The legendary Magnum Photos represents some of the best photographers in the world. Yes, the “quality” of photography is very much subjective, but also: objectively, this lot are the best.
Until Friday of this week, the 8th of June, the photo agency is doing another one of their square print sales, where they ask their photographers to choose an image from their archives which exemplifies a specific theme – this time around, it’s “freedom” – and then sell museum-quality prints of those photos for $100 (£75) a pop.
Below are some of the photos on sale this year, with quotes from the photographers explaining why they think of them as representing the theme of freedom.
“From 1961 to 1965, I bore witness to various demonstrations in the civil rights movement. In this photograph, a group of civil rights demonstrators march from Selma to Montgomery to fight for the right to vote. Freedom was then, as it remains today, something that had to be fought for.” – Bruce Davidson
“A cyclone was approaching the coast off Chennai in India. We were in the midst of an intensive photo workshop, and most of the participants were dodging the howling rain and gusty wind. But those who let go of everything to be part of the cyclone had a sandy but sweet taste of Mother Nature-spiced with danger. Be part of the flow and/or the current, but know who you are. That is, to me, the meaning of freedom.” – Chien-Chi Chang
“With the collapse of the Soviet Union came a window of opportunity to explore Russia. I had a request in for about a year to photograph ‘Law and Order’ in Russia, working for The Sunday Times Magazine. Suddenly, I got a fax that I had been given a visa and fixer from the RIA Novosti agency and was to be in Moscow in a couple of days. My fixer, Alexi, was tremendous; he got me into all sorts of prisons, and took me out on raids with the drug squads. It ended up being the best-selling story distributed by Magnum that year. During the trip, I met these guys who were doing time in an austere punishment cell. What better way to appreciate freedom than when it is taken away?” – Chris Steele-Perkins
“The cold winter leaves the Thrace region of Turkey and welcomes spring with its shining sun and warm winds. People connect again to nature by celebrating it every year during the first week of May in Kirklareli. When I shot this photo, I was running in the wheat field and enjoying the nice weather, remembering my childhood memories with these kids. For them, as for me, it was a moment of pure freedom.” – Emin Özmen
“On weekends in summer, the families of Ciudad Juárez come to relax on the edges of the Rio Bravo at the boundary of the border between Mexico and the United States. To me, this image represents the freedom that modest people can afford. Spending a moment with family to perhaps forget the difficulties of everyday life. Behind them, a grid designates the limits of Mexico, as well as their freedom.” – Jérôme Sessini
“‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,’ John 8:32. These famous words from the Bible were ringing in my head throughout the three years I spent searching for men who claim to be Jesus Christ’s second coming. For INRI Cristo and his 12 disciples, who live in a gated compound outside of Brasília, INRI is the long-awaited Messiah. His disciples claim this knowledge releases them from the dogmas and misunderstandings that plague the rest of humanity. To them, to believe in INRI is the greatest act of emancipation.” – Jonas Bendiksen
“Freedom comes in many shapes and sizes, but a classic interpretation is high speed travel, say skiing, or riding a bike downhill. Perhaps one of the most recognisable of this genre is the ride in an open top car. This image was taken for the BBC series, ‘From A to B’. Directed by Nicholas Barker, it explored people’s relationships to their cars.” – Martin Parr
“Detective Lindiwe Mutoma, 28, when photographed, is a different kind of detective. Working in a male-dominated profession, her successes are often the result of the freedom that comes from being invisible, unexpected, underestimated. When asked if it helps to be female in her line of work, Lindiwe answered yes: ‘Before antagonising a man you have to try seducing him. Men like confiding in women, but they also underestimate women. This helps as a detective.’ She often does little things to pick fights with people, especially men. ‘Most men could learn from feeling put out once in a while,’ she teases.
“A favourite tactic is removing her shoes and stretching her legs onto the other seats of buses. ‘I want to stretch my legs,’ she tells one man who reacts as expected, twiddling her toes through the limited open air of the bus, ‘Is that a crime?’ So, would she consider setting up her own agency, with the other women detectives? ‘Sure,’ she says, looking out of the bus window as we return into Lusaka. ‘I’d love to. But that’s not possible in real life. Money, there is no money.'” – Mikhael Subotzky (text based on an article by Benjamin Joffe-Walt, published in the Telegraph Magazine, 2005)
“New York. Greenwich Village. 1970. Do whatever you like!” – Richard Kalvar
“Dear Parents: I’m sure you’ve noticed my odd behaviour over the past months. I no longer go to parties. I appear and disappear. This is because I’ve become a revolutionary … Our country is full of misery and backwardness. All Nicaraguans have the sacred mission to fight for the freedom of our people.” – An excerpt from a letter written by Edgard Lang Sacasa to his parents.
Edgard’s father, Federico Lang, was a wealthy Nicaraguan businessman and supporter of President Somoza. Edgard was killed by the National Guard on the 16th of April, 1979 just before the FSLN overthrew the Somoza dictatorship, on the 19th of July, 1979.
“Watching from afar as events rapidly unfold in Nicaragua today, I can’t help but think of the dreams that propelled the Nicaraguan people nearly 40 years ago, and what they continue to demand and deserve as they struggle again for their future.” – Susan Meiselas, May 2018
“I followed Ali for days with my Leica on his route between his home and the gym. Whenever children saw him walking in the streets they surrounded him because he was their hero. And he always melted away in the company of kids: he would joke, make funny faces, show off his fists. Ali enjoyed it and the kids enjoyed it. It was incredible to see the transformation of this fierce boxer when he was among children.” – Thomas Hoepker
“Freedom”, Magnum’s Square Print Sale, runs from 1PM UK Time (8AM EST) on Monday the 4th of June until 11PM UK Time (6PM EST) on Friday the 8th of June, 2018. Signed and estate stamped, museum quality, 6×6″ prints from over 70 artists will exceptionally be available for $100, for five days only, from shop.magnumphotos.com.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.