New Blood Magnum Photos 60th Anniversary

Exhibition: 22 August to 22 September, 2007

New Blood Magnum Photos 60th Anniversary

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© Trent Parke

Magnum Photos is one of the world's most prestigious and longest surviving artists' co-operatives, and this year it celebrates its 60th anniversary. Founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, David 'Chim' Seymour and George Rodger, it is now represented by an idiosyncratic mix of sixty plus members worldwide. This exhibition brings together the work of Magnum's new blood; three Associate Members: Antoine D'Agata, Jonas Bendiksen and Alec Soth and two full-members (as of June 2007) Trent Parke and Mark Power. As a group, they embody the evolution of documentary photography, from traditional photojournalism to a more art-based practice, and reflect the diversity that continues to distinguish the agency.

Antoine D'Agata already has a substantial reputation in his native France. His experimental approach to photography has made him an unusual addition to the Magnum membership. He is exhibiting a selection of prints from Stigma and Insomnia; two disjointed and loosely autobiographical narratives formed through an accumulation of diverse imagery. He describes his approach thus: "Roaming, night, sex... and the compulsive necessity to photograph, not as a thought out act but as a simple levelling of ordinary or extreme experiences".

Magnum's youngest member is Jonas Bendiksen. His work, Satellites is already well known; and takes us on a journey through the peripheral regions of the old Soviet Union. He describes it as a "multi-year project about states that do not actually exist": scattered enclaves, unrecognised mini-states, and other isolated communities that straddle the southern borderlands of the former USSR. His self-contained scenes featuring lonely figures, crosses in the snow, space junk and butterflies portray a harsh and unfamiliar twilight world.

Trent Parke, Magnum's only Australian member, is best known for his dark and lyrical photographs of Australia in series such as Dream/Life and Beyond and Minutes to Midnight. His distinctive visual approach gives his subjects a strange other worldly quality, and reflects Parke's sense of the world and his place in it. The colour works shown here, from a series entitled Welcome to Nowhere depict the everyday reality of life in the more remote areas of Australia but are suffused with a theatricality and sense of the surreal.

Mark Power's photographs of Poland began as a commission for the Pompidou Centre, but have grown into a much more long-term relationship with the country. It has developed into a project of discovery, which he likens to the activities of the nineteenth century photographers of the American West, and the travel photographers of Victorian England. Set in the heart of Europe, Poland has, for centuries, been a bridge between the East and West. Since the drawing of the Iron Curtain in 1989, it has developed into a modern, vibrant and progressive country, yet the ghosts of the communist era are still very visible, not least in the monolithic architecture which sits awkwardly with the new; and Poland's poor who have been slowly disenfranchised by the nouveaux riches.

Alec Soth's Niagara series is a body of work less about the natural wonder of Niagara Falls, than human desire. He says: "I went to Niagara for the same reason as the honeymooners and suicide jumpers... the relentless thunder of the Falls just calls for big passion." Oscar Wilde wrote: "The sight of the stupendous waterfall must be one of the earliest, if not the keenest, disappointments in American married life." And Soth sees the passion and the disappointment.

Photographer Biographies

soth.jpg © Alec Soth

Antoine D'Agata

Born in Marseille in 1961, Antoine D'Agata left France in the early eighties, studying photography at the International Centre for Photography in New York in 1990 alongside of Larry Clark and Nan Goldin. Now based in Paris, D'Agata will have a solo exhibition at The Photographers Gallery, London in November 2007.

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Jonas Bendiksen

Norwegian, born 1977. At the age of 19, Jonas Bendiksen began interning at Magnum's London office, before leaving office life and travelling through Russia to pursue his own work as a photojournalist. Bendiksen photographed stories from the fringes of the former Soviet Empire, often focusing on isolated communities and enclaves.

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Trent Parke

Born in 1971, Trent Parke was brought up in Newcastle, NSW. Using his mother's Pentax Spotmatic and the family laundry as a darkroom, he began taking pictures when he was 12 years old. Today, Parke, the only Australian photographer to be represented by Magnum, has one of the most vivid visual signatures in Australian photojournalism. Parke was recipient of the ABN Amro Emerging Artist of the Year Award in 2006. Parke joined Magnum Photos in 2002 and became a Member in 2007.

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Mark Power

British, born 1959. Mark Power began his career in photography as a freelancer for several British magazines, newspapers and charities, until he began teaching in 1992. Significant projects include The Shipping Forecast, The Treasury Project, Superstructure, both as books and widely toured exhibitions. His most recent work, 26 Different Endings, will soon be published by Photoworks. He is Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton.

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Alec Soth

American, born 1969. Alec Soth became a nominee of Magnum Photos in 2004 and Magnum Associate in 2006. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he has received fellowships from the McKnight and Jerome Foundations and was the recipient of the 2003 Santa Fe Prize for Photography. His photographs are represented in major public and private collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Walker Art Center.

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