Magnum is Selling Iconic Middle East-Shot Photos

A selection explores the meaning of boarders in the region

Bringing together a selection of over 100 images shot by international photographers, the internationally acclaimed photography agency, Magnum, is hosting a very rare print sale of some of their most iconic and important photos. The project, which is being held in collaboration with Aperture Foundation, explores creative approaches to the concepts of transition and transformation in photography.


Jordan. 1990. © Chris Steele-Perkins / Magnum Photos


With a selection of both documentary and other conceptual pieces, the project, which is aptly titled ‘Crossings’ offers a ground-breaking and fascinating examination of the different portrayals of the theme by artists from within Magnum’s roster as well as others who have been published by Aperture. The pieces set to go on sale explore both physical crossings — take roads, rivers, or borders as example— and more personal and metaphorical interpretations surrounding revolutions, growth, and self-realisation.


And when it comes to the Arab world, the notion of ‘crossings’ is anything but rare. With its varying and constanty shifting identities and high levels of migration, the concept of crossings has long determined how people live and define themselves in the region. For that reason, this one-of-a kind sale gathers an array of beautiful and poignant images shot in Egypt, Jordan Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen— celebrating the infinite literal and figurative understandings of how transition and transformation shape selfhood in the Arab world.


Nikos Economopoulos / Magnum Photos A Somali refugee in a Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) camp. Yemen. 1992. © Nikos Economopoulos / Magnum Photos


Among them is a stirring shot taken by Magnum photographer Bruno Barbey in Essaouira, Morocco, which made the cover of National Geographic centenary issue in July 1988 — showing white fingerprints on an ochre wall, representing the marks Muslim Arabs left in the conquered lands from the Middle East to North Africa.


Bruno Barbey/ Magnum Photos


Another powerful shot puts on display the realities of being a Somali refugee in a Yemeni camp, while another, shot by Steele-Perkins in the Jordanian desert shows Iraqi refugees holding each other in a sandstorm.


You’ll also find a touching image, which sees a man bypassing a blocked road in post-revolution Cairo to sell bread, while an image taken in Tunisia, which also looks at the idea of borders within the context of the Arab spring, captures Egyptian and Tunisian workers forced to leave Libya, where they had initially immigrated for work.


Border of Tunisia and Libya. Ras Ajdir, Tunisia. February 26, 2011. © Jérôme Sessini / Magnum Photos


Cairo, Egypt. January 2013. © Moises Saman / Magnum Photos


‘Crossings, Magnum’s Square Print Sale in Partnership with Aperture runs from 29 October until 2 November 2018. Signed and estate stamped, museum quality, 6×6” prints from over 100 artists will exceptionally be available for $100, for 5 days only.


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