Mountains have long fascinated photographers from all over the world. The archives of Magnum Photos – the biggest name in photojournalism since its creation in 1947– contain images of some of the world’s highest peaks. Magnum Photos is not known for landscape photography, but the theme runs through the agency’s 80-year history. Many of its members have become important figures in the history of photography: Werner Bischof, René Burri, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Raymond Depardon, Elliott Erwitt, Martine Franck, Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr and Alec Soth, to mention only a few. But the agency as a whole has also had a major impact, through its dedication to politically engaged photography. These photographs are not only a testament to a very human fascination with mountains all over the world, but also to the veneration and fear that they can inspire. Up until the 20th century, mountains seemed to be indestructible, but today, we see mountain habitats overused and endangered. Part of the exhibition is devoted to renowned Swiss photographer Werner Bischof, and presented in partnership with the Werner Bischof Archives in Zurich. During the Second World War, Bischof was unable to leave the country but took long regular trips to the Alps, often alone. His love for the mountains never faded. He later roamed the world and never stopped seeking high altitudes. In 1954, two years after an expedition to the Himalayas, he traveled to the Andes, where he died in a road accident. At the age of 38, Bischof was the first Magnum photographer to pass away. The mountains –which fascinated him so much – had the last word.
The exhibition was developed by the MBAL in close collaboration with Magnum Photos. It received the generous contribution of Zenith. It is accompanied by a book published by Prestel. A version of the exhibition will also be on display from 17 July 2019 to 7 January 2020 at Forte di Bard, near Aosta, Italy.