by Geo Ong
The other night I was scouring the shelves of East Village Books and found a thin collection of portraits called Writers. The book’s back cover synopsis sums it up perfectly:
Writers at home, working at their desks, or in cafés, in the street or the countryside, at public events. From official portraits to unconventional snapshots, the greatest photographers cast a friendly eye on the literary world and present a fresh view of fifty writers who have left their mark on the 20th century.
These photographs were all taken under the commission of Magnum Photos, an international photographic cooperative founded in 1947 by photographers Henri-Cartier Bresson, Robert Capa, David Seymour, George Rodger, and William Vandivert. Magnum Photos continues to put out excellent work in the art of street photography and, in essence, the capturing of truth. Below, I share with you some of my favourites from Writers. (The cover of the book, by the way, is a photograph of Vladimir Nabokov taken by Philippe Halsman, handling what appears to be a butterfly net.)