To get to the true story behind an image, there are few better paths than the photographer’s contact sheet, and good luck finding a more iconic and revealing collection than that of legendary photographic cooperative Magnum Photos. From June 27 through July 13, Milk Gallery will host a Magnum exhibition featuring contact sheets – and the photographic processes they reveal – from dozens of the world’s most talented photographers including Elliott Erwitt, Rene Burri, David Hurn and Martin Parr.
A single perfect image becomes a deeper story within a contact sheet – a sequence that tells as much about the events playing out in front of the camera as the innumerable decisions the photographer makes behind it. On June 30 from 6-8pm, guests can gather even more insight into the process with a special Artist Talk with Magnum photographer Alec Soth, whose work has been featured in the 2004 Whitney and Sao Paulo Biennials among numerous other solo and group exhibitions.
Late last year, Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker shared at his Milk Gallery Artist Talk the story behind one of his most well-known photos of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. This was 1966 when Hoepker was a young photographer on assignment while Ali trained for an upcoming fight. “I was sitting there in the darkness of the training grounds,” Hoepker said, then Ali walked over and started to throw mock punches.” So I had three seconds to take the picture. It was dark, the lighting was bad, but luckily I had a wide-angle lens attached to my Leica and I shot three pictures. If you look at the contact sheet, you can see there are exactly three pictures of this scene and only one is sharp.”
The Magnum Contact Sheet Exhibition runs June 27 through July 13 in Milk Gallery. The Alec Soth Artist Talk will be held June 30 from 5:30-7pm. In the meantime, you might want to check out the first (and possibly only) sale of signed Magnum prints that go on sale starting June 17.
Select Contact Sheets are available for purchase in the Milk Gallery Store.