A new photography exhibit opened recently at the Harry Ransom Center on the University of Texas campus, here in Austin. The show is titled, “Radical Transformation: Magnum Photos into the Digital Age”. It chronicles the history of the legendary Magnum photo agency from the start to the present day. There are beautiful black and white prints from noted photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa as well as other lesser known but talented members of Magnum. I was glad to see photographs from Elliott Erwitt and Eli Reed, both of whom I’ve had the honor of meeting in person.
Anyone in Texas interested in classic photography, especially the street and documentary variety should go see the exhibit. While they also show recent works, for me, it’s the old black and whites that really resonate. I spent a quiet contemplative Sunday afternoon studying the masters.
You snake, generally chronologically, through the exhibit and end up at the present day. They display the newest digital media including iPad Apps and a Tumblr blog called “Postcards From America” which you can see here. Call me uneducated (photographically). Call me old school. But these new images don’t do it for me, especially compared to the old black and whites. My reaction, Meh. What do you think?
I originally had an entirely different plan for Sunday, by the way. I was going to the Texas Photo Festival until the much-needed, but violent rainstorm changed my plans. A foot of rain overnight caused some flooding and even cancelled the last day of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. With steady showers forecasted all day for Smithville, I decided to stick closer to home.
I enjoyed the previous exhibit, Arnold Newman Masterclass, more. I really liked the deep dive the Ransom Center did on one man’s career. However, Radical Transformation is interesting in its own right. I spent about 2 hours there and I’ll probably go back again. I have some time, the exhibit runs until January 5, 2014.
Perhaps I will see you there.
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