Martin Luther King returns to Baltimore after he has received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, young Parisians burst into the streets fighting for civil rights, hippies dance at the Venice beach in California’s All these ostensibly unrelated images can be found in Foam, the photography museum of Amsterdam where the Magnum Contact Sheets Exhibition is hosted.
In a visual journey, some of the most memorable press photographs of the last 80 years are presented accompanied with the circumstances in which the images were created.
The exhibition is comprised of many original contact sheets and vintage prints and explanation notes from the photographers, in order to understand the circumstances under which the moment was captured and the context in which the chosen image ultimately was used. “Not only the moments before and after taking that one iconic photo are on show, but also the photographer’s notes, marking that decisive moment on the sheet, often long after the photo was shot”, reads the official website of the exhibition.
Starting from the 30s and moving forward to the present, the Magnum, the international photographic cooperative offers a unique opportunity to the audience to take a glance to 60 contact sheets and associated single images by renowned photographers; Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David ‘Chim’ Seymour, Werner Bischof, George Rodger, Elliott Erwitt, Martin Parr, Jim Goldberg, Trent Parke, Paolo Pellegrin and Alec Soth.
The presentation in Foam offers insight into the socio-political context of the photos and the general history of photojournalism as well as the origin of the photos. Subjects range from reportages of World War II, Prague Spring, personalities such as Che Guevara, Malcolm X and Margareth Thatcher to the Balkan Wars and conflict in the Middle East.
Following the exhibition, divided in 8 chronological periods, is like following an overview of the world’s most important moments of the last 80 years while transcribing the evolution of photography through the lenses of some of the most legendary images of the century.
The Magnum Contact Sheets exhibition, already one month in Foam museum, attracts hundreds of visitors daily and will remain available for press photo lovers until December 9, 2015.
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