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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
ISBN: 9780500027028


Look at the U.S.A.: A Diary of... 

Mongolia, one of the top 10 unexploited deposits worldwide, 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.


Nuclear Energy in Mongolia 

"I'm growing up without my dad for the third spring," says the slogan on a banner held by a boy who came to the protest in the center of Kyiv. Ukrainian resistance against the Russian invasion is strong, although the situation on the frontlines is getting more difficult. The Ukrainian army lacks people, equipment, and ammunition, and although the support of NATO countries continues, the flow of military supplies is disrupted and held for months. On April 16, President Zelensky signed into law a measure lowering the country's army mobilisation age from 27 to 25. The sound of anti-aircraft sirens has become a daily occurrence for the residents of Kyiv, which remains relatively safe and well-protected by air defense systems. The city is largely functional and has adapted to the prolonged war. With its privilege of being a relatively safe place, the capital has become a place where grassroots efforts and solidarity manifest on many levels, from cyclical protests supporting the Ukrainian army or questioning controversial political decisions to volunteer initiatives training civilians in weapons handling basics and combat tactics in urban areas.


Third Spring, Ukraine 2024 

Of all Chris Killip’s bodies of work, the photographs he made between 1982 and 1984 in the village of Skinningrove on the north-east coast of England are perhaps his most intimate and encompassing—of the community he photographed and of himself. “Like a lot of tight-knit fishing communities, it could be hostile to strangers, especially one with a camera,” Killip recalled, “Skinningrove fishermen believed that the sea in front of them was their private territory, theirs alone.”

Although four images from the series were included in his groundbreaking In Flagrante (1988), Killip resisted collecting all in a single book for over three decades—he had become so invested in them and respectful of his subjects that he needed time and distance to understand their significance. For a photographer whose work was grounded in the urgent value of documenting “ordinary” peoples’ lives, these nuanced images—radiating a vast stillness of light and time, embedded with the granularity of lives lived—reveal Killip’s conviction that no life is ordinary: everyday lives are sublime. First published in 2018 as a newspaper which he personally and anonymously put into every letterbox in the village, this new Steidl edition includes an introduction by the photographer and as-yet-unpublished photos; it was completed shortly before Killip died in October 2020.

Stanley/Barker, 2024. 
104 pages, 50 images.
Hardback / Clothbound.
30 x 20 cm.
ISBN 978-3-95829-903-0.



On Wednesday, April 17th, 2024, a small group of students pitched tents at Columbia University, demonstrating for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza and pressing their university to end relationships with companies believed to support both the war and the Israeli government.

The demonstrations at the New York City college have echoed across college campuses all over the United States. Reaching students three thousand miles away in California, tent encampments emerged at both the University of Stanford and Berkeley. 

Magnum photographers Sabiha Çimen, Alessandra Sanguinetti, and Jim Goldberg were at the universities to witness the solidarity with Palestine and the ongoing protests to end the war.


US Campus Protests 

As students demonstrate against Israel's campaign in Gaza and for the divestment of funds across dozens of US universities, we look at a highlight of protest related images from the Magnum Archive.


Protests from the Archives 

Najin and Fatu, a mother-daughter duo and the sole remaining northern white rhinos on the planet, roam freely across the vast expanse of Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, safeguarded by round-the-clock armed protection across its 700-acre landscape.

Developing a deep connection with the magnificent creatures, Magnum Photographer Paolo Pellegrin had the privilege of observing them intimately: studying the intricate patterns of their skin, the graceful rhythm of their motions, and the deep connection they share. Through his captivating series of images, we confront the looming absence of these creatures, whose fate now rests on the advancements in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) technology.


Najin and Fatu: The Last Two Northern... 

The first publication of Ernest Cole’s photographs depicting Black lives in the United States during the turbulent and eventful late 1960s and early 1970s. After the publication of his landmark 1967 book House of Bondage on the horrors of apartheid, Ernest Cole moved to New York and received a grant from the Ford Foundation to document Black communities in cities and rural areas of the United States. He released very few images from this body of work while he was alive. Thought to be lost entirely, the negatives of Cole’s American pictures resurfaced in Sweden in 2017. Ernest Cole photographed extensively in New York City, documenting the lively community of Harlem, including a thrilling series of color photographs, as he turned his talent to street photography across Manhattan. In 1968 Cole traveled to Chicago, Cleveland, Memphis, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, as well as rural areas of the South, capturing the mood of different Black communities in the months leading up to and just after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The pictures both reflect a newfound hope and freedom that Cole felt in America, and an incisive eye for inequality as he became increasingly disillusioned by the systemic racism he witnessed. This treasure trove of rediscovered work provides an important window into American society and redefines Cole’s oeuvre, presenting a fuller picture of the life and work of a man who fled South Africa and exposed life under apartheid to the world.

Aperture, 2023
Number of pages: 304
Number of images: 275
Publication date: 2024-01-16
Measurements: 8.4 x 11.5 inches
ISBN: 9781597115346


Ernest Cole: The True America 


Alex Webb 

Since 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky, former comedian and actor, has served as the sixth and current president of Ukraine. His administration faced escalating tensions with Russia in 2021, culminating in the February 2022 invasion and the current war with Russia.


April 21th, 2024 : 5 years since... 

Several sources have reported that the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza is being increasingly hampered. Israel denies blocking aid, but humanitarian organizations are reporting obstacles in the supply process, leading to widespread food shortages in Gaza and the collapse of the medical system. 

The United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA, reports that a quarter of Gaza's population is "one step away from starvation". It was against this backdrop that photographer Moises Saman boarded a Jordanian Air Force C-130 aircraft on a mission to drop humanitarian supplies more than 10,000 meters above Gaza.


Airdrop Over Gaza Strip 

Seven World Central Kitchen workers were killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza on Monday, March 31st. The attack has pushed WCK to pause aid operations as famine looms over Gaza, and pressure mounts on Israel over the rising Palestinian civilian death toll. In 2022, Magnum Photographer Chien-Chi Chang captured the activities of World Central Kitchen in Ukraine, marking the organization's first encounter with war.

"In 2022, I had the honor of capturing the remarkable humanitarian initiatives of the World Central Kitchen (WCK) and its visionary founder, José Andrés. WCK exemplifies unwavering commitment, unparalleled effectiveness, and exceptional courage in its humanitarian endeavors. Setting itself apart from conventional organizations, WCK sidesteps bureaucratic hurdles to deliver food directly to those in need across Ukraine, even in the most challenging frontline areas. With resolute determination, its skilled drivers and staff, equipped with armored vests and night-vision goggles, fearlessly navigate through perilous conditions to ensure vital aid reaches its destination. Through this firsthand experience, my admiration for World Central Kitchen's profound impact and unwavering dedication has only deepened." - Chien-Chi Chang

For the previous 12 years that World Central Kitchen has been providing meals in the wake of natural and humanitarian disasters, they have never been to war. Despite this, World Central Kitchen has committed itself to helping Ukrainians facing a food crisis created by the war with Russia, while also supporting local cooks and organizers to provide and prepare free and hot meals.

While on assignment for the Wall Street Journal in 2022, photographer Chien-Chi Chang visited Ukraine, documenting the efforts of World Central Kitchen and its founder José Andrés in the country amidst the ongoing war.


World Central Kitchen 

Since the invasion of Ukraine, freedom of the press has been under threat in Russia. Moscow has blocked most Independent Media Channels, as well as the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. On the ground in Russia photographer Nanna Heitmann's documents the faces of those fighting for freedom of press in Russia.


Russian media under threat 

On Friday 22 March 2024, the attack at Crocus City Hall in the suburbs of Moscow, quickly claimed by the Islamic State, killed more than 137 people.
The next morning, Russians showed their solidarity, with hundreds of people gathering in front of the Crocus City Hall, as well as at blood donation centres, to help and pay tribute to the victims.


Crocus City Hall Attack 

On Sunday, March 31st 2024, municipal elections were held in Turkey. Dozens of towns, including the country's five largest cities (Istanbul, Ankara, Ismir, Bursa and Antalya), changed hands in favour of Erdogan's opposition party, the CHP (Republican Peoples Party). The CHP won 51% of the vote against 39% for the AKP (Justice and Development Party), which has been in power in the country since 2002.

Emin Ozmen was in Turkey to captured the atmosphere after the announcement.


Turkey's Local Elections, 2024 

On 17 March 2024, Russian President Vladimir Putin was re-elected until 2030. His presidential election was widely criticised for its lack of genuine competition and its organisation, which was guided by propaganda that supported the powers that be. Despite some attempts at protest, including symbolic queues outside voting stations, Putin's landslide victory was declared by the Kremlin, claiming he had won 87% of the vote. Meanwhile, Ukraine expressed its disapproval by launching drone attacks on Moscow and other targets.


Russian Election 2024 

Moises Saman, on assignment for Die Zeit magazine, journeyed to meet the indigenous Nuba peoples of Sudan, who have been notably photographed through the lens of Leni Riefenstahl in the 1970s. Riefenstahl, a German director and photographer known for producing Nazi propaganda, was largely influenced by Magnum photographer George Rodger's iconic imagery of Nuba wrestlers in the early 1950s. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the photographs portray the Nuba people with Western stereotypes of exoticism, depicting them through a lens tinted with a romanticized vision of the "other."

Today, the existence of the Nuba unfolds amidst mountain slopes and elevated plateaus, accessible solely by foot. Over 50 distinct languages echo through this terrain, often with no linguistic overlap. The Nuba attribute the diversity of their ethnic groups to the migration of Africans seeking refuge from Arab colonizers and slave traders from all directions. Despite enduring certain economic hardships, the Nuba people dwell in a state of relative peace, security, and enduring democratic governance at the local level—a stark contrast to Sudan's broader circumstances.


The Nuba Mountains of Sudan 

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.


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.


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.


Russo-Ukrainian Conflict