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Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker has died at 88.

Gifted a camera by his grandfather as a boy, Thomas Hoepker had an interest in photography from the age of 14. Born in Munich in 1936, he studied art history and archeology at university and worked as a photographer for Münchner Illustrierte and Kristall between 1960 and 1963. His job at Kristall took him reporting from all over the world. One of Hoepker’s early, major photo stories for them was made on a road trip across the USA and inspired by Robert Frank’s The Americans. 

Hoepker joined Stern magazine as a photojournalist in 1964, the same year that Magnum began to distribute his archive. He worked as cameraman and producer of documentary films for German television in 1972, and from 1974 collaborated with his second wife, the journalist Eva Windmoeller, first in East Germany and then in New York, where they moved to work as correspondents for Stern in 1976. From 1978 to 1981 Hoepker was director of photography for the American edition of Geo.

Hoepker took one of the most memorable images of a singularly defining event in the history of the 21st century: a shot of young people relaxing on 9/11 as the World Trade Center burns behind them, which has come to symbolize much of the allegorical power of photography. Hoepker published it five years after the event — he had initially decided to hold back on sharing the image, wishing to respect the solemnity of the atmosphere immediately following the attacks, but it was the subject of much comment when he agreed to its use in a book about photographs of 9/11 in 2006. “Mr. Hoepker's photo is prescient as well as important — a snapshot of history soon to come,” wrote Frank Rich in The New York Times. 

In the late 1960s, Elliott Erwitt invited Hoepker to become part of Magnum as a member of the collective. Though Hoepker had been an admirer of Erwitt’s work, he declined, as he was engaged in work with Stern. It was to be around two decades later, in 1989 that Hoepker would finally leave Stern and take on the opportunity to join Magnum, where he was to become president in 2003. On the subject of running an agency with his fellow photographers, he said, “It’s not easy, because we have to deal with big egos of big photographers. But it’s worth it.”

Hoepker made a beloved series on a sports and pop-cultural titan, Muhammad Ali. Across two extraordinary visits to Ali in London and Chicago, Hoepker and his wife Eva Windmoeller followed the boxer as he prepared for a fight and trained on his home turf. Hoepker’s portrait of the fighter jumping atop a bridge on the Chicago River became iconic, but was the result of spontaneous improvisation between the two, rather than any premeditation. Hoepker reflected on Ali’s playful character: “Ali could be widely alert, sharp and observant, he loved to saunter down the streets, to banter with real people. He melted away when he saw children. They adored him, he hugged them, he did some shadow-boxing and then he took sudden naps in the backseat of his chauffeured Lincoln sedan.”

Throughout the time he was employed as a news photographer, he always saw himself as a journalist. It was only after becoming a member of Magnum that he began to recognize the role of the artist within that of the photographer. “A truly strong photojournalistic image is a reproduction of reality, nothing about it can be faked,” he said. “But today, there’s more room for interpretation of reality by the photographer: style, eye and aesthetic all matter. Even at Magnum, everyone has to make his own decision on how far he wants to go in presenting reality through his own eyes.”

Hoepker’s work published in books includes DDR Ansichten — Views of a Vanished Country (2011), a portrait of East Germany spanning over three decades, and Return of the Maya (1999), an investigation of the lives and beliefs of Maya communities in Guatemala. His reportage and features in color revealed to many the alluring landscapes and scenery of America, Japan, China and many other places around the world. He also photographed revered artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Hoepker received the prestigious Kulturpreis of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie in 1968. 

In 1976, Hoepker moved to New York. Later in his career, he shot and produced TV documentaries together with his second wife, Christine Kruchen. A retrospective exhibition, showing 230 images from 50 years of work, toured Germany and other parts of Europe in 2007.

In 2020, after Hoepker was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, he and Kruchen decided to take a road trip across the US — his home for the past four decades. This resulted in the documentary Dear Memories, exploring his life and work through his memories, released in cinemas in 2022. The same year, Hoepker published The Way It Was, juxtaposing the color photographs from his most recent road trip with the original black-and-white images of the past, taking us on a journey both through his changing sense of America and through time. 

During the pandemic, Hoepker and Kruchen began going back through his very first black-and-white film negative files and scanning what they found. One of their discoveries was a series of 10,000 negatives showing a photographic study of life in Italy in the late 1950s — shot with the Leica MP he purchased at 19 years old with the proceeds of his very first picture sales. The photobook Italia, featuring a selection of these early images, was published in 2023 by Buchkunst Berlin. 

“The Magnum family has lost one of its dearest members, Thomas Hoepker, today,” writes Magnum President Cristina de Middel. “A true visionary, Thomas's contributions extended beyond his remarkable, playful, poignant photographs. As President of Magnum Photos from 2003 to 2006, he led with unwavering dedication and a commitment to nurturing the next generation of photographers and securing the future of the agency as a relevant entity. His legacy within the Magnum community is one of inspiration, mentorship, and a relentless pursuit of excellence combined with kindness and generosity.

“Thomas Hoepker's work will continue to inspire and educate, reminding us of the power of photography to shape our understanding of the world. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, friends, and admirers around the globe. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”

Archive 

Thomas Hoepker: 1936 - 2024 

"Since 2015, when I started the project, I've met migrants at various stages of their journey, traveled with them on the train they call the Beast, interviewed hitmen (sicarios) and smugglers (coyotes). I also researched landscapes and iconography to present the setting of this adventure, Mexico, as the fascinating, immense and extreme country that it is."

Cristina De Middel presents the migratory route through Mexico as a heroic journey: without denying the violence and dangers faced by migrants, she constructs a sublime epic overturning stereotypes. Combining her staged images tinged with magical realism with archival photos and objects found in the desert, she questions the ambiguous relationship between photography and truth.
The interview with Jacques-André Istel, the astonishing mayor of Felicity, a place close to the border self-proclaimed by its founder as the center of the world, and the wonderful text by Mexican journalist Pedro Anza, "Finding the center", echo Cristina De Middel's images.

June 2024
ISBN : 978–2–38629–011–4
20 x 30 cm
Bounded
176 pages

Book 

Journey to the Center 

In June 1936, a powerful strike movement paralyzed France, a month after the electoral victory of the Popular Front. On June 7, 1936, the Matignon agreements were signed. Following these agreements, the workers obtained new employment contracts, a 40-hour week and 15 days of paid leave, which would allow around 500,000 people to go on vacation for the first time.

Title: POPULAR FRONT 
Publisher: Chêne
Paris, 1976
123 pp
Softcover
ISBN-10: 2851081039
ISBN-13: 978-2851081032

Book 

Front Populaire 

On July 4, 2024, the British Labour Party won a historic victory in the UK general election, securing a majority of seats in the British Parliament. The party's leader, Keir Starmer, is set to become Britain's next Prime Minister, the first center-left candidate to enter Downing Street since Tony Blair in 1997. 

Our photographer Stuart Franklin was in London for the day and captured images of Downing St. in the morning, a polling station at the University of London, and Labour supporters watching the results come in at a London pub.

Distro 

UK Election Day 

Elections to the European Parliament were held across the European Union from June 6 to 9 2024. While the final results are still pending, the European People's Party (EPP), the party of Ursula Ven Der Leyen, has retained the most seats. But the far right have made significant gains in many countries, in particular in Germany, Italy and France, where Emmanuel Macron called for the dissolution of the French National Assembly and general elections within three weeks of the announcement to determine a new leadership. 

Magnum's archives and recent work reflect on the rise of the far right and the crisis that is driving EU citizens to support right-wing extremism.

Distro 

The Far Right Gains in Europe 

Biography 

Micha Bar-Am 

Philippe Petit (born 13 August 1949) is a French highwire artist who gained fame for his unauthorized highwire walks between the towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1971 and of Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1973, as well as between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on the morning of 7 August 1974. 

Petit performed for 45 minutes between the Twin Towers, making eight passes along the wire. The act was considered to be not only an incredible performance of acrobatic skill and artistry, but perhaps even more so, an ingenious feat of modern-day engineering. Petit was arrested, charged with the crimes of Trespassing and Disorderly Persons, and forced to submit to psychiatric evaluations before being released.

Archive 

July 7th, 2024 : 50 years ago Philippe... 

(From February 3, 2024)

On February 20 and 21, 2024, Julian Assange will face a court hearing on what may be his final bid to appeal the United States' order to extradite him. 

Julian Assange faces 18 charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, largely in result of a leak by the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. In 2010, WikiLeaks, linked to a consortium of international media organizations, released thousands of documents exposing details of the conditions and deteriorating mental and physical health of Guantanamo Bay’s detainees; details of hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. Army, including shedding new light on the deaths of two Reuters journalists via the shocking Collateral Murder video; and much more.

Manning was released after President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017. Under Obama, the Department of Justice decided they could not prosecute Assange without threatening U.S. journalists and their First Amendment protections — given that the 2010 charges relate to the handling and publication of classified documents in conjunction with reporters and organizations including The New York Times and other major outlets. But under Donald Trump's presidency and later Joe Biden's, the department has reversed itself.
If convicted, Assange faces a combined total sentence of up to 175 years in U.S. prison.

“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” wrote the editors and publishers of The Washington Post, The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El Pais. “Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of the free press in a democracy.”

For 7 years, from 2012 to 2019, Assange lived "under protection" in the Ecuador Embassy in London thanks to the Asylum status, until when he's been confined in HM Prison Belmarsh in London, as the United States government's extradition effort is contested in the British courts. Today, Julian Assange is “dangerously close” to being extradited to the US after losing his latest legal appeal, his family and observers of his long-running legal challenge say.

Magnum Photographer, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, documented Assange's wife, Stella, and their children for several days between the UK and France, during the following weeks of Assange's lost appeal in June 2023. As a family they are fighting for Julien Assange's life and the family's future.

Sara Gonzalez Devant, Stella's birth name, first met Assange at a property where Assange initially lived when under house arrest. An expert in international law, she was hired as part of Assange’s legal team to help fight his case against extradition to Sweden. She officially changed her name to Stella Moris in 2012 to protect herself and her family while working with Assange. Before even meeting him she was convinced he was the victim of an elaborate sting. “I had read all the documents and it was clear that this was a political case and that he was innocent.” Since 2012, Stella has been traveling alone or with their kids around the world to find support for her husband's case. 

Continuously under pressure, tracked and living a parallel life, Stella and the children try to cope with a family privation. The current situation seems to be getting closer to Julian Assange extradition to the U.S. , which may likely lead to an incarceration there.

The threat to the work of international investigative journalism that has been in place for over 10 years via this case has to be addressed.

Distro 

The Assange Family 

Following the unprecedented victory of France's new far-right National Rally party in the June 9, 2024 European elections, Emmanuel Macron called for the dissolution of parliament and new legislative elections on June 30 and July 7. As a result, the extreme right has never been so close to controlling the French National Assembly. In response, the French left formed a unified party on June 10, the New Popular Front, with the goal of preventing the far-right from winning the legislative elections. 

The large immigrant populations of France's banlieues face an uncertain future, with far-right policies posing an additional risk, and in these neighborhoods the results of the European elections came as no surprise. 

Since 2023, William Keo has been documenting the young people of the French "banlieues" as they wonder about their future. They share their dreams and aspirations, their problems and insecurities, caught between gentrification and the low-income housing that is increasingly diluting the identity of the suburbs. 

"Juvenile" paints a portrait of a youth with multiple identities, from third-generation immigrant to gentrification, on the eve of the Olympic Games that were already going to change the neighborhood forever, added to the risk of tightening immigration policies associated with the rise of the far right in France.

Distro 

"Juvenile" 

"Facsimile of the 1968 original edition, a photo classic published for the first time in French, The Bikeriders takes us into the heart of the Chicago Outlaws Club. The journal-size title features original black-and-white photographs and transcribed interviews made from 1963 to 1967, when Danny Lyon was a member of the Outlaws gang.

Authentic, personal, and uncompromising, Lyon’s depiction of individuals on the outskirts of society." 
(Publisher presentation)

Éditions Xavier Barral
2014
Hardcover with jacket
16 x 23,5 cm
94 pages
ISBN : 978-2-36511-050-1

Book 

The Bikeriders (2014) 

"Russia's fighters are waging blooding battles in Ukraine's east to add to its captured territory. Moscow supports this war effort with soldiers from outside the regular army, including some from a training camp in Chechnya. Some join for the money, others to escape everyday drudgery, and some fight out of patriotism. But there are tearful goodbyes. Soldiers trained in Chechnya range from battle tested mercenaries to raw recruits without combat experience." Neil MacFarquhar, from the NYT. 

Nana Heitmann went to Chechnya in December 2023 to observe Russian troops training. She later traveled in January 2024 to Bakhmut, Ukraine, where the Akhmat Battalions, the Chechen-trained forces, were deployed to maintain Russian control of the area. She immersed herself in Russia's underground medical war system, imagining surgical and craft hospitals where surgeries take place in rooms in a maze of tunnels that once served as wine cellars. Part of her work is featured in the NYT.

Distro 

Inside the Chechen Units fighting... 

The Hamas attacks in Israel on Oct. 7th, 2023 and the ensuing Israeli invasion and bombardment of Gaza have refocused the world's attention on Israel's continuing inability to address the issue of Palestinian autonomy. 

On assignment for the NYT, Peter Van Agtmael traveled to Israel and the West Bank, including Hebron and Kiryat Arba, where the uneven justice system that has developed around Jewish settlements has allowed violence by extremist settlers against Palestinians to pervade these disputed places.

According to a senior Israeli defense official, since the event, some 7,000 settler reservists have been recalled by the IDF and ordered to protect the settlements, the NYT reported. Many of them have left the settlements in uniform, wearing masks, setting up roadblocks and harassing Palestinians.

The violence and impunity that these cases reveal existed long before October 7, but have worsened since.

Distro 

Ultranationalism in Israel 

The United Kingdom goes to the polls on July 4. While the Conservative Party, known in the UK as the Tory Party and led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has been in power for 14 years, opinion polls show an increased risk of losing to the Labour Party this year.

Of the various issues that the British people consider important for this year's election, the cost of living, health care, immigration and climate change are among the most prominent.

Magnum’s archives and current work examine the issues that have shaped the political landscape of the UK to the present day, as well as the campaigns led by the two major political parties.

Distro 

The 2024 UK General Election 

Eighty years ago the Western Allies launched the long anticipated invasion of mainland Europe. After some delay due to weather conditions, June 6th was chosen as "D-Day", the start date of the operation. The German defenders had anticipated an attack on Calais, the part of France closest to the Allied staging areas in England, though the actual target was Normandy.  The operation involved an inland attack by paratroopers and glider-borne infantry combined with a beach assault by British, Canadian and US troops.    

Having already documented the war in the Mediterranean, Robert Capa was assigned to photograph the invasion and arranged to go ashore with the first waves of US soldiers tasked with assaulting "Omaha Beach", the code name for the stretch of shoreline situated between Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes and Vierville-sur-Mer. The Omaha Beach attack was so brutal that it's been referred to as "Bloody Omaha" ever since. Capa recalled the experience of that morning in his book "Slightly Out of Focus":

"My beautiful France looked sordid and uninviting, and a German machine gun, spitting bullets around the barge, fully spoiled my return. The men from my barge waded in the water. Waist-deep, with rifles ready to shoot, with the invasion obstacles and the smoking beach in the background gangplank to take my first real picture of the invasion. The boatswain, who was in an understandable hurry to get the hell out of there, mistook my picture-taking attitude for explicable hesitation, and helped me make up my mind with a well-aimed kick in the rear. The water was cold, and the beach still more than a hundred yards away. The bullets tore holes in the water around me, and I made for the nearest steel obstacle. A soldier got there at the same time, and for a few minutes we shared its cover. He took the waterproofing off his rifle and began to shoot without much aiming at the smoke-hidden beach. The sound of his rifle gave him enough courage to move forward, and he left the obstacle to me. It was a foot larger now, and I felt safe enough to take pictures of the other guys hiding just like I was."

Capa shot three rolls of 35mm film before being lucky enough to safely hop aboard a landing craft that was about to speed back to the safety of the invasion fleet. As soon as he returned to England he hurried back to London, where he'd have the film processed. In one of the cruelest twists of fate in photographic history, a lab technician overheated the film during the drying process resulting in the loss of all but 10 frames out of a total of 106. Those surviving images have since become the iconic document of the bloody chaos that occurred on Omaha Beach. 

Capa immediately returned to France to document the remainder of the Normandy battles. He'd continue to photograph the Allied liberation of France and the invasion of the German homeland, jumping across the Rhine with US paratroopers in March, 1945. 

Ten years after surviving Bloody Omaha Beach, Capa was killed by a land-mine while photographing the Indochina War.

Archive 

D-Day, June 6th 1944 

South Africa will hold its national elections on the 29th of May and, for the first time since it came to power in 1994, the leadership of the ANC (African National Congress) is under threat. Mounting criticism of the party that led the fight against apartheid under the late Nelson Mandela has chipped away at its support, raising the possibility of a coalition government.

Magnum’s archive and current work explores the issues that have shaped the troubled country today.

Archive 

South African Elections 

One of the top 10 unexploited deposits worldwide, Mongolia sits at a threshold. Recently, the French state-owned nuclear firm, Orano, signed a $17 billion deal with the Mongolian government to extract and process the country's uranium. Orano claims this project has huge potential in Mongolia as the world attempts to shift to renewable energy. As the second-largest uranium reserve following Kazakhstan, Mongolia's entry into the uranium market can prove timely given the increased need for uranium in the years to come.

Catalyzed by the war in Ukraine and the European desire to distance itself from Russian gas exports, Mongolia offers the possibility to diversify this dependence. While United States President Joe Biden signed legislation to curb uranium and gas supplies from Russia, the change can take years to take effect.

Mongolia, a nation that remains plagued by widespread poverty, still largely relies on coal for heat and power, hosting some of the planet's worst air quality, with phenomena as the second leading cause of death in young children. The phenomenon of landscapes in Mongolia, where severe winters arrive after summer droughts, triggers widespread animal deaths and has been greatly exacerbated by global warming. While Orano believes this operation to be helpful in ways relating to public health, climate change, and financial success for the country, its inhabitants are fiercely protective of its ancestral lands. This leads to a need for balance in public safety and public acceptance. Past mistakes and competition bring upon challenges for the French-owned firm as it is closely scrutinized by the global market and watched with suspicion by the Mongolian people.

On assignment for TIME, Magnum Photographer Nanna Heitmann visited Mongolia's Gobi desert, which remains a place of uncertainty regarding the prospects of Orano and the promise of uranium mining to provide a better quality of life with respect for the country's inhabitants and their land. As the nation sits bordered between Russia and China, reliant on both for trade, imported gas, and petroleum, it must tread lightly in this new era of competition.

Distro 

Nuclear Energy in Mongolia 

A personal chronicle of post-9/11 America, at war and at home, through the lens of one of Magnum Photos' leading photographers, Peter Van Agtmael, is a compelling and revealing photographic critique.

Through reportage and memoir, in photographs and words, "Look at the U.S.A" documents the major fault lines that have defined this era, beginning with the war in Iraq and ending with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Fueled by ideology, insecurity, ambition, and a deep fascination with war, Van Agtmael began documenting America’s war in Iraq in 2005. So began a photographic odyssey that would span more than two decades generating work that grew from a deep need to understand and peel back the layers of his troubled society.

Confronting the mythologizing of war and seductive nature of conflict on the American psyche, "Look at the U.S.A." explores the disconnect between the intergenerational wars and the home front, juxtaposing American troops in combat with their grieving families at home and the recovery of the wounded. As the book’s narrative progresses, the gaze begins to widen, to the imprints of nationalism, the election of Donald Trump, militarism, and race and class on American society.

Layered with van Agtmael’s personal accounts, observations, and interviews with those he has encountered on his journey, "Look at the U.S.A." is a damning, sometimes ironic critique that will make it one of the seminal photo books on war.

Thames & Hudson
May 2024
352 pp | 190 illustrations
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780500027028

Book 

Look at the U.S.A.: A Diary of... 

In October of 2023, Hamas launched an unexpected assault on Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing over a thousand civilians and capturing hostages. 

In response, Israel has declared a state of war and emergency in the region, launching a counteroffensive involving intense airstrikes on Gaza, and most recently, a ground invasion. Calls for an immediate ceasefire have resounded globally, as the death toll in Gaza has surged beyond 10,000 according to BBC reports.

Magnum Photographers are on the ground providing visual updates from the region.

Distro 

Visual Updates from Israel and... 

On Saturday, October 7th, Israel was taken by surprise in an unexpected and severe cross-border assault by Hamas from Gaza, resulting in the initial deaths of 900 people. The BBC reported that  included in this number were 260 individuals attending a music festival. With many still missing or abducted by Hamas in Israel, families are left desperately seeking information as the conflict unfolds.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared war on Hamas, vowing to use “enormous force” by launching strikes in Gaza and imposing a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip, freezing the flow of essential supplies. According to the BBC, as of October 9th approximately 690 people in Gaza had lost their lives and more than 120,000 had been displaced from their homes.

The result of this has triggered the latest outbreak of fighting in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, drawing in outside powers and echoing across the broader Arab region.

Distro 

Israel and Palestine from the Archives... 

Ukrainian President Vicktor Yanukovych’s cabinet abandoned an agreement on closer trade ties in the EU, favoring closer cooperation with Russia. What began as small protests escalated to the Revolution of Dignity, also known as the Maidan Revolution, a violent protest with at least 88 deaths. Following the Euromaidan protests and removal of Yanukovych, partnered with pro-Russia unrest in Ukraine, Russian annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

Demonstrations in the Donbas area of Ukraine escalated into a war between the Ukrainian Government and Russian-backed separatist forces. Russian military vehicles crossed the border in several locations of Donetsk Oblast, which is believed to be responsible for the defeat of Ukrainian forces in early September of 2014. In November, Ukrainian military reported intensive movement of Russian combat troops into separatist-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine.

In October 2021, Russia reignited concerns of a potential invasion after moving troops and military equipment to the shared border with Ukraine. The buildup continued until Russia launched a full-scale invasion in February, 2022.

Distro 

Russo-Ukrainian Conflict