Magnum Stories. 61 Magnum photographers. Edited and with an introduction by Chris Boot. Phaidon, London, 2004. 512 pp. Thick quarto. Signed on half-title page by 7 Magnum photographers, among them Bruce Gilden, Constantin Manos, Chien-Chi Chang. Glazed paper over boards. Photo-illustrated dust jacket. 235 color ad 545 black-and-white illustrations.
A quick read of the table of contents of Magnum Stories is a bit overwhelming and exciting at the same time. 61 photographers are the subjects; from Abbas to Erwitt to Koudelka to Towell, the names on this list are synonymous with exemplary photographic storytelling. Most of the figures are well-known, but one of the more exciting aspects of the book is the chance to learn about some of the more unfamiliar photographers. The book follows a set format: a single photo story of their choice is accompanied by newly commissioned texts and a portrait of each photographer. The result is a survey of some of the most sophisticated imagery and stories of the 20th century. Burt Glinn's reminiscences about both Fidel Castro and the 1956 war in Israel, Leonard Freed's in-depth story on New York City's corruption-riddled police force in the early 1970s, David Alan Harvey's fantastic color work from Brazil, and Cartier-Bresson's iconic photos of Gandhi all merge together in these pages to form a magnificent compendium of documentary photography at its best.