Magnum-Photo in Wetzlar


In spring of 2011 Leica and Magnum refreshed their long standing cooperation and have begun a technological and photographic collaboration, titled Past Present Future, that will build upon almost a century’s worth of shared history.

As implied in the project’s name Past Present Future the collaboration between the first and most prestigious photographic co-operative and the inventors of 35mm photography can look back at a long common history.

Founded by George Rodger, Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour and Henri Cartier-Bresson just two years after World War II ended, working together with with Leica was an obvious choice for Magnum.

Leica & Magnum: Past Present Future

One of the visits of Magnum’s world-renowned photographers at Leitz in Wetzlar took place on 22nd and 23rd of January, 1958. Several images and most notably the entries in the guestbook of Leica-Technik have remained preserved. Excerpts from the guestbook have been published for the first time in the book “Barnack's First Leica”.

Magnum entry in the guestbook of Leica-Technik

Magnum entry in the guestbook of Leica-Technik, January 1958


The translation of the entry, handwritten by Henri Cartier-Bresson and designed by MAGNUM-PHOTO:

With our uttermost appreciation for your very friendly hospitality. We would like to thank you for the interesting and productive conversations that are going to help us in the future to even further utilize the opportunities that the Leica makes possible.
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Brian Brake
Elliot Erwitt
Ernst Haas
Kryn Taconis

Magnum Photographers in Wetzlar

Magnum Photographers in Wetzlar, January 1958


One outcome of the collaboration of Leica and Magnum is the project Generation X from the 1950s. The Magnum photographers interviewed and photographed the new generation, Generation X, in various countries around the world.

Leica & Magnum Photos Present: Generation X – Werner Bischof in India and Japan

Of course, it is great to see how Leica has been able to leap into the present via the use of digital technologies with the M8 and M9, the S2 and also the X1 and X2. Still today, many of the best photographers use Leica cameras for their work as proven by the intensified collaboration with Magnum.

Further information about this collaboration can be found on the websites of Leica and Magnum.