Magnum Magnum - a book so good they named it twice!

Mumbai, India, 2017
Mumbai, India, 2017 (Image credit: © Olivia Artur/Magnum)

Thames & Hudson has teamed up with Magnum Photos once more to release an expanded edition of the best-selling photography book Magnum Magnum

Magnum is the world's most famous photography cooperative, founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Breeson, George Rodger, and David 'Chim' Seymour. Many of the world's greatest photographers have at some point been part of Magnum, meaning that they have captured some incredible moments throughout recent human history. 

People gather in a stadium during a large rally before the independence referendum. Erbil, Iraq, 2017 (Image credit: © Emin Özmen/Magnum)

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA, 1997 (Image credit: © Constantine Manos/Magnum)

The original Magnum Magnum (published in 2007) was a roaring success, showcasing photographs taken from Magnum's conception through to the book's release. The book is segmented into the many world-famous photographers who were/ are a part of the cooperative, displaying a selection of images from each. These photographers include some of the medium's biggest names, such as Henri Cartier-Breeson, Eve Arnold, Alex Webb, and Alec Soth, to name but a few.

The new updated edition follows the same layout, adding the work of 25 photographers who have joined Magnum in the last 15 years. With over 150 new photographs over 700 pages, Thames & Hudson has every right to call this book 'the definition of an updated classic!'.

Retired woman, China, 1979 (Image credit: © Eve Arnold/Magnum)

Magnum Photos was built upon the cooperative spirit, creating a collaborative environment where photographers shared ideas, and each of the four founding members picture-edited the other's photographs. The new book follows this same core value, with each photographer selecting and critiquing six key works by another. 87 photographers works are represented in Magnum Magnum, with a short commentary of why the specific works were selected, by the photographer who selected them. This will give a fascinating insight into the mind of a photographer and picture editor, showing what they look for in an image, and what makes one photo stand out amongst others.

Duke Ellington rehearsing on stage at the Savoy, Chicago, USA, 1948

Duke Ellington rehearsing on stage at the Savoy, Chicago, USA, 1948 (Image credit: © Wayne Miller/Magnum)

Gouyave, Grenada, 1979 (Image credit: © Alex Webb/Magnum)

Magnum Magnum was edited by Brigette Lardinois, a reader in Understanding Public Photography at the London College of Communication, at the University of the Arts London. Having worked on many group and solo shows and exhibitions with photographers such as Cartier-Bresson and Eve Arnold, Lardinois has developed a close relationship with Magnum over many years.

Magnum Magnum published by Thames & Hudson and edited by Brigette Lardinois, is available January 2024 in the US but is available now in the UK. The price on release is $175 | £125 . This is certainly one for the photography purists and lovers of photography history, it will certainly be on my Christmas list!

Photography books are a fantastic gift for photographers, so for more information on photography books, see our guides on 48 best books on photography for beginners and pros, the best books on fashion photography, and the best coffee table books on photography.

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.