The $100 Magnum print sale is back and supporting COVID-19 relief
This year's sale features imagery that depict turning points in modern history, with 50% of the photographers' proceeds going to charity.
© Chien-Chi Chang / Magnum Photos
The Magnum Square Print Sale is back, and it’s never been a more prescient time to invest in one of its beautiful, dramatic, evocative, dare we say it ~urgent~ prints. In partnership with The Everyday Projects -- a non-profit organisation that uses photography to “combat cliché, promote local norms, and celebrate global commonalities” -- Magnum has curated a selection along the thematic lines of ‘Turning Points’ -- seeking out images “relating to, or capturing events that changed the course of history, society, a life, or a practice.”
For one week only, over 100 archival-quality prints, signed by the photographers or estate-stamped by the estates, are available for $100 (or £81.20). From legendary pioneers like Bruce Davidson, Carolyn Drake and Elliott Erwitt, to the new gen of gold standard documentary photography, like Olivia Arthur, Gregory Halpern and Yagazie Emezi, each image offers a distillation of a moment in history that changed the world. And, better still, Magnum photographers will be donating 50% of their profits from this Square Print Sale to Médecins Sans Frontières COVID-19 emergency response.
Take a look at a few of our favourites below.
“A good friend and I drove out to see the Tree of Life, a lone mesquite tree standing in intense heat with no apparent source of water, surrounded by nothing but miles of desert sand in Bahrain. We were enjoying the emptiness of the desert and marvelling at this tree's ability to survive in such harsh conditions when, suddenly, this bus appeared out of nowhere and stopped a short distance from the tree. One by one, men in dark suits emerged from the bus and swarmed around the tree. I pulled out my camera and quickly made a couple of pictures. It was such an unexpected and amusing scene in the middle of nowhere -- one that also marked a turning point in how I viewed my life and photography at the time. The scene that emerged around the Tree of Life was a surreal reminder of how quickly a situation can change and that beautiful, interesting moments can happen at anytime and anywhere. Sometimes you just need to let go and allow experiences to unfold.”
“They were living their best life, thanks to their father who left Fuzhou to work non-stop at low-level jobs in New York’s Chinatown. His dream was a good life for his children. But is prosperity worth the social cost? Children are left fatherless, wives have no husbands, and viruses spread around the world that can make all we have valueless. We all wonder what is best for our children, and maybe the answers lie in the lives of people on both sides of our permeable borders. Look at them. Listen to their voices. You may not understand their language, but you can feel their longing.”
“Ernest Cole’s life was full of turning points and disjunctures. In this sense, if in no other, he replicated the bizarre rise and fall of the apartheid regime from its infancy in the 1940s to its death in 1990.
Cole’s photographs of apartheid South Africa – including this image – captured the brutality of ‘scientific’ racism, demonstrating both the humanity of South Africans and the ongoing revolutions of everyday life. Cole left the Republic in 1966 and published House Of Bondage in 1967, delivering, in the process, a body blow to the public image of the apartheid state. For his troubles, he was exiled in perpetuity and stripped of his identity.
Cole continued in the United States and Sweden with his photographic experiments in rendering the personal political and the political personal before appearing to abandon photography in the mid-1970s. Ernest Cole died in New York City in 1990, a few days after Nelson Mandela was released from prison.”
David Alan Harvey
“This image comes from my first small booklet Tell It Like It Is. Two dollars per copy and the profits to the family church.
Clearly a turning point era for the USA and for me personally. Three months after I published this photo essay on the Liggins family, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. My whole point in photographing the Liggins was to do my bit to create a cultural bridge in this Southern city. I was naive. 1968 turned out to be one of the most tumultuous years in American history.
When I saw David Liggins stepping out on his hand-made plywood and roller skate hybrid, I knew the picture would be symbolic. I managed to shoot 2 frames of Tri-X film and he was gone. Pushing off, stepping out into his own world of childhood fantasy and freedom.”
“For less than a second two athletes stand close to one another. Their eyes are closed, their heads lean on each other’s shoulders, as if they are embracing each other peacefully. I tried to capture this scene in the moment before the fight with all its tearing and throwing each other back and forth started.
This photograph shows two figures training in khuresh, a type of wrestling and the national sport of the Tuva Republic, a partially recognised state in southern Siberia. The people of Tuva create sagas and legends about their favourite athletes, ascribing supernatural qualities to them.”
"This image is from an ongoing project working with Moroccan youth who are trying to cross the border into Europe. They attempt — through various means — to jump onto the ferries or lorries that move from Melilla (a Spanish territory situated in Morocco) and Nador to the South of Spain. The majority of the kids begin their journey by train or bus from their hometowns toward the border. I made a journey with someone who was expelled from Melilla and returned to his hometown, close to Casablanca. This photograph is of one of his friends that has not yet made the decision to travel to the border -- something currently considered by many of the youths in Morocco."
Cristina Garcia Rodero
“In 1999, the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Love Parade festival was celebrated with the motto ‘Music is the Key’.
The festival was first staged in 1989, the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, to unite young people from all over the world through music for the purpose of peace, friendship, love and joy.”
“This photograph is a turning point for me in that for years after it was taken, the photograph was not much used or purchased, but gradually, over the last few years, it has emerged as one of my most popular images.”
“Realising the power of photography: it speaks multiple languages and so can spur a range of emotions. Knowing that it is art, and can be and has been a weapon. And like all things powerful, with the ability to do good and bad comes responsibility. It’s a dangerous and beautiful tool, depending on who is holding it.”
“The summit is bare and stony, while the sides are covered with tundra vegetation. The mountain has an interesting mineralogy, notable for its composition of nepheline syenite. Apatite is mined from the area. The nearby Kukisvumchorr Microdistrict shares the same name as the mountain. Now there is a Bigwood ski resort there. The day I made this photo it was -25 degrees centigrade, with a strong wind. I went up the mountain. It was a polar night, about 7am. I was photographing silent landscapes. The sky brightened gradually. Dawn lasted almost 4 hours. And then the sun came up. It was powerful and beautiful. Since then, I always get up early, trying not to miss the sunrise.“
“Every time it gets cold in my apartment in Sarajevo, I think back to the sound of refugee children on Samos Island, shivering from the cold as their parents struggled to keep small fires alive. Many of the families I met had been living in makeshift tents for well over a year, having risked their lives over hostile borders and lands, fleeing war, starvation, and poverty. They had hoped to find a safe haven. Instead, they found brutality, indifference, and callousness. Umm Mousa, a young Iraqi, had collected many scars, and you could see it in her tired eyes. When I met her, her husband, and their three beautiful children onboard a ferry, they were on their way from Samos Island to Athens. Her family was one of the luckier ones, and to celebrate their departure from what many consider Europe’s worst refugee camp, Mousa had gotten a flower tattooed on her arm. All she wanted now, she told me, was ‘to be given the chance to have a safer life.’”
“New York light is golden, but this misty morning was magic.”
The Magnum Square Print Sale in Partnership with The Everyday Projects takes place on the Magnum Photos shop: shop.magnumphotos.com from Monday, April 6, 9AM EST until Sunday, 12 April, 6PM EST. During the sale, and for one week only, over 100 archival-quality prints, signed by the photographers or estate-stamped, are available for $100.