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Postcards from America: Trips I, II & III
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November 20, 2012
by Magnum Photographers
“As the traditional support systems for producing photo documentary projects - such as canvassing editorial commissions - are in decline, a different method of working is now emerging. This often combines internet platforms, print sales and even self financing publications. Rather than being daunted by these shifts, within Magnum a loose group of photographers have started working together to explore the many platforms currently available.”
Martin Parr, “Taking back the Agenda”
The Story so Far:
Initiated by Alec Soth, Jim Goldberg and Susan Meiselas in 2011, Postcards from America evolved from the desire amongst a group of Magnum’s photographers to refocus creatively, by producing an independent project based on shared experience.
“We knew each other through Magnum, obviously, but we’d never actually tried to work together,” says Soth. “We wanted to see what that would be like, to see if we could create a kind of polyphonic sound”. Alec Soth
Postcards 1 harnessed the enthusiasm of the online photographic community to fund and feed into a DIY road trip for five photographers (Soth, Goldberg, Meiselas, Paolo Pellegrin and Mikhael Subotsky) and the writer Ginger Baker, from Austin Texas to Oakland. Postcards 2 took a trip East with Jim Goldberg and Alessandra Sanguinetti’s in the group’s RV van. Postcards 3, “The House of Pictures”, pitched camp in Rochester, New York.
A location steeped in photographic history, Rochester is both home of Kodak, an ailing giant of traditional, photographic production and George Eastman House, venue for the “New Topographics”, William Jenkins’s exhibition of 1975 which redefined landscape photography. Over two weeks, ten Magnum photographers worked in concert with the Visual Studies Workshop, George Eastman House and Rochester Institution of Technology to create a documentary archive of Rochester’s culture and landscape.
"It felt almost like being in a band…. The 'house' was our recording studio, Rochester city was our subject; yet we individually had to find ourselves, our own voices, in respect of the city. That was probably the hardest part, but it felt magic trying to work that out together". Donovan Wylie