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LIVE from the NYPL: MAGNUM @ 60


June 16, 2007


In celebration of the 60th anniversary of Magnum Photos, Live from the NYPL and Magnum Festival '07 bring together a night of conversation with Philip Jones Griffiths, Keith Beauchamp, Susan Meiselas, Gilles Peress, and Larry Towell. Fred Ritchin will moderate.

With the advent of technologies that promote the proliferation of media content, the sheer number of images available has thrown the nature of photojournalism, and even the power of photography itself, into a new light. In addition, the boundaries of what constitutes ?truth? and ?veracity? are constantly being blurred. In light of the increasing diffusion of the media, along with the rise of media conglomerates, it is pertinent to question the responsibility of today's media as well as to discern with whom that responsibility lies.


  • Now that Internet blogs such as YouTube have emerged as a leading form of news transmission and a large population of the world owns digital cameras, how does this democracy change the role of the journalist?



  • What role does the ?citizen journalist? play?


  • Does this undermine traditional journalism or empower it?



  • Does traditional journalism have a place in the future?



  • Will digital journalism ever be accepted as a major documentary/art form?


  • What happens to the idea of responsibility in the world of easy, quick and cheap photo-making?



  • Do photographers still have a responsibility to their subjects? To their audience? And how are they held accountable?



  • How will the Magnum ethos be affected by this brave new world of image making?



In 1947, four young photographers - Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, David Seymour, George Rodger founded Magnum Photos two years after witnessing the atrocities committed against humanity during World War II. In forming a co-operative, these men were bound by a common goal of telling the world's stories with uncompromising responsibility to authorship. They sought to break free of editorial constraints and challenged the prevailing idea that a magazine or newspaper could own their images. Thus, the Magnum ethos, which still guides the agency and its photographers, sought editorial freedom and ownership of copyrights.

This event is co-presented by Magnum Festival '07

About Keith Beauchamp

Keith Beauchamp has devoted the past eleven years pursuing justice for Emmett Till. On May 10th, 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice re-opened the nearly half-century old murder case citing Beauchamp's documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till as both a major factor in their decision and the starting point for their investigation. Beauchamp has been featured on 60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight Person of the Week, Court TV, MSNBC, CNN, BBC as well as the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Tribune. Beauchamp is producing a feature film with Frederick Zollo (Mississippi Burning) based on his eleven year journey in connection with the Emmett Till case.


About Philip Jones Griffiths

Philip Jones Griffiths became a member of Magnum in 1971. Born in Wales, Griffiths began photographing for the Manchester Guardian and the London-based Observer. He covered the Algerian War, Central Africa and Asia, photographing in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968. His book, Vietnam Inc., is one of the most detailed surveys of any conflict with commentaries which are both matter-of-fact and darkly ironic. In 1980, Griffiths assumed the presidency of Magnum, a post which he held for five years. Griffiths' photographs have appeared in most of the world's major magazines and his assignments have taken him to over 120 countries. He continues to work for Life and G?o on stories such as Buddhism in Cambodia, droughts in India, poverty in Texas, the re-greening of Vietnam, and the legacy of the first Gulf war in Kuwait.

About Susan Meiselas

Susan Meiselas became a member of Magnum in 1980. She is best known for her coverage of the insurrection in Nicaragua and for her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America, which were published widely throughout the world. Meiselas has had solo exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York and her work is included in major American and international collections. She has received awards including the Robert Capa Gold Medal for outstanding courage and reporting for her work in Nicaragua; the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University for her coverage of Latin America; and, in 2005, the Cornell Capa Infinity Award. In 1992, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.

About Gilles Peress

Gilles Peress was born on December 29, 1946, in France. He studied at the Institut d?Etudes Politiques and at the Universite de Vincennes. Gilles Peress started using photography to create museum installations and books in 1971. His books include Haines (2004); A Village Destroyed (2002); The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar (1998); The Silence: Rwanda (1995); Farewell to Bosnia (1994); and Telex Iran (1984, 1997 reprint). His work has been exhibited and is collected by: The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the International Center of Photography, PS1, all in New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the George Eastman House; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; the Walker Art Center; the V & A; the Mus?e d?Art Moderne, Parc de la Villette and Centre Georges Pompidou; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Sprengel Museum, Hannover, and the Nederlands Foto Instituut, among others. Among the awards and fellowships he has received are: Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts (1992,1984,1979), Pollack-Krasner (2002), and New York State Council of the Arts (2002) fellowships, the W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography, the Gahan Fellowship at Harvard University, the International Center of Photography Infinity Award (2002, 1996, 1994), the Erich Solomon Prize, and the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award (2000, 1999, 1998). Portfolios of his work have appeared on numerous occasions in The New York Times Magazine, The London Sunday Times Magazine, Du Magazine, Life, Stern, Geo, Paris Match, Parkett, Aperture, Doubletake, The New Yorker and The Paris Review. Peress joined Magnum Photos in 1972 and served three times as Vice President and two times as President of the cooperative. He and his wife, Alison Cornyn, live in Brooklyn with their three children.

About Fred Ritchin

Fred Ritchin wrote the history of Magnum Photos for its fortieth anniversary, published in In Our Time: The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers. Ritchin is Associate Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at New York University, and director of PixelPress, an organization utilizing new media and documentary in collaboration with human rights organizations. Previously he was picture editor of The New York Times Magazine and executive editor of Camera Arts magazine. Ritchin was also founding director of the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography. His new book, After Photography, reflecting on the emergence of media in a digital environment, will be published in Spring 2008.

About Larry Towell

Larry Towell became a member of Magnum in 1993. A fascination with landlessness led him to the Mennonite migrant workers of Mexico, an eleven-year project completed in 2000. He has pursued similar, lengthy long-term reportage work in El Salvador, and Palestine. Towell's awards are numerous, and with the help of the inaugural Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, he finished a second highly acclaimed book on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in 2005, No Man's Land. Other books include The Mennonites, El Salvador, and In the Wake of Katrina. He has been published in major international magazines including The New York Times, Life, Stern, Geo, Elle, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Libération, and The Sunday Times.