Magnum Advertising Then and Now

The legendary photojournalism agency recently relaunched its commercial arm, but in fact it has been working in advertising for decades. Here's a brief retrospective.

by Mark Tungate , Adforum

Magnum Photos recently announced that it was relaunching its commercial department, including the launch of a dedicated website showcasing that side of its work.

Although Magnum was founded in 1947, it’s predominantly known for its stellar photojournalism. But many of its photographers have also undertaken commercial projects. (Above, a 2018 image by Cristina de Middel for Dior.) As the agency puts it: “Throughout the seven decades of Magnum’s journey, the co-operative’s photographers have shot historic adverts for the likes of Ford, Barney’s, NYC, IBM and Lavazza.”

With the help of Magnum itself, we decided to take a look back at some of its standout advertising work.

1940s: Philippe Halsman for Elizabeth Arden (with Connie Ford)

1989: Bruno Barbey for Hilton Hotels

1999 David Alan Harvey for Lavazza

2002: Karl de Keyzer for Diesel

2015: Harry Gruyaert for Hemès

2018: Cristina de Middel for Dior