Magnum Photos: Postcards from America

Over the past 18 months, a loose group of Magnum photographers has periodically gathered in locations across America to experiment with the notion of working collaboratively. Photography is often seen as a solitary pursuit, but the aim of the Postcards from America project is for the photographers to try to play like a band, in search of a kind of polyphonic visual sound.

After trips through the Southwest, to Utah, and in Rochester, New York, the photographers have now set up a temporary Magnum “bureau” in Miami to document Florida in the six weeks surrounding the American presidential election. Waves of photographers will pass through the state, crossing paths and building on each other’s work.

While the press often insists that the people of Florida will “decide” America’s future during the election, that’s actually not true:  A huge percentage of the population of Florida cannot or will not participate in the choice, from children, to non-citizens, to felons who have been removed from the voter rolls.  The photographers are equally interested in looking at Florida during the election season from these people’s perspective.

Like all prior Postcards projects, Magnum Miami is an experiment:  The photographers will work “live,” posting work to the project tumblr (with periodic updates here on the Leica blog), and the work will eventually play out in a variety of ways:  In exhibitions, in authored publications, and in magazines.  But the photographers will make the decisions as to what they produce and how they produce it, which is all part of Magnum’s once and future mission:  To take back the agenda.

Work from the first weeks of the project, including pictures by Alessandra Sanguinetti, Alec Soth, Zoe Strauss, and Mikhael Subotzky, can be seen on tumblr. The limited edition book from the first Postcards trip can be viewed here. Next, we’ll be posting an interview with Mikhael Subotzky and some great behind the scenes footage, to be followed by dispatches from photographers like Jim Goldberg and Paolo Pellegrin.

- Leica Internet Team