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Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos (6)

We were about defending and expanding interpretive multiplicity beyond the ideological vanishing point to a place where all sides of the conflict became visible — combatants and civilians caught in the crossfire. The more coverage the better. To me there was no such thing as too many pictures. […]

Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos (5)

At many agencies, Magnum included, photographers became specialists in particular conflict zones. They learned appropriate languages, earned the camaraderie of local journalists and fixers, purchased vehicles, and in some cases even took apartments in the capital city. To the mainstream media it was a form of branding. […]

Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos (4)

Magnum’s biography is not just a narrative of funny anecdotes, personal heroism, or critical interventions aimed at the cognoscenti. To me there’s a real narrative, a true set of values behind the myth. It’s a frat-house given to sophomoric antics with members sometimes capable of making extraordinary pictures. […]

Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos (3)

One morning Magnum’s Paris bureau chief Natasha Chassagne walked into the office to discover that she had been officially locked out. Richard Kalvar appeared like a jack-in-the-box and gave her fifteen minutes to vacate her desk and leave the building. It must have been brutal for her; from a distance it looked awful. The prevailing atmosphere at the following annual meeting was a lot of people congratulating themselves for having done this dirty deed. And the way mobsters always eliminate eyewitnesses, they were already targeting Jimmy Fox. […]

Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos (2)

One of the first things they tried when they hired me at Magnum was to set me against the staff. They explained who they liked, and who they didn’t like, put me up to such plots as firing staff members, or conspiring against them. I admit to having participated in some of that out of my own inexperience. […]