The Dannin Papers
In June 2016 I published a Guest Post by Robert Dannin, Editorial Director of Magnum Photos from 1985-90. Dannin’s article contained so much compressed information, provocative insider insight, and tart critique that I invited him to become a regular contributor to this blog.
Dannin, who holds a doctorate in linguistics and anthropology from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, has had a long, complex involvement with photography. He paid for his education in part by working as a copywriter/photo editor at Sipa Press in Paris from 1978 to 1981. He was news editor for Sygma New York and later the editorial director of Magnum, where he produced Sebastião Salgado Jr.’s “An Archaeology of the Industrial Age,” eventually published as Workers (Aperture).
His other editorial credits include James Nachtwey’s Inferno (Phaidon) and the survey Arms Against Fury: Magnum Photographers in Afghanistan (powerHouse). He is the author of numerous critical essays about photojournalism. From 1995 to 1997 he served as special consultant on photography to the office of the New York Attorney General.
The links below, in reverse chronological order, will take you to Dannin’s posts, the most recent first. You’ll find a link to his first post at this blog, a commentary on the Steve McCurry brouhaha, at the bottom of the list.
• Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos, 6 (October 13, 2016): In which Dannin continues his consideration of strategies for monetizing the Magnum backlist, and discusses the members’ jealousis and territoriality.
• Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos, 5 (October 13, 2016): In which Dannin sketches the “the low-intensity conflicts of the Carter-Reagan-Bush years” on which the agency’s photographers thrived, and outlines his approaches to monetizing the Magnum backlist.
• Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos, 4 (October 13, 2016): Danny Lyon, Eli Reed, and Gilles Peress have trouble in Haiti; Susan Meiselas in the Philippines; and the magnum aesthetic..
• Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos, 3 (October 13, 2016): In which Dannin names another bad client, and discusses hand-to-hand combat within the agency.
• Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos, 2 (October 9, 2016): In which Dannin describes how Magnum photographers treated the staff, and each other, and names a bad client.
• Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Magnum Photos, 1 (October 5, 2016): In which Dannin describes the path by which he arrived at the picture agency in 1985 as its editorial director, and what he found when he got there.
• Guest Post 23: Robert Dannin on Steve McCurry (June 9, 2016): In which Dannin addresses the issues raised by McCurry’s digital alteration of some of his images and the resulting brouhaha.