Project

The Decisive Network: Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market

Program

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships , Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowships in the History of Art

Abstract

“The Decisive Network” is a history of the international picture agency Magnum Photos, founded in 1947. Based in extensive archival research, the project shows how American editors, publishers, and corporate leaders worked with peripatetic photographers to create an American visual culture that was deeply engaged with everyday life around the world, and which exploited the aesthetic and production mode of news photography. It is a story of the large amounts of images that Magnum produced on a daily basis, and of the massive logistical efforts in global photographic distribution and communication. This book situates Magnum’s output within the history of magazines, exhibitions, and the art market as well as the changing professions of journalism, sociology, and public relations. It shows that histories of photography and the press are key to modern and US art, and that the role of transatlantic networks is indispensable to critical studies of art and mass media.