This image, “A bear sits alone in a pit in Kaliningrad zoo,” came across my radar a long time ago and has been stuck in my head since.  Its source when I found it was Magnum Photos, bringing me back to a site I hadn’t really visited in years.  When I was a young teenager, I loved Magnum.  I would spend hours on their site looking at what I thought were definitively the greatest photographers, and I dreamt of being one someday.  Browsing through Peter Marlow’s work was my first experience with the new Magnum site, which is pretty incredible.  Their search by photographer, category, continent, material, etc. makes the aspiring archivist in me light up.  Last fall, I read in an article about the new site, which displays 900-pixel-wide, watermark-less, saveable images:

It’s like the debate about illegal filesharing. There’s not point in trying to protect ourselves from the sea with sand castles. It’s not by trying to prevent people from downloading images that they will stop. They will find a way to download them and print them. Instead, what we can tell them is this: ‘If you want these images, come and get them, but from our own website. Then, have a look around and maybe you’ll find something else that’s interesting.’ In the past, the only way you could gain access to an image was by buying a book or visiting an exhibition or gallery. The problem is that not everyone is wealthy enough to buy a work of art. Instead, we can offer something else for them – a way to share our images, for example. And that will not necessarily affect our print sales.

To be a 65-year-old collective thinking about new and sensible ways to interact with and makes things available/accessible to the community is very cool.  I definitely appreciated being able to click through and save a few of the thousand images by Peter Marlow online… and that’s only the amount tagged “animal.”

Anyway, spending so much time looking at these images and choosing the handful for this post was special to me.  When I really fell head-over-heels in love with photography, probably in my sophomore year of college, it was a very specific kind of image that did it for me.  I loved square images, with straight-on, stark compositions, with the photograph’s subject unapologetically centered.  There’s something so poignant about this type of image, focusing in on what seems to be a perfect little moment.  Plus, I always think it’s fun to see the animal photographs of photographers who aren’t really known for making pictures of animals.  Animals creep into the oeuvre of all types of artists.  They’re kind of unavoidable that way.

Visit artist's site:

Source: Magnum Photos