Book Review: New Yorkers: As Seen by Magnum Photographers

Missing the buzz a bit

The 185 photos in the book must have been selected from thousands that Magnum photographers have taken of the city over the decades. The photographers cooperative started in 1947 (though there are two photos in the book taken before that: a 1937 one of a boxer by Robert Capa and a portrait from 1943 by Phillipe Halsman) and because members invited photographers to join it meant that Editors commissioning their work were assured of creative quality.

I assume the contents have been selected from photo assignments where a photographer would have taken several hundred shots which usually end up with perhaps a handful, of the best, being used. There are many stunning shots here but, I thought, perhaps too many average ones as well, especially from the forty-two in color. The sort of image that maybe didn't see the light of day because there were better ones from a particular assignment.

The flavor of the city is captured here by many Magnum members but somehow, having frequently looked through the book, I felt that the stylistic differences between the photographers doesn't come together to make a really memorable title. Maybe if the editorial had focused on mini portfolios by individual photographers rather than mixing them all together, in rather loose themes, it could have made a more interesting book.

New Yorkers: As Seen by Magnum Photographers is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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