The Decisive Network
Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market

by Nadya Bair

May is National Photography Month, and in celebration, UC Press wanted to spotlight our forthcoming release The Decisive Network, which reveals Magnum’s role in making photojournalism integral to postwar visual culture.

Author’s Collection

Based on unprecedented archival research, The Decisive Network unravels Magnum’s mythologies to offer a new history of what it meant to shoot, edit, and sell news images after World War II. Nadya Bair shows that between the 1940s and 1960s, Magnum expanded the human-interest story to global dimensions while bringing the aesthetic of news pictures into new markets, and by unpacking the collaborative nature of photojournalism, this book shows how picture editors, sales agents, spouses, and publishers helped Magnum photographers succeed in their assignments and achieve fame.

Author’s Collection

“Bair has written a fascinating behind-the-scenes history of the legendary photo agency Magnum. She destroys the myth of the lone genius photographer, revealing the important creative contributions of home office staff, magazine editors, curators, and other cultural professionals. Read this book to learn how great art is really made.”—Rodney Benson, author of Shaping Immigration News

Author’s Collection

Read an excerpt