It was the dream of war photographer Robert Capa: a photo agency working as a collective. Criss-crossing Europe during the Second World War he found kindred spirits in the photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David 'Chim' Seymour. In May, 1947, in New York, together with Bill Vandivert the four established their own agency: Magnum Photos Inc. Each selected a part of the world as their field, and they went to work.
Magnum and its photographers have defined journalistic and documentary photography in the second half of the 20th century. Postwar reconstruction, colonial wars of liberation, famines and natural disasters, farmers and labourers, politicians and artists - everywhere in the world they were recorded by the gradually expanding collective.
By now the membership list of Magnum includes more than 70 names, whose work extends far beyond just photo essays.
In a special anniversary exhibition Noorderlicht honours the agency which has been a force like no other in shaping our image of our times, from the 'founding fathers' to their equally ambitious successors.