Saturday, March 3, 2012

Magnum 50 years at the front line of history (iii)

(Previous chapters here and here. Project started July 14, 2011)

Chapter 3. The Founding.

"In the spring of 1947 Capa at last got round to doing something about setting up the photographers' co-operative he had talked about for so long: he organised a lunch. In a way it was an entirely appropriate launch pad for an organisation founded by a notable bon vivant, but it also set a standard for the organisation's casual attitude towards its own history. It is known that the lunch was held in the elegant restaurant on the second floor of the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd street in New York, but no one thought to make a note of the date. It was almost certainly in March or April, but the actual date is anyone's guess".

"Similarly, no one had the presence of mind to record precisely who came up with the name Magnum or why, although it seems safe to speculate that the discussions were accompanied by at least a magnum of something or other, probably not sarsparilla".

"That the nominal host of the lunch was Robert Capa is certain, but whether or not he lifted the tab is less sure, since he was often out of funds. If he had a good day at the racetrack or at the poker table the previous evening, he would willingly have called for the bill, but if Lady Luck had temporarily deserted him he would have no difficulty, with his famous charm, in persuading another of those present that the honour of paying for the occasion was theirs".

You can buy this book at amazon.

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