No less august an institution than Magnum Photos is having a print sale, one that takes a distinctly familiar format...small, inexpensive prints, available only during a five-day ordering window, after which the prints will be made, signed, and fulfilled. "A sale limited by time, rather than number."
Sound familiar? I think Magnum was inspired by TOP. Okay with me, if so.
The prints are called "Square Prints" because they're 6" square (presumably that's the paper size; the image size would be smaller). I sure hope they're signed on the front, rather than the back.
I ordered one.
Whether you order one or not, this is a perfect opportunity to practice the Rorimer Rule: "pick three." James Rorimer, former Director of the Metropolitan Museum, kept his taste and sense of discrimination sharp by quickly picking three things he liked whenever he was presented with a new group of artworks in whatever way. So, even if you're not buying, pretend you are—which three do you like best?
Here's the sale page. It closes tomorrow.
Original contents copyright 2015 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Abbazz: "I have ordered three from historic members of Magnum: Robert Capa, David Seymour and Bruno Barbey (funnily, the iconic picture from the May 1968 student riots in Paris is captioned 'fraternally passing cobblestones, brick by brick, building themselves up'). I have four photos from the previous sale, and the quality is really good even though, obviously, the image is a bit small (postcard sized). The pictures are signed on the front, except for the square negatives or vertically oriented photographs, which are signed on the back because the bottom margin is not wide enough on the front to accommodate the artist's signature. Cheers!"
Tim: "I was very tempted to order a few (I did end up ordering one for a gift). However your teaser about the Turnley and the NOS books has me saving my cash. Hopefully, I can afford the Turnley (if not maybe I can snag a few books)."
I.M.: "Beautiful images! Thank you for the heads up! My three picks: McCurry, Gruyaert and Freed."
Richard Newman: "I found that your 'pick three' wasn't easy. It took three visits to the site to make my choices. First, I looked at them in terms of, did I want the image on my home wall? Most of them failed that test for one (or both) of two reasons. They weren't good 'stand alone' images. As with many documentary photos, much of their meaning and impact requires the descriptive text. Also, many wouldn't work (for me) as 6x6 images. Even the three I chose would work better at a larger size. Given these caveats, my choices were images by 1. Matt Black; 2. Raghu Rai; and 3. Paul Fusco. Interestingly (and unintentionally), two of the three were in B&W, for which I have a liking. It might be interesting to tabulate the selections by TOP responders as to which were selected. Fun."
adamct: "What I find most interesting is how quickly a select number of pictures easily stood out for me. I didn't have to agonize to get my favorites down to a small number. Unfortunately, I can't get it down to three without more time to reflect, but the four that stood out (in order) are: 1. The Signaling Crewman by Robert Capa; 2. Lovers' Lane / New Jersey Docks by Thomas Hoepker; 3. Intimacy by David Hurn; 4. Oficialia del Registro Civil by Alex Webb. By the way, what is interesting about the Hurn photograph is that it wouldn't work (for me at least) without the dark wall and the window behind the bed. The contrast of dark and light, and the stillness of the framed window relative to the bed, is what sets this picture apart from countless other photographs of similar scenes."
robert e: "Too hard. I found it easier to find the three I liked least than to choose the three I liked best. Perhaps if I continued in that vein I could narrow it down to my three favorites, but that would take a long while as I'd surely succumb to the power of these images to provoke contemplation and meditation, and lose my focus. More importantly, the exercise forced me to think about the differences, and similarities, between a good photographic image and a desirable photographic print; or at least how my criteria for them differ."