The Online Photographer

Check out our new site at!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Magnum in Motion: No Whisper No Sigh

The Magnum Photo Agency, founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, has long been one of the world's pre-eminent news photo and photo essay organizations. The names of their photographers, past and present, reads like a who's who in the history of documentary photography.

Until recently Magnum's name was familiar only to photographers and editors. But during the past year or so Magnum has become less reclusive, reaching out with more public expositions of their vast image and talent wealth. One of the best such expositions is their "Magnum In Motion" site which features an ongoing collection of Flash-style photo essays created by Magnum photographers. Most of them are narrated by the photographer that created the pictures, usually in coverage of some world event or circumstance.

All of the essays are well worth viewing. Even if you're not terribly interested in some of the subject matter I guarantee that the pictures will leave lasting impressions. But I want to point your attention towards one presentation that's a bit different than most of the others. Titled "No Whisper No Sigh," it's a collection of 100 Magnum images built around the conceptual theme of silence in all its forms, causes, and interpretations.

During the past week or so we've discussed the subject of communication of meaning in photography. This presentation fits particularly well with such discussions.

Warnings: First, be sure you have some time on your hands before you dive in to Magnum In Motion. I doubt that you'll be able to watch just one of these presentations. Second, note that "No Whisper No Sigh" does feature a few nude images.

Posted by: KEN TANAKA


Blogger beezerboy said...

Ken Thank you for guiding us to this dark, but wonderful slideshow.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Wow! Would like to see the originals..... My lcd monitor cannot do justice. WOW!

10:54 PM  
Blogger mbb said...

From the same series, I can also recommend Alec Soth's Niagara. Beautiful, but also kind of depressing and disturbing. His Sleeping by the Mississippi is also worth a look.

11:03 PM  
Blogger ivor said...

A side note: I am not sure what was the purpose of the quasi-moralistic warning at the end of the article

"...note that "No Whisper No Sigh" does feature a few nude images."

Are we becoming more and more infantile or most of the readers of this blog are underaged and thus a nanny have to guide us most of the time? Or are the sensibilities of some so fragile that they cannot bear the momentary glimpse at the artificial imagery of human skin?
Unsurprisingly I am inclined to think that if one can survive reading the daily news - full of filth, cynicism and barbaric cruelty - can bear for a moment or two the man made representations of our own flesh.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"I am not sure what was the purpose of the quasi-moralistic warning at the end of the article."

I warned people when I showed a picture of a badly burned young child. I think I'd also warn people if we showed a picture of, say, a cat being mistreated. I don't see any difference in this case. It's just information, for the use of those who might be sensitive.


P.S. It was Ken who wrote the post, but I edited (and thus approved) it.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Dave New said...

It's also a useful warning for those that may be viewing at work (at lunch, of course).

I, for one, appreciate the heads up. There is a time and place for everything, but nudity in the workplace is not one of them.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

"A side note: I am not sure what was the purpose of the quasi-moralistic warning at the end of the article"

There was nothing "quasi-moralistic" in my warning whatsoever. I offered the warning as a practical courtesy. Many people might be viewing the site from their office where their employer might be monitoring their Web browsing and/or other employees might be able to see the screen. Terminations for viewing "adult" material (the definition of which is very fluid) are common, as are civil suits for creating "hostile work environments" brought by fellow employees and contingency fee attorneys. Others might be viewing the site at home in the midst of small children and might not feel that it's appropriate material for them yet.

I cannot argue the propriety of either potential situation. I therefore felt it would be an innocuous courtesy to offer an advisory in my post.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Adam McAnaney said...

Am I the only one who thinks the pictures in the slide show flash by too quickly? I know they have 100 slides to get through, but I barely had time to realize what I was looking at, much less take 30 seconds to appreciate it...

6:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home