Robert Capa and Werner Bischof,” Infinity: American Society of Magazine Photographers (May 1954), 4–7; John Steinbeck, “Robert Capa: An Appreciation,” Photography (September 1954), 48–53; and “A Great War Reporter and His Last Battle,” Life (June 7, 1954), 27. Aaron Sussman to Richard L. Simon, March 22, 1955, RLS. Bob Considine, “Word Tribute to a Beloved Picture Man,” National Press Photographer, April 1957, 6; “Three Newsmen Die in Europe,” The Overseas Press Bulletin (November 17, 1956), 1, 7; and eulogy text for Chim by Ferdinando Carresse, n.d., AJGM. “People at Home,” NBC TV Outline, January 31, 1957, AJGM. “Postwar European Photography to Be Shown at the Museum,” Museum of Modern Art press release 530522–45, May 27, 1953, accessed March 3, 2016, /press_archives/1720/releases/MOMA_1953_0050_45.pdf?2010. Morris quoted in Dobell, “The First Ten Years,” n.p. Together with Steichen, Morris was part of a larger network of cultural leaders who believed that the mass media could be used to create democratic citizens in postwar America. Turner, Democratic Surround, 3–5, 181–212, and Bair, “From Antifascism to Humanism.” Fehrenbach and Rodogno, Humanitarian Photography and chapter 2. Magnum staff and photographers noted the large crowds that came to see Capa’s pictures. Cornell Capa to Everybody at Magnum, May 6, 1961; Cornell Capa to Everybody, June 17, 1961; Cornell Capa to Magnum, September 29, 1961; Cornell Capa to Magnum, November 17, 1961, AJGM. John Steinbeck, text on Capa for eulogy, n.d., AJGM. Folder Werner Bischof, Japan, box 34, Record Unit 290: Smithsonian Institution, Traveling Exhibition Service Records, 1952–1981, Washington, D.C. Charles Rosner, “Werner Bischof,” Printing News, October 10, 1957, 6–7. Magnum Memo, November 26, 1958, AJGM. Born in 1958, Carl de Keyzer became a full Magnum member in 1994. He recalls seeing Bischof’s flute player in the magazine French Photo soon before joining Magnum. “100 Years of Werner Bischof,” Magnum Pro, accessed June 11, 2017, https://www. Exhibition announcement for Chim’s Children, April 15–July 1, 1957, Art Institute of Chicago, box 3, Peter Pollack Papers, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. Magnum Board Meeting Minutes, September 29, 1959, AJGM. Bondi, Chim; Naggar, “Lives of Chim,” 9–13, and David Seymour, vies de Chim. Magnum Memo, April 18, 1959 and Magnum Memo, May 16, 1959, AJGM. Magnum Board Meeting Minutes, September 29, 1959, AJGM. Stuart also helped Cornell Capa to organize Robert Capa’s files as part of his estate. Until Magnum made the allocation mentioned above, the estates of the photographers had printed contact sheets and master prints at their own expense. A friend introduced Cornell Capa to Oriole Farb, director of the Riverside Museum, at an exhibit of Seymour’s work at the Israel Museum. Farb agreed to host an exhibition Cornell Capa had in mind as long as it was a thematic exhibit rather than a one-man show. Ellen C. Hicks, “The Documentary Tradition at ICP,” Museum News 54, no. 3 (February 1976), 14–15. NOTES TO CHAPTER 6


121. Cornell Capa, The Concerned Photographer (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1967), n.p. 122. “The World of the Kibbutz,” Holiday (January 1953), 96–97. The photo has been dated to 1952, Young, We Went Back. 123. Rona Sela, “Presence and Absence in ‘Abandoned’ Palestinian Villages,” History of Photography 33, no. 1 (February 2009), 71–79. 124. Leonard Freed, Black in White America (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1967), was released the same year as The Concerned Photographer. 125. Alan Wald, Trinity of Passion: The Literary Left and the Antifascist Crusade (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007), and American Night: The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014). Jewish activists, many of them Zionists, were also at the forefront of the international human rights movement. Loeffler, Rooted Cosmopolitans. 126. Cornell Capa, The Concerned Photographer (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1968). 127. Capa, Concerned Photographer, vol. 1, n.p. The Riverside Museum had actually hosted the first retrospective exhibit of Lewis Hine’s work in 1939, sponsored by leading figures in the photography world at the time, including Edward Steichen, Roy Stryker, Beaumont Newhall, and Elizabeth McCausland, who wrote the exhibition catalog. Raeburn, Staggering Revolution, 225–226. 128. Cornell Capa, The Concerned Photographer, vol. 2 (New York: Grossman Publishers with the International Fund for Concerned Photography, 1972), n.p. 129. Capa initially acknowledged the “special role that many magazines have played in the development and support of photographers who have documented our world for the last 30 years” but did not reiterate this idea in the second installation of the show. Capa Concerned Photographer, vol. 1, acknowledgments. 130. The establishment of the Fund for Concerned Photography at the Riverside Museum staked out an exhibition space specifically for photojournalism and documentary photography in New York which had not existed since the Photo League disbanded in 1951. Initially the fund explicitly aimed to curate shows quickly akin to the fast-paced operations of a magazine. Hicks, “Documentary Tradition at ICP,” 13–19. 131. “The result should be most gratifying to Magnum members,” wrote Cornell to George Rodger as part of a report on the fund’s recent show of the founders. Capa to Rodger, February 29, 1968, GJRA. 132. Hicks, “Documentary Tradition at ICP,” 15–16. 133. Fund for Concerned Photography International Advisory Council List, n.d., GJRA; the Concerned Photographer II lecture series announcement October 1—December 17, 1970 and “the Concerns of Photography,” August 3–28, 1970, workshop announcement, AJGM-UC. These educational programs were formalized in 2001 as the ICP School. 134. See Wilson Hicks, “What’s the Matter with Photojournalism?” (1962); Howard Sochurek, “The Crisis in Photojournalism,” (1963); Philippe Halsman, “The Dilemma for Magazines and Magazine Photographers,” (1970); Gilbert Grosvenor, “A Look at Magazines in the 70s,” (1971) in Schuneman, Photographic Communication, 234–256. 135. Those who excelled at such work were affiliated with Magnum’s New York office, including Burt Glinn (who joined Magnum in 1951), Dennis Stock (1951), and Elliott Erwitt (1953). Erwitt and Glinn both served terms as Magnum presidents, taking charge of the organization’s finances in the late sixties (Erwitt) and early seventies (Glinn). 136. “Czech Show at Riverside,” New York Times, September 22, 1968, copy in GJRA. 137. Though Cornell Capa was commenting on the particular dynamic between galleries and photojournalism in the 1960s, the idea that museums could serve as “three-dimensional newspapers” goes back to the nineteenth century. Schwartz, Spectacular Realities, 108–118. 138. Gene Thornton, “What Does ‘Being Concerned’ Really Mean?” New York Times, December 12, 1971, n.p., copy in AJGM-UC. 280


139. Alan Sekula, “On the Invention of Photographic Meaning,” Artforum 13 (January 1975), 36–45. 140. Martha Rosler, “In, around, and Afterthoughts (On Documentary Photography),” in Bolton, Contest of Meaning, 309. 141. Susan Sontag, On Photography (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973), 41–42. 142. Cornell’s list of workshop and lecture speakers for the ICP included Hilton Kramer, Nathan Lyons, John Szarkowski, Peter Pollack, and Imogene Cunningham. He also invited photography critics from New York Magazine, the New York Times, and the New York Review of Books to speak to budding photographers. “The Fund for Concerned Photography—Activities, 1967–1969,” n.d., and “ICP 1975 Lecture and Workshops,” AJGM-UC. 143. Cornell Capa, Concerned Photographer, vol. 2, n.p. 144. In addition to Sontag, key critical writings on photography from the sixties and seventies include Pierre Bourdieu, Photography as Middle Brow Art (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990 [1965]); Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972); and John Berger, Ways of Seeing (New York: Penguin Books, 1973). 145. These are the figures most heavily represented in the Limelight, LIGHT, Witkin gallery archives at the CCP. 146. Dorothy Gallagher, “The Print Principle: Today’s Philosophy for Investing in Art,” The Village Voice (March 10, 1975); Jerry Patterson, “The Photography Boom,” ARTnews (April 1976); Elizabeth Hunter, “Guest Speaker,” March 1984 Q+A with Lee Witkin, Witkin Archive, CCP. 147. 1975 LIGHT catalog, box 194:11, folder LIGHT History 1971–1991, LIGHT Gallery Archive, CCP; Robert Doisneau press release 85A June 28–August 19, 1978, box 62:30, folder 52, Witkin Archive, CCP. 148. Cornell Capa to Karl Katz, July 27, 1971, AJGM-UC. 149. Cornell’s publishing projects include the Concerned Photographer books (1968 and 1972); Roman Vishniac (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1974); David Seymour—“Chim” 1911–1956 (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1974); and Robert Capa (New York: Penguin Books, 1974). 150. Kristin McMurran, “Cornell Capa Builds a Photography Museum,” circa 1977, Witkin Archive, CCP. 151. Hicks, “Documentary Tradition at ICP,” 18. 152. Manchester et al., In Our Time, 419–425. 153. Chéroux, Magnum Manifesto, 331. 154. Understanding the value of the photographer’s correspondence, Cornell took both Capa’s photographic material and his papers for the ICP archive. Inge Bondi, interview with the author, February 15, 2015. CONCLUSION

1. The photograph was taken by the fashion photographer Bert Stern in 1957 during a Magnum meeting in New York. Magnum’s photo was on the cover of Exposure 20, no. 2 (Summer 1982), which included the autobiographical profile by John Morris discussed in chapter 2. 2. On the long history and methodology of network visualizations, see Manuel Lima, Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011). 3. Blume, After the War Was Over, dust jacket. 4. Daniella Bleichmar and Vanessa R. Schwartz, “Visual History: The Past in Pictures” Representations 145 (Spring 2019), 1–31. See also Clark, “Capturing the Moment, Picturing History,” on the problem of reading photographic content alone. 5. Ignatieff, Magnum Degrees, 54. 6. John Morris to George Rodger, September 30, 1989, box 104:4, Magnum Photos Collection, CCP. Morris was referring to the publication of Manchester, In Our Time.



7. Peter Fritzsche, “The Archive,” History and Memory 17, no. 1/2 (2005), 18. 8. Photo agencies’ transition to digital photography is a much larger subject for analysis. See Bouvresse, Histoire de L’Agence, 283–322, and Gürsel, Image Brokers. 9. Alison Nordström, “On Becoming an Archive” in Hoelscher, Reading Magnum, 17–35. 10. “Historic Photo Print Archive, Featuring Iconic Twentieth-Century Images, Has New Owner and Home,” University of Texas News, February 2, 2010, accessed on April 5, 2016, https://news.utexas. edu/2010/02/02/historic-photo-print-archive-featuring-iconic-20th-century-images-has-newowner-and-home/ accessed on November 26, 2018. 11. Magnum Foundation, “About Us,” accessed on April 5, 2016, /about-1/. Two years later, the foundation’s statement changed, noting that it was founded “in the midst of the collapse of the media system that had traditionally supported photographic reporting,” accessed on December 19, 2018, 12. Susan Meiselas, e-mail correspondence with the author, November 28, 2018. 13. Nadya Bair, “Magnum Manifesto,” History of Photography 42, no. 1 (2018), 100–102. 14. This is as true for nineteenth- and twentieth-century publications. On how early studio photographers promoted themselves as eccentric artists to attract clients, see McCauley, Industrial Madness, 11–104. 15. Like Magnum, the agencies Sygma and Black Star have also told their own histories, filled with similar claims about being the leader in photojournalism or the only to cover all of the most important events of the twentieth century. Neubauer, “Inside Black Star”; Audrey Leblanc and Sebastien Dupuy, “Sygma exploité par Corbis.” 16. The other recent scholarly reappraisal of Magnum, Bouvresse’s Histoire de L’Agence, comes from an author who has worked with its photographers and the ICP, and was selected to produce the agency’s official 2017 retrospective. 17. This is the “backstage” of the archive: the “staging area that we are trained to ignore as we go about our research into the ‘real’ history we are reconstructing based on the documents themselves.” Antoinette Burton quoted in Lisa Moses Leff, The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 5. 18. See for instance Brett Abbott, Engaged Observers. 19. Ignatieff, Magnum Degrees, 58. Fred Ritchin, “Photojournalism in the Age of Computers,” in The Critical Image: Essays on Contemporary Photography, ed. Carol Squiers (Seattle: Bay Press, 1990), 28–37; Tom Gunning, “What’s the Point of an Index? Or Faking Photographs,” in Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography, ed. Karen Beckman and Jean Ma (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008), 23–40. 20. Maria Eisner to Henri Cartier-Bresson, October 26, 1949, FHCB. 21. Henri Cartier-Bresson to All Photographers and Editing Staff, March 7, 1960, AJGM. 22. Erich Hartmann, “Magnum and the Digitization of Images,” June 1991, and Magnum Chronology, April 22, 1988, EHE.





Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven Eve Arnold Papers Inge Morath Photographs and Papers Werner Bischof Estate Papers, courtesy Marco Bischof, Zurich Black Star Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Ryerson University, Toronto Inge Bondi Archive, Princeton, New Jersey Center for Creative Photography, Tucson Helen Gee/Limelight Gallery Archive LIGHT Gallery Archive Magnum Photos Collection W. Eugene Smith Archive Lee Witkin/Witkin Gallery Archive Curtis Publishing Company Records, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris Elliott Erwitt Studio Archive, New York Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Papers Peter Pollack Papers International Center for Photography, New York Cornell Capa Papers Robert Capa Archive David Seymour Archive


Erich hartmann Estate, New york Magnum Foundation archives, New york Museum of Modern art archives, New york archive of John g. Morris, paris archive of John g. Morris, University of Chicago, Chicago National archives and records administration, Washington, D.C. New-york historical Society, New york henry r. luce papers Time inc. records harry ransom Center, University of Texas at austin helmut and alison gernsheim papers Magnum photos Collection archive of george and Jinx rodger, Smarden, UK richard l. Simon papers, rare Book and Manuscript library, Columbia University, New york Smithsonian international Traveling Exhibition Service records, Smithsonian institution archives, Washington, D.C. roy Stryker papers, University of louisville, louisville United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural organization archives, paris PERIODICALS

Epoca Exposure Fortune Holiday Illustrated Infinity Ladies’ Home Journal The Lamp Life National Geographic New York Times New York Times Magazine Paris Match Picture Post U.S. Camera ARTICLES AND BOOKS

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Adams, Ansel, 31, 221 advertising: Black Star and, 273n111; for

Algerian independence war, 168, 173, 175, 271n65, 272n85

cameras, 148–49; Henri Cartier-

Alliance Photo, 11, 14–15, 23t1, 26, 28t2

Bresson and, 181; in Holiday, 123,

the “American Century,” 5, 42–43, 48,

133, 143, 144fig, 148–49; and news images, 109, 156–60; Pan American airlines, 130, 132fig, 143, 144fig; postwar changes in, 158–59; and

57 American Exhibition in Moscow, 186–87 American Farm Security Administra-

press photographers, 55–57, 159–60,

tion (FSA), 46, 67, 249n21

269n12; versus public relations, 159;

Angell, Roger, 127, 128fig, 267n99

and weather stereotypes, 263n31;

anti-Semitism, 94–98, 258n67,

women in, 178; and “World of Children,” 143; and “World of Women,” 149–51. See also Magnum Photos, advertising work Africa: Jinx Witherspoon in, 167, 171–76;

259n88 Arab-Israeli War, 79, 82, 83fig, 256n43, 258n66 Arab-Israeli War coverage: children in, 81; George Rodger’s, 92, 258n67;

Life coverage, 270n35; postwar

John Phillips’s, 79–81, 82fig, 256n40;

changes, 163. See also Rodger,

Life magazine, 79–81, 82fig, 256n41;

George, first Africa trip; Rodger,

Robert Capa’s, 79–80, 82–83, 84fig,

George, second Africa trip

85fig, 97, 256n44


archives, image: Bettman Archive, 203; and the

205–6, 223, 225; and Magnum’s image, 205–6;

concerned photographer concept, 222–23;

and organizational difficulties, 206–7, 221;

consolidation of, 228; Cornell Capa and, 221–23;

photographer friendships, 178; photographers

indexing of, 203; John Morris’s, 29, 246n102; as

and staff portrait, 225–26; photographs of,

promotional, 229, 282n14; value of, 203. See also Magnum Photos archives

226fig; print sales, 206; and Robert Capa, 178 Bondi, Inge, and Magnum’s ad business: and

Archives de la planète, 140–41

Bankers Trust campaign, 181, 273n120; client

Arnold, Eve: about, 23t1; and advertising, 177, 183–86,

network, 180; and Eve Arnold’s Mennen

187fig; corporate photography, 158, 162; and

campaign, 186; and Holiday photographer

Life, 184, 186; and Magnum, 26, 272n97;

experience, 180; importance to, 177–78, 199,

photographs of newborns, 183–86, 187fig, 210;

273n119; log system, 32; and Magnum photogra-

and “World of Children,” 266n93; and “Youth

phers, 179–80; management of, 178–79; memos

and the World,” 129

on, 181; portfolio creation, 179; promotion of,

art worlds, 6, 239n36 the Associated Press, 18

179, 180f; and Sam Holmes, 179 Bourke-White, Margaret, 19, 74–75 Brady, Mathew, 218

Barthes, Roland, 5, 195, 236n8, 275n4

Brake, Brian, 176

Bass, Mary, 43, 251n41, 260n98

Brandt, Bert, 243n56

Becker, Howard, 6, 239n36

Bristol, Horace, 49, 252n71

Bell, James, 95, 96, 97–98, 259n91

Brodovitch, Alexey, 74, 179

Bettman, Otto, 203

Brodsky, Olga, 225, 226fig

Bischof, Roselina, 40, 214, 216, 248n148

Brown, Allen, 225, 226fig

Bischof, Werner: as concerned photographer, 211,

Bruhnes, Jean, 140–41

214; death of, 211, 214; Korean story, 247n121; and

Brunhoff, Michel de, 1, 2fig

The Lamp, 164; Peruvian flute player photo, 214,

Bubley, Esther, 46

279n114; photographs of, 35fig; retrospective

Burri, René, 210

exhibitions, 214; and World War II, 18; and

Burrows, Larry, 49

“Youth and the World,” 129

Bush, Joan, 27, 28table, 30, 35

Black in White America, 217, 280n124 Black Star: and advertising, 273n111; captioning practices, 104; customers, 25; founding of, 16, 26;

Capa, Cornell: “Birth Pangs at Detroit” photo essay,

George Rodger at, 19; and Life, 25, 72, 241n30,

155–56, 157fig, 159; career of, 23table, 155;

245n85; versus Magnum, 25–26; sales staff, 198,

celebrity of, 223; and corporate photography,

204, 276n20; self-promotion, 282n15; structure

162, 199; Ford Motor Company features, 155–56,

of, 245n86; success of, 17

157fig, 159; and ICP, 218–19; and image archives,

Bondi, Inge: Alexey Brodovitch interview, 179;


cameras, 14, 18, 148–49, 240n12

221–23; and Inge Bondi, 178; on magazines

career and responsibilities, 28–29, 32, 178, 205;

versus museums, 220, 223, 280n137; photogra-

and Cornell Capa, 178; and David Seymour, 178;

phy, theories of, 220; Robert Capa-David

and exhibitions, 205–6, 216, 221; on Holiday

Seymour Photographic Foundation, 66, 216; and

features, 112; and image-saturated culture, 230;

Robert Capa’s estate, 83, 216, 279n119; and

and John Morris, 178; and Magnum archives,

Roman Vishniac, 257n59; and Schlumberger


report, 169; and War Photographs–Robert

Steinbeck, 79, 93, 102, 207, 261n131; and the

Capa, 213; and “World of Children,” 143

Vandiverts, 19; War Photographs exhibition, 213,

Capa, Cornell and the concerned photographer:

279n110; as Zionist, 79

The Concerned Photographer, 216, 218–19, 221,

Capa, Robert, and Holiday: assignments overview,

279n120, 280n129; and image archives, 222–23;

111–12; Hungary, 123–24, 264n42; Israel, 85;

influence of, 223; and magazines versus

Norway, 133; Poland, 118, 120–21, 123; “The

museums, 220; rhetorical positioning of, 218–19.

Winter Alps,” 146–47; “Who & Where” page, 127,

See also International Center of Photography

128fig; “Youth and the World” series, 129, 131fig,

Capa, Robert: on American tourists, 147; on American versus European magazines, 34;

137 Capa, Robert, and Magnum: business strategies,

Arab-Israeli War coverage, 79–80, 82–83, 84fig,

200, 210, 230; coverage area, 24; earnings rank,

85fig, 97, 256n44; citizenship of, 18, 26; and

207; European market, 37–38; founding of, 2, 11,

Collier’s, 18–19, 256n31; and color photography,

21–22; new global survey idea, 125–26, 264n52; as

230; as concerned photographer, 85, 97, 211,

president, 125; publicity, 197; sales concerns, 199

213–14, 216–18; death of, 4, 29, 139, 153, 155, 211;

Capa, Robert, Israel coverage: fundraising film, 88,

eulogies and obituaries, 213–14, 279n102; exile

89fig; immigrants, 85, 86fig, 87, 100; impact of,

of, 16, 79, 124, 264n43; “Fallen Soldier,” 18; file

87–89; Jerusalem story, 85; and the Jewish

organization post-death, 279n119; and film

experience, 88; in Life, 85, 87–88, 89fig; in Look,

productions, 160; on freelance photography, 73;

85, 86fig, 87; photograph reproductions, 86fig,

and Generation X project, 125–27, 265n53,

87fig, 90fig, 91fig; A Report on Israel, 85, 88,

265n57; and George Rodger, 19, 95, 97–98; on

90fig; and socialism, 102; and United Jewish

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s captions, 261n126; and

Appeal, 88–89; and visual production of Israel,

Heute, 252n67; and Illustrated, 79–80, 85, 252n67, 256n31; Images of War retrospective, 83,

89, 92 Capa, Robert, photography of: Arab-Israeli War,

85; and Inge Bondi, 178; and Irwin Shaw, 85;

83fig, 84fig; Budapest, 124fig; D-Day, 19–20,

Jewishness of, 124; and John Houston, 244n60;

243n54, 243n56; French collaborator photo-

and John Morris, 41, 111–12; legacy of, 85, 213–14,

graphs, 46, 250n22; Images of War, 85, 87;

223; and Len Spooner, 35, 79; and Life, 18–20, 60,

Indochina, 4; Israel, 86fig, 87fig, 90fig, 91fig; Italy,

70, 82, 85, 87; and Look, 85–86; and Maria Eisner,

18–19; Jewish refugees, 70; John Morris and, 20;

88, 118, 120, 123; monographs on, 223; name of,

mixed with other photographer’s, 243n55;

79; passport revocation, 111–12, 218; and “People

Palestine War, 80fig; Poland, 121fig, 122fig; as

are People,” 43, 48–51, 125, 251n47; photographic

postwar history, 71; Spanish Civil War, 213,

and business strategies, 98; photographs of, 1,

237n15; the USSR, 106fig, 108fig; The Winter

2fig, 34–35, 128, 129fig, 194fig, 212fig; and Picture

Alps, 147fig

Post, 37, 160–61; at PIX, 18; politics of, 95;

captioning. See editing and editors

promotion of, 16, 195; on public relations work,

Carrese, Ferdinando, 38, 40

159–60; reputation of, 195–96, 207; Slightly Out

Cartier-Bresson, Henri: and advertising, 181;

of Focus, 19, 21, 79, 123; socialist realist angle

American assignments, 24, 74; artistic ideals of,

use, 87; Spanish Civil War coverage, 216–17; and

190–91; Asia trip, reasons for, 74; captioning

stock photography sales, 205; success of, 3, 79,

difficulties, 104, 261n126; in China, 75–77, 93, 102;

93, 256n31; travels, 1952, 111; USSR tour with

citizenship of, 75; collaborators, refusal to



Cartier-Bresson, Henri (continued) acknowledge, 209; color, resistance to, 205,

“Children of Europe” project, 63–67. See also Seymour, David, “Children of Europe”

277n62; consumerism, frustration with, 190;

Chim’s Children exhibit, 66, 214, 215

editing work, 202; and The Europeans, 209; and

the Cold War: American Exhibition in Moscow,

film productions, 160; Gandhi coverage, 74–75,

186–87, 187; cultural influence during, 57; George

76fig, 104, 207; and Harper’s Bazaar, 74–75, 209;

Rodger and, 98, 102; Henri Cartier-Bresson and,

and Holiday, 21, 147–48, 152, 198, 209; and ICP,

105; Jewish activism during, 217, 280n125; Life‘s

219; influence of, 190; and The Lamp, 164, 165fig;

coverage of, 98–99, 105, 107, 199; Magnum

legacy of, 223; and Louis Mercier, 21; and Maria

photographers and, 4–5, 67, 199, 229; and

Eisner, 75, 88, 125; and Paris Match, 105–6, 107fig,

“People are People,” 53, 56, 126; political violence

109; and photo agencies, 15; photographs of, 1,

during, 71; Robert Capa in Poland, 118, 120; and

2fig, 194fig; in Poland, 109; politics of, 95; and

tourism, 120, 130, 139; and “Youth and the

postproduction, 201; reputation of, 74–75, 93,

World,” 134, 137–39

104, 195, 207–8, 267n114; self-image of, 209;

collaborative journalism, 7

success of, 3; wife, Ratna Mohini, 6, 74–75, 104;

Collier’s Weekly, 13, 18–19, 198, 220, 256n31

“World of Children,” 141–43, 267n99; in World

commodities, photographs as, 4, 190, 199–200

War II, 20; “Youth and the World,” 129. See also

the concerned photographer: The Concerned

the decisive moment; The Decisive Moment Cartier-Bresson, Henri, and Life: Chinese revolution

Photographer exhibits, 216–18, 280n129; criticisms of, 220–21; David Seymour and, 211,

coverage, 75–77, 78fig, 255n26; conflicts, 198;

214–16; George Rodger as, 92, 176; and humanist

Gandhi coverage, 74–75; negative rights, 75, 78;

photography, 211; ICP and, 218–19; and

photograph selection process, 77; publishing in,

magazines, 220; Magnum’s promotion of, 196;

70, 104; USSR coverage, 72, 105–7, 137

and Magnum’s reputation, 176, 196, 207, 211, 219,

Cartier-Bresson, Henri, and Magnum: artistic

223, 229–30; origins of, 211; and photojournalism

influence, 210; conservative fiscal policy, 189;

generally, 219; Robert Capa and, 85, 97, 211,

distancing from, 211; earnings rank, 207; film

213–14, 216–18; War Photographs-Robert

equipment, 230; founding of, 2, 11, 207; group

Capa, 213; Werner Bischof and, 211, 214.

exhibitions, 210; resignation from, 190, 274n146

See also Capa, Cornell and the concerned

Cartier-Bresson, Henri, photography of: editing of, 202; Gandhi’s funeral pyre, 70, 71fig, 74; and John Morris, 104–5; for Life, 72, 105–7, 137; and

photographer Curtis Publishing Company, 32, 43, 113, 153, 247n113, 263n182

personal politics, 104; as postwar history, 71; sales of, 104–6, 109; uses of, 30; the USSR, 70,

Daniel, Leon, 16

104, 105, 106fig, 107fig

Dassault, Marcel, 37

Chevalier, Michel, 28table, 37, 186 children: and 19th century humanitarian imagery,


the decisive moment: definition of, 6, 148, 207; editors, dependence on, 77, 207, 209; Henri

252n73; in Arab-Israeli War coverage, 81; David

Cartier-Bresson’s reliance on, 211; and

Seymour’s photography of, 214–16; in postwar

magazines, 220; at Magnum, 196, 210; and

news, 58, 59fig; in Robert Capa’s war photogra-

Magnum’s reputation, 196, 219, 223, 230; and

phy, 213. See also Seymour, David, “Children of

photojournalism generally, 219; Popular

Europe”; “World of Children” Holiday series

Photography‘s use of, 210; as travel philosophy,


147–48; and The World as Seen by Magnum

105–6; and Magnum, 38, 49; and Paris Match, 38,

Photographers, 210

40; Robert Capa’s photographs in, 256n31;

The Decisive Moment: and art critics, 209; artistic discourses surrounding, 209; cover, 208fig;

topics covered, 38. See also Mondadori, Alberto Erwitt, Elliot: and advertising, 177, 186–89, 237n17,

creation of, 77, 207; editing of, 77; and Holiday,

274n136; American Exhibition in Moscow,

147–48; introduction to, 77–78, 208–9; and Life,

186–89, 274n136; career of, 23table; corporate

77–78; success and influence of, 104, 164, 207–9;

photography of, 158, 162, 190, 192; and the

traveling exhibition, 207–8

decisive moment, 210; exhibitions, photographs

decisive networks, 6–7, 230, 239n39

in, 205, 277n68; and Inge Bondi, 178; Khrush-

Delpire, Robert, 164

chev-Nixon photo, 188; as Magnum president,

Dephot photo agency, 14–15, 23t1 Desfor, Max, 74–75, 77

190, 280n135; photographs of, 30, 31fig European reconstruction: David Seymour’s interest

digital photography, 228

in, 60–62; duration of, 253n83; and Holiday

Dmitri, Ivan, 205, 277n67

tourism promotion, 115–18; Impetus‘s reporting

Doisneau, Robert, 16, 221

on, 62; Life‘s coverage, 124; Look coverage, 124; the Marshall Plan, 55–56

editing and editors: The Decisive Moment, 77; and

exhibitions: Chim’s Children, 66, 214–16; The

decisive moments, 77, 207, 209; Edward

Concerned Photographer, 216–19, 280n129;

Sammis, 164–66; Ernst Haas, 202; ethnicity of,

Cornell Capa and, 220, 222–23; The Decisive

97, 260n98; Henri Cartier-Bresson, 202, 230;

Moment, 207–8; the decisive moment in, 210;

Holiday, 127, 134, 142; Inge Bondi, 178; Jewish, in

Elliot Erwitt and, 205, 277n68; Ernst Haas and,

exile, 16, 79, 264n43; Jinx Witherspoon, 27–28;

210; The Family of Man, 5, 41–42, 206, 211, 213; at

Ladies’ Home Journal, 52; Life, 70, 73, 105, 198;

ICP, 219; Inge Bondi and, 205–6, 216, 221; Life’s,

at Magnum, 5, 27, 31, 70, 97, 104, 161, 198–99, 201,

205; and magazine decline, 220, 223; and

207, 223; photographers, conflicts with, 70,

Magnum mythologies, 190, 196–97, 205–6, 208,

197–98, 201; photographers’ knowledge of, 197,

213–14, 219–20; Magnum Photos and, 205, 210;

202, 207; Picture Editing, 197; Ratna Mohini, 104;

at MOMA, 205, 209, 211; of news photos, 209,

Robert Capa, 97, 111, 127; women as, 27. See also

220; and photographic humanism, 211, 213;

Morris, John

Photography in the Fine Arts, 205, 277n67;

Edom, Clifton, 197

picture sales to, 205; retrospectives, 214; at

Ehrlich, Henry, 43, 126

Riverside Museum, 216, 279n120, 280n127,

Eisenstaedt, Alfred, 16

280n130; Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia,

Eisner, Maria: and David Seymour, 58, 60, 63;

220; War Photographs–Robert Capa, 213,

departure, 29; founding of, 11–12, 239n1; and

279n110; well-known pictures in, 205–6; of

Generation X project, 126; and Henri Cartier-

Werner Bischof’s work, 214; The World as Seem

Bresson, 75, 88, 125; human-interest emphasis,

by Magnum Photographers, 210

58, 123; and Life rights negotiations, 75, 78; Paris office, 24, 35; and Robert Capa, 88, 118, 120, 123;

The Family of Man, 5, 41–42, 206, 211, 213

sales, 26

Feliu, Trudy: career of, 27, 28table; on English

Epoca: founding of, 38; George Rodger and, 94, 102, 103fig; Henri Cartier-Bresson’s USSR photos,

magazines, 37; on European magazines, 247n116; and George Rodger, 27; on Le Ore, 38;



Feliu, Trudy (continued) photographs of, 225, 226fig; report on Epoca, 38, 40

industrialization coverage, 210; Our Daily Bread, 176; wife, Ruth, 176 Heiskell, Andrew, 184

Ford Motor Company, 155–56, 157fig, 159

Heute magazine, 38, 55–56, 251n62, 252n67

France Illustration magazine, 64–65

Hicks, Wilson: and John Morris, 43; Life, 73, 77–78,

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News, 13

85; and Magnum, 43, 88; Miami Conference on

Freed, Leonard, 216–17, 218fig

Photojournalism, 29, 215; photojournalism

freelancing, challenges of, 109

textbook, 197

FSA. See American Farm Security Administration

Hillelson, John, 37

Fund for Concerned Photography, 216, 220,

Hine, Lewis, 218, 220, 280n127


Hoepker, Thomas, 184 Holiday: overview of, 112–13, 229; advertising in, 123,

Generation X photo report, 125–27, 265n53, 265nn57–58. See also “Youth and the World”

133, 143, 148–51; audience and goals of, 115, 121; Budapest feature, 123; closure of, 153; content

Glinn, Burt, 23table, 184, 274n130, 280n135

versus ads, 123; David Seymour and, 118, 217;

Glubb Parsha, 94–95, 99–100, 102, 259n85, 259n88,

domestic travel emphasis, 115, 121, 264n38;


eastern bloc reporting, 137; and Eastern Europe,

Go magazine, 37

123; and European reconstruction, 118;

Gould, Bruce and Beatrice, 43, 44fig, 55–56

European travel promotion, 115–18, 133; Frank

Grierson, John, 61, 63, 67

Zachary at, 113; Generation series, 138; global

Grosvenor, Melville, 171

surveys, end of, 153; Henri Cartier-Bresson and,

Gruber, Ruth, 67

21, 147–48, 152, 198, 209; Holocaust imagery, 121,

Guillumette, Paul, 16

122fig; and human geography, 140–41, 143; human-interest angle, 113, 123–25; human-inter-

Haas, Ernst: and color photography, 230; and

of, 153; Italy in, 152; Louis Mercier at, 113;

moment, 210; and Generation X project, 127;

Magnum commissions, 32; Magnum photogra-

and ICP, 219; “Images of a Magic City,” 179, 181;

pher compatibility, 115, 263n22; Magnum

and Inge Bondi, 178; and Life, 202; and Magnum

photographer promotion, 146–48; versus

group shows, 210; photographs of, 35fig; Sports

National Geographic, 114–15; Poland feature, 118,

Illustrated photographs, 247n114; Vienna POW

120–21, 122fig; and professional authors, 124–25;

photographs, 5, 46

Ted Patrick at, 104–5, 112–13; tourism promo-

Hagan, Pat, 112, 159

tion, 112, 115, 130, 133; travel writing in, 115,

halftone screen, 13–14, 240n9

263n21; the USSR, 137; Vienna feature, 118, 119fig;

Hamaya, Hiroshi, 219

Yugoslavia, 137. See also Capa, Robert, and

Hansen, Marie, 49

Holiday; “World of Children”; “World of

Hare, Jimmy, 13 Harper’s Bazaar, 74–75, 209 Hartmann, Erich: and corporate photography, 162,


est travel, 123–25, 129–30, 140, 229; importance

corporate photography, 162; and the decisive

Women”; “Youth and the World” Holmes, Sam: and ICP, 219; and image-saturated culture, 230; and Inge Bondi, 179; and Magnum’s

176–77; and digital technology, 230; and El Al

photo archive, 177, 204, 207, 223; photographs

airlines, 258n65; and IBM, 230, 278n78; Israeli

of, 225, 226fig


Holocaust imagery: George Rodger and, 21; Henri

Israel: biblical representations, 259n82; David

Cartier-Bresson and, 92; in Holiday, 121, 122fig; in

Seymour and, 216; El Al airlines, 92, 258n65;

liberation photographs, 21; in magazines, 89, 121;

images, importance to, 89, 92; Jewish

in newspapers, 18, 89; Robert Capa and, 70, 88;

organizations documenting, 85; Life coverage,

in the USSR, 244n67

85, 87, 257nn51–52; news coverage of, 85–87,

human geography, 140–41, 143

257n56; Robert Capa and, 87–88, 216; Zionism,

human-interest stories: 19th century, 45–46;

79, 97, 258n62. See also Capa, Robert, Israel

“Children of Europe,” 113; in Holiday, 113, 123–25;


in Life, 46, 60, 113; and Magnum, 4, 58, 123; and modern photojournalism, 46; “People are

Jacobs, Fenno, 133–34, 135fig, 136fig, 260n105

People the World Over,” 113; in Picture Post, 46;

Javitz, Romana, 205, 277n65

and Saturday Evening Post, 124; and SONJ’s

Jewish editors and photographers, 16, 79, 264n43

public relations, 164; subjects, interwar period,

Jewish organizations, 87–89, 97, 257nn56–57

46, 250n41; World War II photojournalism, 46

Jones, Lee, 27

human-interest travel, 123–25, 129–30, 140, 229 humanist photography, 5–7, 42, 211, 213, 237n22. See also The Family of Man

Jordan: and Britain, 260n11; and East Jerusalem, 94, 258n66, 259n84; George Rodger’s coverage, 92, 94, 100, 176; Jean Mohr in, 261n119; Life

Huston, John, 160

coverage, 80–81, 99; and Palestinian partition,

Huxley, Julian, 61–63

79; Robert Capa’s coverage, 82; and the West Bank, 94, 258n66, 259n84

The Illustrated London News, 13 Illustrated magazine: “Children of Europe”

Kahn, Albert, 140

photographs, 64; David Seymour and, 62;

Kertész, André, 16, 216, 221

George Rodger and, 93–94; Jinx Witherspoon

Kessel, Dmitri, 75, 79–80, 81

and, 94; Len Spooner at, 34–35, 93–94; Magnum

Keystone, 14

photographs in, 35, 36, 49; Robert Capa and,

Korff, Kurt, 16

79–80, 85, 252n67, 256n31 illustrated magazines. See magazines

Ladies’ Home Journal: overview of, 43; founding of,

L’Illustration, 13

113; Gould era, 43, 46–47, 249nn11–12; “How

Illustrirte Zeitung, 13

America Lives” series, 43, 45–46, 48, 50;

information overload: at Magnum, 29–32, 196–97,

internationalism of, 42; Jinx Witherspoon at, 94;

201–2; term history, 246n105 International Center of Photography (ICP): archival

John Morris at, 29, 43, 249n15, 256n31, 264n51; and Magnum, 7, 32, 198; and one-world

material at, 221–22, 227–28, 281n154; conserva-

movement, 47; progressive politics of, 43, 47,

tism of, 223; Cornell Capa, 216, 223; first location

249n12; “Women and Children in the USSR,”

of, 217fig; founding of, 216, 228; Magnum,

256n31; World War II coverage, 47. See also

connections to, 219, 229; and Robert Capa’s legacy, 20, 222fig, 281n154; speakers at, 281n142 internationalisms, 42–43, 57. See also one-world movement International News Photos, 18, 240n12

“People are People the World Over” The Lamp (Standard Oil Company of New Jersey): overview of, 163; “Desert Search” photo essay, 165–67; Edward Sammis at, 164–67, 171, 270n54; George Rodger and, 21, 151, 165–67, 171, 270n54;



The Lamp (continued)

Newspicture of the Week,” 72; Trudy Feliu at, 27;

Henri Cartier-Bresson and, 164, 165fig; versus

USSR coverage, 105–7, 261n132; women at, 27;

illustrated magazines, 163; Inge Morath and, 164;

workflows, 73; and World War II, 18–19, 243n46.

and Magnum, 5, 7, 164, 270n38; Magnum and,

See also Cartier-Bresson, Henri, and Life;

198; origins of, 164; photograph sources, 25–26,

Magnum Photos and Life; Rodger, George, and

270n49; reputation of, 163–64; Werner Bischof


and, 164

Litvak, Anatole, 20, 160, 244n60

Lange, Dorothea, 31, 218

Lollobrigida, Gina, 151–52, 153fig, 160, 268n118

Lange, Marguerite, 207

London Illustrated, 37

Larsen, Lisa, 107

Look magazine: circulation, postwar, 32; closure of,

Lessing, Erich, 23table, 109, 262n139

220; European reconstruction coverage, 124;

Life magazine: overview of, 72; “A Baby’s Momen-

Magnum and, 198; photo essay use, 14; picture

tous First Five Minutes,” 184, 186; Africa

library, 203; Robert Capa’s Israel coverage,

coverage, 270n35; Arab-Israeli War coverage,

85–86; USSR coverage, 137

79–81, 82, 256n41; and Black Star, 25, 72, 241n30,

Lower, Elmer, 251n62

245n85; and celebrity photographers, 16–17;

Luce, Henry, 48, 57, 72, 98, 105, 188

childbirth in, 184, 186, 274n130; “Children of

Lugon, Olivier, 201

Europe” photographs, 64–65; Chinese

Lyons, Nathan, 248n1, 281n142

revolution coverage, 75; closure of, 220; Cold


War coverage, 98–99, 105, 107, 199; Dave Stetch

Mackland, Ray, 73, 87–88

at, 50; David Seymour and, 65; Ernst Haas and,

magazines: Aktuell, 40, 82; American versus

179; European reconstruction coverage, 124;

European, 34, 247n116; Belgian, 40; Berliner

Eve Arnold and, 184, 186; and freelancers, 72–73,

Illustrirte Zeitung, 16, 46; Billed Bladet, 40, 83;

80, 102, 104; Gandhi’s funeral coverage, 74–75;

Ce Soir, 15, 59, 255n13; decline of, 219–20; Der

Glubb Parsha and, 99–100; human-interest

Stern, 38, 105, 184, 186fig; De Spaarnestad, 40,

stories, 46, 60, 113; “Images of a Magic City,” 179,

100, 101fig; Dutch, 40; editor and publisher

181; Israel coverage, 85, 87, 257nn51–52; John

ethnicity, 97, 260n98; English, 37, 46; Exposure,

Morris and, 19–20, 29, 43; versus Ladies’ Home

41, 248n1; Fortune, 22, 34, 62, 163, 198; and FSA

Journal, 53, 56; layouts, 81, 89, 258n64; map use,

photography, 46; German, 37–38, 46; Haganah

22, 53; Middle East coverage, 98–100; Palestinian

Speaks, 83, 84; Heute, 38, 55–56, 251n62, 252n67;

refugee coverage, 95, 96, 99; Pan American

human-interest stories, 45–46; International

airlines ad, 132fig; photo agency use, 17, 72,

House Quarterly, 55, 251n62; Italian, 38; McCall’s,

242n13; photo essays, 72–73; photograph

32, 43, 126–27; Münchner Illustrierte, 38, 100,

exhibits, 205; photographic staff, 70, 72;

101fig, 252n67; Oggi, 38; photo essay use, 14;

photographs in, 14, 25–26, 72; picture editors,

photographers, use of, 17; Point de vue, 82;

73; picture library, 203, 242n36; and PIX photo

postwar circulation, 32; promoting photogra-

agency, 16; politics of, 42, 48, 53, 54fig, 56, 73;

phers, 16; public relations in, 159; Queen, 37;

popularity of, 72; postwar ambitions, 22;

Quick, 38, 49, 251n47; Réalités, 37, 256n31,

reputation of, 69, 72; Robert Capa and, 18–20,

261n114; Regards, 15, 59, 82; Scandinavian

60, 70, 82, 85, 87; and Still Photographic War

market, 40; La Semaine de France, 37; Sie und

Pool, 18; subscribers, postwar, 32; “The Big

Er, 40, 49, 64, 82, 251n47; and sociology, 45–46;


Swiss, 40; USSR in Construction, 14, 46; Vecko

Magnum Photos, advertising work: Bankers Trust,

Journalen, 100; Vu, 14–16, 46, 59. See also

181, 182fig, 183, 273n120, 273n125; business

Epoca; Holiday; Ladies’ Home Journal; Life;

strategies, 177; Elliot Erwitt, 177, 186–89, 237n17,

Paris Match

274n136; Eve Arnold’s, 177, 183–86, 187fig; Henri

Magnum Foundation, 228–29, 282n11

Cartier-Bresson, 181, 273n120; Inge Morath, 181;

Magnum Photos: and Algerian independence,

Mennen Baby Magic campaign, 183–86, 187fig;

175–76; American market, 32, 34; black and

origins of, 177; photo archive inventory, 177; and

white versus color sales, 204; business

photojournalism, 189; revenue from, 180–81.

practices, 3–4, 7, 12–13, 24–25; and capitalist

See also Bondi, Inge, and Magnum’s ad

interests, 5–6; clients, top magazine, 153; and the


Cold War, 5; color photography at, 230; and

Magnum Photos, corporate photography:

competing internationalisms, 42–43; versus

overviews of, 157, 229; advantages of, 159–60,

competitors, 25–26, 40; contemporary

162; American versus European, 162; categorical

operations, 228; copyright policies, 2; corporate

instability of, 158; clients, lists of, 157, 162; as

clients, 153; and El Al airlines, 258n65; European

controversial, 189; Cornell Capa, 162, 199;

market, 34–35, 37–38, 40, 261n114; and

debates over, 189–91; El Al airlines, 258n65; Elliot

exhibitions, 205; first reproduction right system,

Erwitt, 158, 162, 190, 192; Erich Hartmann, 162,

25, 245n82; founding of, 2, 5, 11–13, 22, 24, 69,

176–77; Ernst Haas, 162; Eve Arnold, 158, 162;

239nn1–2; human-interest stories, 4, 58;

Ford Motor Company, 155–56; growth of, 199;

information overload at, 29–32, 196–97, 201–2;

income from, 161–62; Inge Bondi’s influence on,

and international aid organizations, 67; Italian

158; Land Rover, 176; and Magnum’s identity,

market, 38, 40; letter production, 27, 30;

189–91; and Magnum’s image, 158; photographer

London office, 247n127; management debates,

travel, 162; versus press work, 157; for

199; markets, 32, 34–35, 37–38, 40, 229;

SONJ, 162–68; Wayne Miller, 162. See also

members, 12; memo system, 31–32; as network,

The Lamp; Rodger, George, corporate

6–7; New York office, 24, 247n120; and

photography of

noneditorial markets, 7–8; offices of, 30, 31;

Magnum Photos, mythologies of: overview of,

organizational problems, 201–3, 206; overpro-

195–97; crafting of, 223; and exhibitions, 190,

duction problem, 29–30; Paris office, 24, 34, 35,

196–97, 205–6, 208, 213–14, 219–20; importance

37, 247n120; political self-censorship, 175–76;

of, 207; and photo books, 2, 7, 26, 190, 196–97,

priorities of, 24; public relations work, 158–62,

214, 219; and photography, histories of, 230; U.S.

269n20; and the Red Scare, 111–12; reputation

Camera portfolio, 193, 194fig, 195–97. See also

of, 37, 176; sales staff debates, 198–99; self-image

the concerned photographer; the decisive

of, 158; snippet reports, 32; and stock photogra-


phy, 204–5; structure of, 12, 26, 240n4; success

Magnum Photos, photography of: definition of, 4,

of, 2–3, 13; Swiss market, 40; and tourism, 112;

237n4; distribution, 26; European republishing

and UNESCO, 57; and the USSR, 107; values of,

of, 34, 247n121; as historical record, 70–71;

debates over, 189–90; visual culture, influence

humanist, 4–5, 42, 67, 177, 272n91; and magazine

on, 27; and war photography, 4, 20–21, 237n15;

captions, 5; in new markets, 4; and postwar

“Where’s Magnum?” memos, 32, 33; women at,

global consciousness, 5; postwar period, 70–71;

26–29, 196

print sales, 205–6



Magnum Photos, promotional efforts: brand-build-

Kurt Schneider, 40; photographer collabora-

pher stereotypes, 197–98; difficulties with,

tion, 27, 179; roles of, 27, 31, 34, 201. See also

206–7; and The Family of Man, 213; group

individual staff members

exhibitions, 210; humanism in, 211, 213; iconic

Maloney, Thomas J., 193, 275n1

photographs, 207; NBC’s Home, 210; Popular

the Marshall Plan, 55–56, 115

Photography feature, 206–7, 210, 216, 278n73,

Mason, Herbert, 242n39

278n91; professionalism emphasis, 198; Robert

Mayer, Ernst, 16

Capa on, 197; ten-year anniversary brochure,

Meiselas, Susan, 228

198, 206fig; U.S. Camera portfolio, 193, 194fig,

Mercier, Louis: and Henri Cartier-Bresson, 21; at


Holiday, 113, 127, 128fig, 148, 153; “World of

Magnum Photos and Life: competition between,

Children,” 141–42

69–70, 104; cooperation between, 73, 78–79,

Mich, Daniel, 43, 126

229; editing, 198; as photograph source, 72;

Miller, Lee, 1, 2fig

publishing in, 70; rights negotiations, 75, 78;

Mitchell, David, 37

sales visits, 198

Mohini, Ratna, 6, 74–75, 104

Magnum Photos archives: Capa-Bischof-Seymour

Mohr, Jean, 261n119

picture library, 216; and digital photography

Mondadori, Alberto, 34–35, 35fig, 38

transition, 228; and ICP, 216, 223; Inge Bondi and,

Morath, Inge: and Arthur Miller, 273n125; Bankers

205–6, 223, 225; John Morris and, 204–5, 221,

Trust campaign, 181, 182fig, 183, 273n120, 273n125;

223; letters, 230; Magnum Foundation, 228–29,

and the decisive moment, 210; and Heute,

282n11; Magnum Photos Collection, 228;

251n62; and Holiday, 164, 210; and The Lamp, 164;

organizational difficulties, 203–4, 206; paper

at Magnum, 26; Middle East coverage, 164, 210

records, 228; Sam Holmes and, 177, 204, 207,

Morgenthau, Henry Jr., 89, 258n61

223; and stock photo sales, 204–5

Morris, John: archives of, 29, 246n102; career of, 29;

Magnum Photos photographers: and anthropo-


Magnum Photos staff: group portrait, 226–27, 281n1;

ing techniques, 3, 13, 26; combating photogra-

on corporate clients, 156; D-Day story, 20, 244n59;

geographic fieldwork, 141; as artists, 7;

on editing, 201; Exposure memoir, 41; and The

assignments, 25; autonomy of, 12; and

Family of Man, 41–42; and Generation X project,

captioning, 104; and “commercialization,”

265n53; and George Rodger, 95–96, 163, 167, 169;

199–200; copyright retention, 2, 12, 24;

on Germany, 38; and humanist photography, 42,

corporate partnerships, 6; coverage area

213; and image-saturated culture, 230; and Inge

system, 24–25, 58, 245n81; as expert travelers,

Bondi, 178; and Jinx Witherspoon, 94–95, 259n85;

146–49, 151; freelance system, 31; group portrait

at Ladies’ Home Journal, 29, 43, 249n15, 256n31,

of, 225–26, 281n1; hierarchy of, 30–31; networked

264n51; at Life, 19–20, 29, 43; mass media and

contexts, 6–7; as owners and operators, 26;

democracy, 213, 279n108; memoirs of, 41,

payment of, 24; politics and cooperation, 95, 97;

246n102; and one-world movement, 47–48;

politics and sales, 109; priorities of, 201;

photographs of, 1, 2fig, 226fig; on public relations

reputation of, 198, 211; as shareholders, 2, 12; and

work, 159; on reporter-photojournalist collabora-

socialism, 102; staff collaboration, 27, 179; values

tion, 104; and Robert Capa, 20, 41, 111–12; on

of, 189; and workflows, 200–1. See also

Sports Illustrated, 32, 34; and USSR coverage, 104;

individual photographers

World War II coverage, 19–20


Morris, John, and “People are People”: control over, 125–26; essays in, 49, 51, 53, 57; goals for, 47,

USSR photos, 105–6, 107fig; and Magnum, 37; and Roland Barthes, 195, 275n4

52–53, 229; origins of, 42, 125; postproduction,

passports, importance to freelancers, 112

51–52; proposal for, 47–48; redistribution

Patrick, Ted: career of, 263n18; death of, 153; at

attempts, 54–55, 57, 251n62; script designed for,

Holiday, 104–5, 112–13; at Office of War


Information, 262n6; “World of Children,” 141–42

Morris, John, at Magnum: color photos, need for,

“People are People the World Over”: American

205; departure from, 29; as executive editor, 19,

ideology in, 51–52, 55–56; benefits of, 49; versus

29–31, 67, 111, 178; management system, 200–1;

contemporary series, 53; as countercultural,

and organizational difficulties, 201–2, 207; and

53–54; countries represented in, 48–49; David

the photo archives, 204–5, 221, 223; and

Seymour and, 49; family life emphasis, 49–52;

photographers, 199–203, 207; promotional

and The Family of Man, 42; George Rodger and,

efforts, 193, 194fig, 195–96; publicity, 198;

48, 102; globe use, 53–54; the Goulds and, 48;

salesman, desire for, 198–99; syndication service

Heute redistribution, 55–56, 251n62; “How the

proposal, 199–200, 210, 276n25

World Gets Around,” 52; human-interest angle,

Münchner Illustrierte, 38, 100, 101fig, 252n67

113; income generation, 125; layouts of, 50, 52;

Museum of Modern Art, 205, 209, 211. See also The

versus Life, 53; Magnum and, 48–49; one-world

Family of Man

ideology of, 47–53, 55–56; origins of, 43, 47, 125; photographers recruited for, 48–49; photo-

National Geographic: audience of, 171; versus

graphic requirements, 49; photograph

Holiday, 114–15; husband-and-wife teams,

reproductions, 50fig, 51fig, 52fig; redistribution

171; ideology of, 171, 175, 271n76; Jinx Wither-

of, 54–55, 57, 251n60, 251n62; Rita Vandivert and,

spoon and, 94; John Morris at, 29; jungle

49; Robert Capa and, 43, 48–51, 125, 251n47;

housekeeping stories, 171, 271n78; and Magnum,

sociological questionnaires, 49; “This is How the

32, 176, 198, 229; versus “People are People,” 53.

World Farms,” 53; “This is the World at Home,”

See also Rodger, George, and National

51–52; and the United Nations, 57; “Woman’s


World Revolves around the Kitchen,” 50–51. See

Newhall, Beaumont, 207, 209, 280n127 newspapers, 14–15, 18, 22, 89

also Morris, John, and “People are People” Phillips, John: Arab-Israeli War coverage, 79–81,

New York Times, 29, 156, 198

82fig, 256n40; Israel coverage, 257n52; and Life,

New York Times Magazine, 102, 261n117

85, 89; political connections, 80; and stereotypical image requests, 256n42

Ogilvy, David, 258n64 one-world movement, 47–48, 250n37

photo agencies: Alliance Photo, 11, 14–15, 23t1, 26, 28t2; attribution practices, 15–16; and current events, 14–15; history of, 13–14; and Jewish exiles,

Palestine, 79, 97, 100, 259n82, 261n117

16; Magnum founders at, 15; photographers at,

Palestinian refugees, 100, 101fig, 261n116. See also

17; PIX, 16, 18, 26, 72; Publifoto, 40; Rapho, 14,

Rodger, George, Palestinian refugee story

16, 26, 197, 263n17, 270n49; second sales

Paris, liberation of, 11, 17, 20–21

strategies, 17; tasks performed, 16; transatlantic,

Paris Match: and Epoca, 38, 40; founding of, 37;

16; visual culture, influence on, 17. See also

George Rodger and, 94; Henri Cartier-Bresson’s

Black Star



photo books: The Americans, 181; Black in White America, 217, 280n124; Children of Europe,

Rodger and Witherspoon’s Palestinian coverage, 100

63–65; Cornell Capa’s contributions to, 220, 223;

Poland, 118, 120–21

Desert Journey, 21, 94, 166; The Europeans, 209;

Pollack, Peter, 214–15

Jewish organizations using, 85; and magazine

Popp, Richard, 139

decline, 219–20; versus magazines, 223; and

postwar era: overview of, 4; American attitudes,

Magnum mythologies, 2, 7, 26, 190, 196–97, 214,

changes in, 22; Americans and travel, 133;

219; New York, 181; Red Moon Rising, 21, 166;

conflicts during, 4; cultural influence contests,

Slightly Out of Focus, 19, 21, 79, 123. See also

57; economic changes during, 5; global

The Decisive Moment

consciousness, 5; as image-saturated, 230;

photographers: as celebrities, 15–16, 21; editing and

internationalisms, 42–43, 57; media content

journalism knowledge, 197; editor conflicts,

debates, 57; one-world movement, 47–48,

197–98; and international aid organizations,

250n37; photography, 5, 196, 238n5, 275n7;

67; mobility, importance of, 112; stereotypes

tourism, 112, 115; visual culture, 7; women and

about, 197

the workplace, 246n91. See also the Cold War

photographs as commodities, 4, 190, 199–200

Pothecary, Eric, 37

photographs as documents, 220

Preminger, Otto, 92

photography: as art history subfield, 236n6; artistic

Prouvost, Jean, 37

versus commissioned, 209; art market for,

public relations, 58–62, 160–62, 164, 269n20

277n50; as collectible art form, 221–22; and copyright laws, 15; critical debates over, 221–22;

Rado, Charles, 16

digital, 228; history of, 236n11; illustration, as

Rand McNally, 22

subservient to, 13; management systems, 102; as

Readers’ Digest, 137

mass medium, 3; postwar era, 5, 196, 238n5,

the Red Scare, 111–12, 218

275n7; Roland Barthes on, 5, 195, 236n8, 275n4;

Riboud, Jean, 168

and sociology, 46; Susan Sontag on, 220–21;

Riboud, Marc, 168, 173, 210, 219, 272n85

theories of, 5, 195, 220–21. See also humanist

Riis, Jacob, 218, 237n22


Riverside Museum, 216, 279n120, 280n127, 280n130

photography exhibitions. See exhibitions Photography in the Fine Arts exhibit, 205, 277n67 photojournalism: attitudes toward, 21, 244n64;


Robert Capa-David Seymour Photographic Foundation, 66–67, 216 Rodger, George: and Algerian independence war, 175–76; anti-Semitism of, 94–96, 258n67, 259n88;

criticisms of, 220; decline of, 219–20; growth of,

Arab-Israeli War coverage, 92, 258n67;

21; and human-interest stories, 46; and the

Bergen-Belsen liberation, 92, 258n68; citizenship

press, 13–14, 21

of, 93; and color photography, 230; as

photo supply business, 13–17

concerned photographer, 92, 176; and David

picture agencies. See photo agencies

Seymour, 20, 244n58; Desert Journey, 21, 94,

Picture Post magazine: Cartier-Bresson’s USSR

166; “Desert Search” photo essay, 165–67; and

photos, 105; closure of, 37, 220; human-interest

Edward Sammis, 165–67, 171, 270n54; and Epoca,

stories, 46; and Magnum, 7, 37, 247n125; photo

94, 102, 103; and Eric Pothecary, 37; first wife,

essay use, 14; Robert Capa and, 37, 160–61;

Cicely, 93–94, 162; health issues, 162; Henri


Cartier-Bresson, introduction to, 20, 244n58;

knowledge of, 92; and the oil boom, 109;

and Henry Luce, 98; and Illustrated, 93–94, 102,

political views on, 94–95, 259n88

103; and James Bell, 95, 98; and Jinx Wither-

Rodger, George, Palestinian refugee story: versus

spoon, 27–28, 94–95, 171, 259n77; and John

Algerian independence, 176; Capa’s letter on,

Morris, 95–96, 163, 167, 169; and Len Spooner,

97–98; European distribution, 100, 101fig, 102;

93–94; and Magnum, 24–25, 92, 98, 175–76, 189,

and Henry Luce, 98–99, 102; impetus for, 94–95;

199; in Magnum retrospectives, 227; memoirs,

Jinx Witherspoon and, 95–100, 259n88; letter to

wartime, 166, 271nn57–58; memoirs published,

John Morris, 95–96, 260n94; Life’s rejection, 97;

21; and New York Times Sunday Magazine, 102; and “People are People” series, 48, 102;

Magnum submission, 97; and the UN, 100 Rodger, George, second Africa trip: overview of,

photographs of, 35fig, 93fig, 174fig; photography

167; complexity of, 162; funding for, 167, 272n86;

of, 71, 102; politics of, 95, 102, 104; promotion of,

impetus for, 162–63; and The Lamp, 21, 151,

195–96; Red Moon Rising, 21, 166; reputation of,

165–67, 171, 270n54; and National Geographic,

92–93, 104; and Rita Vandivert, 92; and Robert

167, 169, 171–77; and Schlumberger, 167–69,

Capa, 19, 95, 97–98; success of, 93; and Trudy

170fig; stories produced, 169; travel limitations,

Feliu, 27; working methods, 163; “World of

162, 270n36

Children,” 151, 152fig; “World of Women,” 149,

Rodger, Jinx. See Witherspoon, Jinx

151, 153; World War II coverage, 19, 21, 92; and

Rolleston, James, 55

“Youth and the World,” 133–34

Rona, Irme, 40

Rodger, George, and Life: Arab-Israeli War

Rosler, Martha, 220–21

coverage, 92, 258n67; Bergen-Belsen liberation

Rothstein, Arthur, 57

coverage, 21; memoirs, 166; publishing in, 70;

rotogravure printing, 14

World War II coverage, 19, 60, 92, 243n50 Rodger, George, and National Geographic:

Safranski, Kurt, 16–17

assignments from, 102; “Elephants Have the

Sammis, Edward, 164–67, 171, 270n54

Right of Way,” 176; failed story sales, 171; instruc-

Sargent, Peggy, 77

tions to, 171; “Sand in My Eyes,” 171–76; stories

Saturday Evening Post: closure of, 220; David

bought from, 167, 169

Seymour and, 60–61; European reconstruction

Rodger, George, corporate photography of: and

coverage, 124; founding of, 113; and human-

humanist style, 177; for National Geographic,

interest, 124; Jinx Witherspoon and, 94; and

171–76; for Schlumberger, 167–69, 170fig, 176–77; for SONJ, 21, 151, 165–68, 171, 270n54 Rodger, George, first Africa trip: distribution and

Magnum, 7, 32 Schaaf, Herbert, 38 Schlumberger, 167–69, 170fig, 176–77, 271n72

publication of, 94, 163; and Economic Coopera-

Schneider, Kurt, 40

tion Administration, 93–94; financing, 49; and

Schroth, Tom, 276n25

Illustrated, 49, 93; and National Geographic, 163;

Schultz, Phil, 49

reasons for going, 92–93, 258nn68–69

Seymour, David: Chim’s Children exhibition, 214–16;

Rodger, George, and the Middle East: access to,

citizenship of, 26; as concerned photographer, 211,

92–94; assignments given, 102; feature subjects,

214–16; death of, 4, 66, 168, 211, 214, 254n106; exile

102; and Glubb Parsha, 94–95, 102, 259n85;

of, 16; and film productions, 160–61; and French

Illustrated assignment, 94; and James Bell, 95;

magazines, 59; Gina Lollobrigida, 153fig; in



Seymour, David: (continued) Greece, 151; and Inge Bondi, 178; at International

239n2; Paris office photograph, 34, 35fig; at Picture Post, 37; and Robert Capa, 35, 79

Conference of Modern Architects, 62; in Israel,

Sports Illustrated, 32, 34, 247n114

217; and Ladies’ Home Journal, 264n51; legacy of,

Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (SONJ), 164,

67; and Life, 65; and Maria Eisner, 58, 60, 63;

270n44. See also The Lamp

military service, 18, 59–60; monographs on, 66–67,

Steichen, Edward, 5, 41–42, 211, 279n108, 280n127

223; “Music in the Ruins,” 118; orphan Tereska

Steinbeck, John, 26n131, 79, 93, 102, 123, 263n21

photo, 5, 65, 66fig, 207, 216; “People are People,”

Stetch, Dave, 50

49; and photo agencies, 15; photographs of, 1, 2fig,

Still Photographic War Pool, 18

35fig, 194fig; politics of, 95; Popular Photography‘s

Stott, William, 249n21

confusion regarding, 210; and postwar recon-

Stryker, Roy, 46, 164, 250n25, 280n127

struction, 24; and Saturday Evening Post, 124; for

Stuart, Zeff, 216

Sports Illustrated, 247n114; and This Week, 57–58,

Sunday Times Supplement, 37

59fig, 63–64, 252n73; war coverage, 4, 59, 215,

Szarkowski, John, 209, 221, 248n1, 278n88, 281n142

237n15; “World of Children,” 145–46, 153; “World of Women,” 151; “Youth and the World,” 217 Seymour, David, and Magnum Photos: coverage area, 24; departure from, 29; early years, 59–60; founding of, 2, 11, 21, 58; French market, 37;

Taconis, Kryn: and Algerian independence, 175–76; and Holiday, 112; Holiday and Magnum, 143–44, 146; letters from Inge Bondi, 180; and World War II, 18

instructions received from, 34; Polish refugee

Therond, Roger, 37

story, 60–61; postwar reconstruction interests,

This Week magazine: David Seymour and, 57–58,

60–62; publicity, 198; weekly syndication

59fig, 63–64, 252n73; Lee Jones at, 29;

service, 199

Magnum and, 7, 198; postwar readership,

Seymour, David, “Children of Europe”: career impact, 66–67; hiring for, 61, 63, 65; human-

57–58; “We Went Back!” story, 57–58, 63–64, 252nn71–72

interest angle, 113; introductory text, 63;

Thompson, Dorothy, 47

Magnum approval, 63; origins of, 61; photo-

Thompson, Edward K., 73, 75–77, 87, 97, 105, 137

graphs taken for, 63–64

Thornton, Gene, 220

Shaw, Irwin, 85, 88, 90, 123

tourism: American reluctance toward, 130; and the

Sheean, Vincent, 118

Cold War, 120, 130, 139; in England, 129, 265n64;

Shore, Margot, 143

European, 115; in France, 129; and one world

Simon, Richard Leo, 85, 207

ideology, 139; and photo surveys, 139; Robert

Smith, W. Eugene, 41, 198, 219, 275n15 Sochurek, Howard, 188

Capa’s advice on, 147. See also Holiday travel “off the beaten path,” 146, 267n105

socialist realist camera angles, 87 Society for Photographic Education, 41, 248n1 sociology, 46, 49, 126, 218

Courier, 64, 253n94; human rights exhibition,

Sontag, Susan, 220–21

251n54; Impetus, 62; internationalism of, 42;

Spatz, Carl, 53, 54

John Grierson and, 61, 63; Julian Huxley and,

Spooner, Len: and George Rodger, 93–94; at

61–63; and mass communication, 57, 61–62;

Illustrated, 34–35, 93–94; and Magnum, 11, 35,


UNESCO: “Children of Europe” project, 63–67;


values of, 48

the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR):

White, Theodore E., 118, 120–21, 123, 264n42

access difficulties, 105; in American magazines,

Wikin, Lee, 203

264n34; Capa-Steinbeck tour, 79, 93, 102, 207,

Wilkie, Wendell, 47, 250n31

261n131; Holiday, 137; Holocaust imagery in,

wire photo services, 14–15

244n67; interest in, 104; John Morris and, 104;

Witherspoon (Rodger), Jinx: in Africa, 167, 171–76;

Joseph Stalin’s death, 105; Ladies’ Home

anti-Semitism of, 95–96, 98, 259n88; career of,

Journal, 256n31; Life, 105–7, 261n132; Look, 137;

27–28, 28t2; childhood of, 95, 98; and George

Magnum Photos and, 107; Paris Match, 105–6,

Rodger, 27–28, 94–95, 259n77; and John Morris,

107fig; Picture Post, 105; Readers’ Digest, 137;

94–95, 259n85; at Ladies’ Home Journal, 94; in

Robert Capa’s photography of, 106fig, 108fig;

the Middle East, 94–95, 102, 259n81, 259n85;

USSR in Construction, 14, 46. See also

Palestinian refugee story, 95–100, 259n88; “Sand

Cartier-Bresson, Henri, photography of; the

in My Eyes” photo essay, 171–76; writing of, 94,

Cold War

259n78; and “Youth and the World,” 133–34

United Jewish Appeal, 88–89

Woman’s Mirror magazine, 37

the United Nations, 57–58, 67, 74, 100, 255n15

women, 27, 48, 246n91. See also “World of Women”

the United States of America: atomic bomb use, 47;

Holiday series; specific names

the Marshall Plan, 55–56; media from, European

Wood, Norton, 94

concerns over, 57; the Red Scare, 111–12, 218. See

“World of Children” Holiday series: overview of,

also the Cold War U.S. Camera, 193, 194fig, 195–97, 201, 275n1

139; Cornell Capa and, 143; countries represented, 139–40, 141fig, 266n92; David Seymour, 145–46, 153; Eve Arnold and, 266n93; George

Vachon, John, 67

Rodger and, 151, 152fig; glamour of, 152–53;

Vandivert, Bill: and David Seymour, 60; and

guidelines, 141–42; Henri Cartier-Bresson and,

John Morris, 19; and Magnum, 11, 22, 24, 27,

141–43, 267n99; as human geography, 140–41;

239n2; and Robert Capa, 19; World War II

Kryn Taconis and, 143–44, 146; Lou Mercier

coverage, 19

and, 141–42; the Netherlands, 144–45;

Vandivert, Rita: on copyright, 24; and David Seymour, 27, 58, 60–61, 63; founding of, 11–12, 22, 24, 26; and George Rodger, 92; human-interest stories, 58; at New York office, 24; and “People

subjects, 143, 145, 152fig; Ted Patrick and, 141–42; and tourism, 143, 145, 153; as travel photography, 143 “World of Women” Holiday series: overview of, 139;

are People,” 49; and Robert Capa, 19; and

and advertising, 149–51; countries represented,

Seymour’s reconstruction interests, 60–61, 63

266n92; David Seymour and, 151; George Rodger

Vishniac, Roman, 257n59

and, 149, 151, 153; Gina Lollobrigida in, 151–52,

Vu, 14–16, 46, 59

153fig, 160, 268n118; glamour of, 152–53; as human geography, 140–41; message of, 152;

war photography: Iraq War, 17; and Magnum, 4; Paris Liberation, 17; scholarship on, 237n15; Spanish Civil War, 15, 46, 216–17. See also

subjects of, 139, 140fig, 149–51; and tourism, 148–51, 153 World War II: atomic bomb use, 47; atrocity

Arab-Israeli War coverage; Capa, Robert,

coverage, 21, 244nn66–67; end of, 22, 245n72;

photography of; World War II photography

Henri Cartier-Bresson in, 20; and mass media,

Wehr, Paula, 38

18; mediation of, 1; Werner Bischof and, 18



World War II photography: overview of, 18; Bill

received, 138; David Seymour and, 217; Ernst

camps, 21; D-Day, 19, 242n42; George Rodger’s,

Haas and, 134; Eve Arnold and, 129; Fenno

19, 21, 60, 92, 243n50; government support for,

Jacobs and, 133–34, 136fig; George and Jinx

21; Henri Cartier-Bresson, 20; human-interest

Rodger and, 133–34; government-approved

stories, 46; impact on American attitudes, 22;

photos, 133–34; Henri Cartier-Bresson and, 129,

impact on journalism, 21; John Morris and,

131fig; and human-interest travel, 129; impact on

19–20; Ladies’ Home Journal, 47; Life, 18–19, 60,

Holiday, 138; importance to Magnum, 138; layout

92, 243n46, 243n50; media-military cooperation,

of, 127; Lebanon, 133–34; Magnum promotion in,

18; Paris Liberation, 17; and professional

141; political aspects of, 129, 133–34, 137–38;

networking, 20–21; SHAEF censorship of, 19–20,

publication of, 127; redistribution of, 138; Robert

243n54; Still Photographic War Pool, 18. See

Capa and, 129, 131fig, 137; Werner Bischof and,

also Capa, Robert, photography of

129, 130fig; Yugoslavia, 133–34, 137

“Youth and the World” Holiday series: overview of, 127, 129; and American ideology, 137–38, 266n84;


and American tourism, 130, 133; awards

Vandivert’s, 19; Capa’s, 18–19; concentration


Zachary, Frank, 113, 127, 128fig, 153 Zionism, 79, 97, 258n62

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