Magnum Football

Images of football the world over
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Thomas Hoepker, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1962)

1 / 12 Thomas Hoepker, Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1962)

Ian Berry, Hyde Park, London, England (1974)

2 / 12 Ian Berry, Hyde Park, London, England (1974)

James Nachtwey, Oil platform off the coast of Brazil (1998)

3 / 12 James Nachtwey, Oil platform off the coast of Brazil (1998)

Bruno Barbey, Gabon (1984)

4 / 12 Bruno Barbey, Gabon (1984)

Abbas, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (1990)

5 / 12 Abbas, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (1990)

Abbas, Tehran, Iran (1998)

6 / 12 Abbas, Tehran, Iran (1998)

Abbas, near Guapi, Colombia (1976)

7 / 12 Abbas, near Guapi, Colombia (1976)

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Madrid, Spain (1933)

8 / 12 Henri Cartier-Bresson, Madrid, Spain (1933)

Herbert List, Naples, Italy (1959)

9 / 12 Herbert List, Naples, Italy (1959)

Paul Lowe, Qunu, South Africa (1994)

10 / 12 Paul Lowe, Qunu, South Africa (1994)

Thomas Hoepker, Trás-os-Montes, Portugal (1992)

11 / 12 Thomas Hoepker, Trás-os-Montes, Portugal (1992)

Steve McCurry, Sittwe, Burma (1996)

12 / 12 Steve McCurry, Sittwe, Burma (1996)


These images of football throughout the world, which are included in the book Magnum Football, demonstrate a universal and essential Magnum theme. The men who founded the agency in the penthouse restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York – the Hungarian Robert Capa, the Pole ‘Chim’ Seymoure and the Frenchman Cartier-Bresson – were revulsed by the carnage and hatred and sought a better world based on international brotherhood. 

‘People are people the world over’ was the title of the first joint Magnum project, a year-long essay for Ladies’ Home Journal in 1947. Football is one of the great universal experiences. It is played all round the world. For the duration of the game, race and creed and status vanish. Because the people in these images are playing the same game, the differences in their surroundings, though apparent, are rendered irrelevant. These photographs tell a paradoxical truth that was at the heart of Magnum’s foundation: people are people the world over.


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