One of the best known photographic cooperatives in the world is, without a doubt, Magnum Photos. It was founded in Paris after the WWII by a group of established photographers, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa with the aim to support the photographic profession and particularly photojournalism.
Throughout the years, a number of astonishing figures have joined Magnum, and David Hurn was one of them.
The Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol is about to open the exhibition Magnum Swaps - David Hurn’s Collection, which focuses on Hurn’s collecting activity during his Magnum years.
A prominent photographic figure, David Hurn was self-taught; his career started in the mid-1950s and he gained quite a reputation for the images he created of the Hungarian revolution in 1956. Later on, he also worked on movie sets of Ken Russell, James Bond series, and other features.
During the 1970s, Hurn kind of distanced himself from documentary photography and focused more on the personal perspective. The photographer once commented of his own work by saying:
There are many forms of photography. I consider myself simply a recorder of that which I find of interest around me. I personally have no desire to create or stage direct ideas.
As time passed by, David Hurn became a passionate connoisseur and patron of documentary photography. He started exchanging his own photographs for those of his Magnum peers, so each new member of the cooperative would receive an email invitation from Hurn for a print swap.
The photographer has collected over six hundred prints, featuring works from the 19th century up to the present day. The entire collection was gifted to the National Museum of Wales in 2017, and the premiere of the exhibition marked the opening of the museum’s first permanent gallery dedicated to photography.
This particular exhibition curated by Martin Parr, also a celebrated British photographer, was initially shown at last year's Photo London. The installment includes the works of Newsha Tavakolian, Elliott Erwitt, Alec Soth, Thomas Hoepker and others.
The Martin Parr Foundation was opened to the public in 2017 and its agenda is to support and promote photography from the British Isles. At this venue the opening of the exhibition Magnum Swaps - David Hurn’s Collection is scheduled for the 13 June, with a special launch party with Martin Parr and David Hurn on 18 June. The show will be open for public until 15 September 2018.
Thomas Hoepkert - Andy Warhol in his “Factory” at Union Square, New York City, USA, 1981 © Andy Warhol / Magnum Photos. All images courtesy Martin Parr Foundation.