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Magnum Contact Sheets

Magnum Contact Sheets

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Personally I'm fairly diligent with storage and back-up of digital files (touch wood) and still have many pictures from my college days, 15 years ago. With the rise of digital photography, the contact sheet has, in many ways, been relegated an anachronism—a vestigial relic of the medium’s past. Addressing key questions of photographic practice – was the final image a set-up, or a serendipitous encounter; did the photographer work diligently to extract the potential from a situation, or was the fabled ‘decisive moment’ at play? Addressing key questions of photographic practice - was the final image a set-up, or a serendipitous encounter; did the photographer work diligently to extract the potential from a situation, or was the fabled 'decisive moment' at play? Like reading someone’s diary or looking in their closet, the contact sheet is not meant for public consumption.

High above Paris, Marc Riboud’s Eiffel Tower Painter (1953) dances with his paintbrush – hat tilted at a jaunty angle, a cigarette dangling from his lips. These photographers cover over seventy years of history, from the Normandy landings by Robert Capa, the Paris riots of 1968 by Bruno Barbey and war in Chechnya by Thomas Dworzak to images of Che Guevara by Rene Burri, Malcolm X by Eve Arnold and clasic New Yorkers by Bruce Gilden. The painters – there are several – clamber up and down the girders, curve their bodies into improbable angles, stand on tiptoe like ballet dancers as they reach up to paint overhead.Contacts sheets are usually exposed at minimum time for maximum black and so become a great instructional tool for the first enlargement. A huge undertaking, well produced this tremendous book shows how defining moments are captured and made iconic.

To be able to follow dozens upon dozens of the most recognised images of the 20th century backwards through the selection process gives these pictures a new immediacy and vitality . When I was a young film newbie I had two experiences that have remained high points throughout my life. You can see whether it took the photographer one shot or the entire roll to get that perfect image, if it took them a few frames or a whole roll you can see how they experimented with angles, framing, composition, etc… (I concede that there are instances where a contact sheet lies, even in this book there are examples of using contact sheets to tell a narrative, but broadly speaking the contact sheet is far more truthful than a single image). I've personally had no trouble with it (though it seemed generally stiff at first) - it does appear to open a little better with more-use, like most books. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice.I hoped that somebody would take care of me and take me away … there were three of us photographers present. I may not be watching the photographer actually taking the photographs but, where a photograph can lie, I would argue that a contact sheet does not. One thing is for sure: if you do not have a copy of Magnum Contact Sheets on your bookshelf you cannot be serious about photography. The entries are organised into seven chronological sections, starting with 1930–49 and ending with 2000–10. In the text, Franck describes running to the scene with her camera, “my Leica M3 (I used a 50mm lens and Tri X Kodak film), wondering if shutting down to f.



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  • EAN: 764486781913
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