Passport

Sixty years of amazing photography

A few years ago, my folks and I were at the Tate Modern in London when they bought me what remains one of the best books I own: A heavy, four-inch thick Magnum Photos retrospective, full of more than a thousand of the best photographs of the last half-century. It's without question one of those few books I plan on carrying with me from apartment to apartment, one that will always be spared the clutches of eBay when it's time to choose what stays and goes.

That's why it's great to hear that Magnum Photos turns 60 this year. The cooperative is behind some of the most iconic photographs the world has seen: a lone dissident staring down tanks in Tiananmen; Brooklynites watching the towers burn on 9/11; and the portrait of the Afghan girl with the haunting eyes that might just be one of the most famous images in the world. But they do the mundane just as well as they do the momentous. Magnum's photographers have managed to catch world leaders in moments of repose, but their shots of ordinary life are just as powerful. 

To commemorate the anniversary, both Magnum and Wallpaper* have great photo essays of their favorite shots. Neither should be missed. A few standouts:

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