Magnum Square Print Sale

Magnum Square Print Sale

I was planning to write a story this morning on the Rise and Fall of National Geographic Magazine. Yet let me think about that one. I’ll write it later. Requires some thinking.

So the story I am writing instead is a bit different. And easy. The Amazing Continued Survival of Magnum Photos.

Magnum has outlived all of heretofore photo platform clients. All the big picture magazines where Magnum photographers cut their teeth, have now gone by the wayside. Yet Magnum photographers thrive and survive doing things their way.  70th Anniversary upcoming.

Sure, stories of Magnum‘s demise too have been out there in photoland since the beginning. Every year I hear rumours that Magnum is over…Yet…..

It’s a new day and Magnum is still here. Deservedly so. After all in a helter skelter world of visual noise in photography, Magnum alone stands tall. Even the other respected cooperatives like VII and Noor pay homage to Magnum. Our roots are their roots. Sure everybody grumbles especially the Magnum photographers, yet only Magnum stands for authorship, authorship and authorship.

The new Square Print Sale now going on at Magnum ( is a new business model that works for everyone. Spend a hundred bucks and get an archival signed print by Davidson or Parr or D’Ágata and you’ve made a good investment. This is our 4th flash sale to great success. Why? Well this is a very very good deal and literally gives art value for those who may not be able to afford our full sized collector prints. Power to the people.

Some who may have bought at each sale now have 3 signed prints for $300. Unbelievable actually. Sure it works for Magnum too, yet this is just one of those symbiotic ventures where everyone comes out ahead.

The Magnum photographers themselves and staff are buying these prints.

Does selling inexpensive prints undervalue Magnum? I don’t think so.The power collectors will still invest in our larger prints. This is simply a different market. Yet will I think have even the more heavily pocketed collectors taking a look at the collector box. None of these prints will do anything but go up in price. Most likely people won’t re-sell their prints, yet everyone likes knowing their art purchases grow in value.

By the way,if you are a young photographer, aspire to Magnum. This will take some doing on your part. Do your homework and you will see there is nothing else quite like it. If you have something to say as a photographer, Magnum is the place to say it.



Get your print here:

20 Responses to “Magnum Square Print Sale”

  • I bought a Paul Fusco RFK print from the first go-around. Highly recommend it. Small, yes, but precious, and affordable. Go Magnum!

  • Magnum has been a home to some of the finest photographers of the last 70 years or so. Some absolutely stunning imagery has been made(continues as well) and resides in the archives. large format books, well printed are put out fairly regularly and usually represent good value for the buyer, both in the price and the richness of images they contain. Those wanting larger work, for collections or personal enjoyment, can also purchase realistically sized and editioned prints. But to somehow claim that a snappy snap postcard sized print is somehow a collector piece or worth a hundred bucks as an investment is going a bit far…its a new marketing angle. If they were ten or fifteen bucks a piece, still way way way above production costs, people could buy them just for the enjoyment of the suberb imagery they contain…which is why you should buy pictures anyways.But If you like these images just for themselves and are not fooled by the ‘art’ label you would be better off screen grabbing a tiff and printing it yourself for pennies rather than paying a gallery price for a postcard.

  • Lest it be misunderstood, i own several of the very fine magnum books including the very large and paid full freight for them happily.

  • Fine opportunity all around! When it comes to collecting things, size is certainly overrated…in fact a smaller, well framed image will always draw me in closer as I investigate it’s mysteries & nuances!

    & certainly it does seem that Magnum has weathered many storms in this knowingly difficult industry, perhaps because they sell both stories (editorial) and art…perhaps.

    On another note. Not sure where “dialogues” live these days…Big shout out to the Burn community – especially DAH & Co. for their continued efforts to keep us connected! Since arriving in San Miguel de Allende last month i have had the pleasure of connecting with Micheal James Wright & Andrew Sullivan on numerous occasions — both of whom i first connected with here on Burn and previously Roadtrips…which seems almost like it was just yesterday right?!

    Here in Mexico for just a few more short days…if anyone else is in the neighborhood, beers on me!

    Best, Jeremy

  • Mexico! Jeremy, wish I could go too. It’s been almost 25 years since I was last there. I agree with the big shout out to Burn and their big efforts and do miss the old dialogues, too. As I have stated before, I think it is Social Media fatigue that is kicking the guts out of Burn dialogue and so much else.

    I will be Arizona for one week in December. I wish it could be longer, so I could spend some time roaming around the country, maybe even find you, but with just one week I think we will pretty much stay put with family.

    Even though it is not an easy or a unified batch of pictures, I truly enjoyed not only looking at these but reading the thoughts of the photographers on what motivated them and why they had taken these particular shots. And in David’s, one can sure see in his work just how his journey is evolving. The human mind hits 70, keeps evolving, remolding the old in itself into something new. Pretty encouraging. I guess that’s one of the big reasons I keep coming back here – that, and to see what folks like you are up to.

    Now I got a task to finish before I go to bed tonight and I am squandering time – just like happens on social media.

  • “Even though it is not an essay…”


    Thanks for acknowledging the work from Magnum photographers for 70 years and for realizing our books and collector prints do indeed have a lasting value. Seems odd though that somehow you must think that we did not think this Square Sale over very carefully and are somehow trying to “fool” people into thinking they are buying art.

    First off, you are surely wise enough to know that production costs have nothing to do with anything. What is the value of the canvas and paint for the Mona Lisa? 10 bucks max? Production costs are, as you must well know, are not a factor for any art and don’t just include the cost of making the print anyway. You make prints, so you know.

    Suggesting a screen grab is about the silliest comment you have ever made. Is Elliott Erwitt gonna sign a screen grab? Saying we are selling at gallery prices a postcard is equally silly or grossly uninformed…

    Do you really believe any of us would sign something that we did not think was of value? Throw away 70 years of legacy for a fast buck? C’mon we have lasted 70 years for a reason. And one of those reasons is that we are not that stupid!!

    These are archival signed prints John. Smaller than the prints that cost between 5-25k yet only the size and the time limitation to buy are different.

    Don’t people who cannot afford a 5k print have a right to art?

    The great masters sold their paintings in the streets my friend and not to “collectors” anyway. The great unwashed masses bought their art. The same people who came in off the street to listen to Mozart or to see Romeo and Juliet at a price they could afford. If Magnum stands for anything, it stands for putting their work into hands of everyman. Hence most of it is in magazines and newspapers. Books are expensive to produce, so the price is high there, and a market for the expensive galleries does exist and so we fill that as well.

    Only because of the advent of the social media was a low priced print sale even possible…this is our fourth sale and we would not be doing it if it wasn’t working and we sure as hell would not do it if our buyers were not pleased and asking for more….

    creating a new market for young collectors will only enhance their overall photo education and lead them to be astute collectors for the future…anything that is one of a kind or limited in a world of mass production is i think a good thing for everyone….

    the buyers of our boxes of small prints seem to know something you do not know….and i promise you anyone buying one of these prints for a hundred bucks signed is getting a very good deal and the value will only go up…and of course those who do not think so, as you, i am sure still support a free market system where people can decide….hey we are farmers bringing our tomatoes to market….or like speakers on speakers corner….it is always take it or leave it…..

    fondly, david

  • DAVID. Glad you took the time to respond. No surprises that I disagree with almost all of it.

    BTW Which masters sold their work in the streets?

  • the advent of the social media was a low priced print sale even possible…. probably not out of choice more out of survival

    Prints are for traders in finance eventually there is very little monetary value in what is depicted and its social /cultural value.

    But I guess it will keep Magnum afloat for a bit longer and its important to some especially those in the “western bloc” of nations
    talking about the old my new book is called “a book that was too lazy to see the internet coming.”

  • the title is a verb not a noun


    ha ha i am not surprised you disagree John…it’s your role….unfortunately i see you only as a grumbler…a cynic…and with no cards to cred….i wish to hell we could just see some work from you…then we might have something to talk about….very happy to publish you as i always have been…..but your words ring hollow without something on the table….the philosopher at the end of the bar, is in the end just at the end of the bar…..

    cheers, david


    i don’t think the internet has destroyed anything…sure it’s eliminated some heretofore gatekeepers…which in fact makes everything a bit more democratic….levels the playing field…on Instagram for example everyone is equal…Burn itself exists mostly on Facebook and Instagram…..for sure it’s not an end game….books and exhibitions still the final home for the best work….yet nobody is going anywhere without an audience….this has always been true…yet now audience building is just different than before….and there has never been a time of technological change when many felt either left behind or that everything was turning to shit….yet the basics never change….those with something to say will indeed be heard…..

    it’s funny, people have always said that “Magnum might hang on a bit longer”…after 70 years i don’t think Magnum needs to hang on a bit longer…if it does fine…if it doesn’t, 70 years is a long time for any “movement”….

    cheers, david

  • Some cards being edited for an upcoming print magazine article. shot early August.

    iphone footage of computer screen.Chris Wilson and Agata Cardoso, Camden , London.

  • Of course the internet has not spent its time destroying just made it a hell of a lot better, I love that mob that can live off their phone, pay bills entertain, learn create socialize work create collections of stuff etc All they need is a bed……………. free from that cumbersome stuff invented by Gutenberg. Sure one still has to agree verify, acknowledge etc but just press the button and get on with life

    To me it’s all great, post some stuff on the net when I feel like

    Make books for others and stay anonymous, create my own books that few see, I can happily create camera>> software or ipad >software…… the real estate on a smartphone is a bit small for me.

    As for the work of the old masters they are slowly being locked up in vaults awaiting the next invoice for change of hands but someone has made an animated gif and posted it for all to see

  • As I told a good old friend of mine this morning:
    Elvis never left the building.
    In fact , the “building” left Elvis.
    Good job Imants

  • For you panos still looking for elvis he is demoted to a small e

  • John Gladdy…
    Interesting vids, both of them. Obviously I find the first one fresh and more interesting because it’s new to my eyes. Perhaps it’s time for you to move on from the second one and cover new ground. Get into that uncomfortable zone where in theory new work is usually created…
    But I’m not the right person to give anyone some advice.

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