Review: 1968 Magnum Around the World

1968 Magnum Around the World
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Where were you in '68? No doubt some of our devoted readers were floating aimlessly in eggland, waiting for their significant other to bring them in to existence.

For others, you are either old enough to remember the tumultuous global events that took place that year or, like me, have faint recollections from televised images: real soldiers running through jungles; people wearing funny hats jumping up and down at presidential conventions; and semi-nude guys who, for some reason, had hair longer than my own. 

Whether you were on the planet or not, you should definitely take the time to see the amazing photography that has been exhibited around the world: Magnum - svět v roce 1968.

Comprised of photographs from the Magnum Agency, a photographer's consortium, the book takes you on a walk through world political events such as the Vietnam War protests, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, civil unrest in Cuba and Biafra, the Prague Spring, to the surreal photo of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogir, hippiedom and free love. 

Some of the works may bring a smile as in Dennis Stock's photograph of a hippie-owned gas station in California, bedecked in peace signs, flowers, and tye-dye images.

Others may bring a tear as in the graphic photo of a starving child in Biafra, taken by Don McCullin. Some of the more disturbing images are those of American GI's: Philip Jones-Griffiths' photo of an American soldier taking aim from inside a wrecked home - a child's naked doll lies underneath his chair; Don McCullin's close-up of a shell-shocked soldier.

On a local take, there are many photographs which record Prague Spring, most of which were taken by Josef Koudelka.

Images of a packed Václavské náměstí for the May Day Parade, to images of the same crowds, only this time they are there to push back the newly arrived Russian tanks. 

These works and others are published in a book titled 1968, Magnum Around the World, which has recently won an award for Best Photography Book of 1998.

We caught the exhibit at the Prague Castle in Burgrave's House (east side of the castle, past Golden Lane) back in 1998 and it was really moving, well worth buying the book for even almost 20 years later... Plus, it makes a great gift! 

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