Magnum in pictures:
A showcase of the best sports pictures from 70 years of visual storytelling from the photographic agency Magnum.
70 years of sports photography
In 1947, photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Vandivert, George Rodger and David “Chim” Seymour set up a photographic agency in New York. As a large bottle of champagne had been involved in the process, they named it Magnum.
Founded as a cooperative to be able to exert greater authority over clients when it came to quality and fees, Magnum and its creative members went on to set a benchmark in all areas of press photography.
Here, The Red Bulletin, which will soon start working in partnership with Magnum, showcases the best sports pictures from 70 years of visual storytelling.
Peter Marlow, 2001
Already a three-time world champion at the time of this photo, Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher relaxes in his motor home during testing at Ferrari’s Mugello circuit in Italy.
Known for his close observations and personal images, the respected British photographer Peter Marlow captures a quiet moment in the frenetic world of auto racing.
John Vink, 1999
Factory workers, traveling salesmen, farmers … the rugby team of the small French town of Villefranche-de-Lauragais was a team of amateurs. As such they would assemble for training after work and scrum down until late into the night — until they were at the point of collapse.
CLIFF DIVERS IN SANT’ELIA
Ferdinando Scianna, 1982
Sicilian Ferdinando Scianna is that rare dual talent: a brilliant writer and a gifted photographer. A master at capturing the moment, he can make staged shots look spontaneous.
Elliott Erwitt, 1977
Raised in Paris and Milan before emigrating to the US in 1939, Elliott Erwitt had already worked with stars such as Marilyn Monroe before photographing Hollywood hopeful Arnold Schwarzenegger. At this point, the Austrian was still more famous as a bodybuilder than as an actor.
Alex Webb, 1978
The American sees himself as something of a street photographer, living a life of conflict and confrontation as he follows his inner compass. Sometimes Webb also seeks out indoor confrontation, such as to document the world of Mexican wrestling seen here.
Philippe Halsman, 1963
Halsman produced 103 covers for the illustrious magazine LIFE, including portraits of Salvador Dalí and Albert Einstein, unique testimony to his creative talent. The only way to achieve so much was, as Halsman always did, to look deeper.
“Every face I see seems to hide […] the mystery of another human,” he said. When he photographed the greatest boxer of all time in New York, Ali was still called Cassius Clay, but he already wore his second face: that of undisputed champion.
Abbas, 1974 and Thomas Hoepker, 1966
Two views of the greatest boxer of all time. Above we see him in Kinshasa ahead of his epic fight against George Foreman—the Rumble in the Jungle—invulnerable and unmoved by the attention of the international press.
Below we see him in London at a film studio, being spooked by a bee— fearful, sensitive, frightened. Ali subsequently had the words “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” embroidered into the silk robe in which he entered the ring.
John Vink, 1986
Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, beating West Germany 3-2 in the final. John Vink thinks Argentinian No. 10, Diego Maradona, is the very image of success.
On the one hand, there was his incredible skill; on the other controversy, in the shape of the infamous “Hand of God” goal against England in the same tournament. The beauty and beastliness of Maradona’s game, and personality, led to glory and notoriety.
AT THE VELODROME D’HIVER
Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1957
The cofounder of Magnum and genius of black-and-white photography blazed a trail for decades. His MO was to creep up silently — a single word could have ruined everything — and then capture the decisive moment, as he did here during a break in the Six-Day Bicycle Race in Paris.
Peter Marlow, 1996
Their bouts may take place in the spotlight, but boxers train in the often lonely and down-at-heel atmosphere of the gym, a place with a pervasive smell of blood, sweat and broken dreams. Here we see “Prince” Naseem Hamed, then the WBO featherweight champion, in New York.
Tour de France
Harry Gruyaert, 1982
Famous for his pictures of Morocco and India, Belgian Harry Gruyaert nonetheless retained a soft spot for cycling and the Tour de France. And not just the stars — he was also fascinated by the lesser lights, like Austrian cyclist Harald Maier (above) receiving medical treatment on the move, or absurd moments, such as a sit-in on the 12th stage. “I was interested in all the elements,” Gruyaert said last year. “The details were as important as the humans.”
Christopher Anderson, 2015
Canadian-born Christopher Anderson is known for his war photography. So it was only right that he should be invited to work his magic at the oldest fencing school in Paris: La Salle D’Armes Coudurier.
The jousts are just as hard-fought as the battles he photographs elsewhere, but here, at least, there are set rules and the only casualty is pride.
Abbas, 1976 and Harry Gruyaert, 1998
Why does soccer captivate so many around the world? A picture has the power to explain why. Whether it’s mired in the mud of a waterlogged pitch in Guapi, Colombia, or on the red earth of the Canons’s training ground in Yaoundé, Cameroon, bent goalposts, a ball and the players’ desire are all you need to spark that passion for the beautiful game.