139 contact sheets, representing 69 photographers, are featured, as well as zoom-in details, selected photographs, press cards, notebooks and spreads from contemporary publications, including Life magazine and Picture Post. Further insight into each contact sheet is provided by texts written by the photographers themselves or by experts chosen by members' estates.
Many acknowledged greats of photography are included, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Elliot Erwitt and Inge Morath, as well as Magnum's latest generation, such as Jonas Bendiksen, Alessandra Sanguinetti and Alec Soth. These photographers cover over seventy years of history, from the Normandy landings by Robert Capa, the Paris riots of 1968 by Bruno Barbey and war in Chechnya by Thomas Dworzak to images of Che Guevara by Rene Burri, Malcolm X by Eve Arnold and clasic New Yorkers by Bruce Gilden.
This landmark book, published just as the shift to digital photography threatens to render the contact sheet obsolete, celebrates the sheet as artifact, as personal and historic record, as invaluable editing tool, and as a fascinating way of accompanying great photographers as they work towards, and capture, the most enduring images of our time.