Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Magnum Photos, Inc., Photography Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

Patrons should know that the Magnum Photos, Inc., MSD Capital, L.P., and the Harry Ransom Center announced a partnership in February 2010, under which the Magnum Photos, Inc., Collection would be preserved, cataloged and made accessible by the Ransom Center. Pursuant to an agreement with its new owner, MSD Capital, the collection will reside at the Ransom Center for a period of at least five years.

Since the Magnum collection was made available, researchers have asked many of the same questions about the collection. The Ransom Center hopes the following FAQs will provide insight to accessing the collection.

Why aren't all of the photographs arranged by photographer?
The arrangement reflects the methods by which Magnum kept their files. Magnum needed a filing system long before the days of databases or even computers, so arranging photographs by photographer, personality, subject, and geographic location made the most sense. Because of this filing system, multiple copies of the same image may appear in up to four of these series. For example, Rene Burri's 1963 portrait of Che Guevara might be filed under: Burri, Rene, 1962-1967; Guevara, Che; and/or Cuba.

Can I find every print by Robert Capa [or any photographer]?
No, not at this time. Magnum did not have a cross-indexing system, but the Ransom Center will have the collection fully cataloged and accessible at that level in the future.

Will the Ransom Center be sleeving, re-foldering, and/or re-boxing the collection?
The Ransom Center has maintained the original order and condition of the boxes, file folders, and photographs as they were when Magnum was actively using them as press prints. There are no provisions in the agreement for sleeving, re-foldering, or re-boxing of the collection.

I noticed some photographs stuck together and other photographs that were stained. Should I mark them so that they can be treated?
The condition of the photographs reflects their primary purpose as press prints. The prints were made to be sent out to publishers, not art dealers or museums. Only the portfolios contain pristine prints meant for exhibition. Patrons should notify staff of problems by recording the folder title and box number of the prints in question, so that the Ransom Center can assess them on a case-by-case basis.

Will the Magnum collection be placed online via the Ransom Center?
Imagery contained within the Magnum collection is presented through Magnum's online licensing platform at www.magnumphotos.com.

Can I get a copy of a photograph in the collection?
Magnum's member photographers retain the copyright and licensing rights to the images in the collection. Requests should be directed through Magnum's online licensing platform at www.magnumphotos.com.

However, by special arrangement, faculty and students of The University of Texas at Austin may obtain low-resolution reference jpegs of images in the collection. These may only be used for classroom presentations and temporary websites as part of University coursework. All images must be properly credited to the photographers.



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