How did the world’s most famous photographs, the snapshots that have become iconic, come about? This is an extraordinary and fascinating ten-episode journey exploring the forbidden city of photographic proofs, mixing with famous photographers from Magnum Photos, the legendary photographic agency founded in 1947
Over 60 years of history, from the collapse of the Twin Towers by Steve McCurry to Thomas Hoepker’s portrait of Muhammad Ali; from the Tiananmen Square protests photographed by Stuart Franklin to the glorious era of the Beatles captured by David Hurn’s portraits… up to candid snapshots of Nixon and Khrushchev, Marilyn Monroe, Margaret Thatcher and Miles Davis.
Ten iconic photographs and many different stories, stories of contact between photographers and their subjects.
Ten stories told by the photos themselves and their creators.
Hundreds of snapshots that came before or after the image that was to immortalise a historic moment in our collective imagination.
Contact sheets provide photographers with a first, overall glimpse of what they have captured on film. They are a chance to have an intimate and exclusive look at the artist’s style, method and thoughts.
Cartier-Bresson, the founder of the Magnum Photos agency, was entirely against making contact sheets public, and yet the choice of ‘that particular photo’ from the many taken at a particular time is a point of contact between the life, thoughts and philosophy of the photographer and the subject he or she portrays.
They are two very different approaches that – thanks to an informed choice or a series of fortuitous coincidences – imbue a snapshot or a staged photograph with their own life and turn them into historic icons.