Magnum Photos celebrates its 70th in London with shows, a swap shop, talks and even a t-shirt range

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Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David “Chim” Seymour founded Magnum Photos on 06 February 1947; 70 years and 92 photographers later, the agency is celebrating its anniversary. It’s running events all over the world but, with Photo London coming to town, it’s currently concentrating its efforts on the British capital with four exhibitions, a live residency, a swap shop, a book launch, a series of talks and discussions, and even a t-shirt collection.
Magnum Photos: 70 at 70 is the biggest and most public – a free exhibition in a pedestrian tunnel in King’s Cross, it picks out some of the most iconic images from the agency’s archive. The Magnum Home, by contrast, is a tightly curated show put together by Ekow Eshun, featuring images of youth culture and including interventions by Yinka Ilori which are inspired by Nigerian textiles. The Magnum Home will also feature products from Magnum’s new collaboration with Plinth, which sees images by Magnum photographers reproduced on silk scarves, tote bags and resin badges.

Ernesto Guevara (Che), Argentinian politician, Minister of industry (1961-1965) during an exclusive interview in his office. Image © Rene Burri/Magnum Photos, on show in the exhibition Magnum Photos: 70 at 70
Havana, Cuba, 2015 © Michael Christopher Brown/Magnum Photos. From the in-progress youth and electronica series: “Paradiso.” On show in the exhibition The Magnum Home
Magnum’s pop sensibility also shows in a capsule at the fashionable Dover Street Market, in which images of protest and resistance by photographers such as Stuart Franklin, Thomas Dworzak, Leonard Freed and Guy le Querrec are printed on t-shirts. Magnum Photos: 7 Decades of Advertising proves that the agency has always had a commercial eye, though, taking over the downstairs space at Mother London to show images created for commercial clients by Martin Parr, Steven McCurry and many more.
David Hurn’s Swaps, which is at Somerset House’s Embankment Gallery and is open to those with a Photo London ticket, shows off the photographer’s own photo collection, created by swapping his work for prints by other image-makers. It includes photographs by fellow Magnum photographers Christopher Anderson and Sergio Larrain, and is curated by Martin Parr. Inspired by the show Magnum has also organised a Swap Shop at theprintspace, in which members of the public will be able to swap their images with Magnum photographers. The Swap Shop is open for submissions from 17 May.
Hillary Clinton at the Liberty Awards, held at the Nation Constitution Centre. Philadelphia, USA, 2013 © Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos. On show in the exhibition David Hurn’s Swaps
A ‘hen party’ on a Saturday night in the streets on Brighton, UK, 2016. Image © Olivia Arthur/Magnum Photos; Arthur is one of the participants in the Live Lab project
The Live Lab is another hands-on, public-facing show, in which Magnum photographers Mark Power, Olivia Arthur and Carl de Keyzer will make and edit new images at Magnum’s Print Room from 10 May-28 July. Tickets can be bought to see them at work, and they will also track their progress via social media. Images from the project go on show at King’s Cross Western Transit Shed from 24 June-30 July, and the photographers involved will discuss the project on 20 May at the Museum of London.
Magnum launches its big new book, Magnum Manifesto published by Thames & Hudson, to coincide with Photo London; Magnum photographers Diana Markosian, Bruce Davidson, David Hurn, Martin Parr and Carolyn Drake will all be in-conversation at Photo London, with Newsha Tavakolian also doing an in-conversation at the National Portrait Gallery and Photoworks presenting Susan Meiselas’ Desert Island Pics too.
For more information, visit
Strike captain during protest by the packing house workers, March 1948, Chicago, Illinois. USA. Image © Wayne Miller/Magnum Photos, featured in the book Magnum Manifesto, published by Thames & Hudson 2017
A young American girl, Jan Rose Kasmir, confronts the American National Guard outside the Pentagon during the 1967 anti-Vietnam march. This march helped to turn public opinion against the US war in Vietnam. Image © Marc Riboud/Magnum Photos, featured in the book Magnum Manifesto, published by Thames & Hudson 2017
Ernesto Guevara (Che), Argentinian politician, Minister of Industry (1961-1965) during an exclusive interview in his office. Image © Rene Burri/Magnum Photos, featured in Magnum Manifesto, published by Thames & Hudson 2017
Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy