The Stories Behind the 10 Most Iconic Photos from Magnum’s 70-Year History
Leonard Freed’s Police Work is a series of over 100 photographs born out of a commission from the London Sunday Times in 1972 to photograph the New York City Police Department. After the article used the images to paint what he felt was too dark a picture of the city and its law enforcement, Freed resumed the project and, for the next ten years, accompanied the NYPD on drug busts, murder investigations and community outreach initiatives to offer a more comprehensive view of the individuals and organization tasked with protecting the city and its inhabitants. Just as we see in Black In White America (lot 102), his photographs of black communities throughout the country during the civil rights movement, Freed’s poignant images reveal the nuances and complexities of our racial and cultural history, resonating all the more in today’s social climate.
—Courtesy of Phillips
Each 12 x 8 in. (30.5 x 20.3 cm) or the reverse, or 6 1/8 x 9 in. (15.6 x 22.9 cm)
Signature: Each signed, dated, annotated in pencil, Magnum copyright credit and 'Vintage Print' stamps on the verso. Two with additional New York Times Magazine caption stamps on the verso. This lot is accompanied by a signed copy of Leonard Freed's book Police Work, published 1980.
Freed, Police Work, pls. 1, 5, 38, 44, 93, 102, 108
The Estate of Leonard Freed
Famous for his photos of the American Civil Rights Movement, Freed also covered Poland, Asian immigration in England, North Sea oil development, and Spain after the fall of Franco. Born in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class Jewish parents, Freed photographed Jewish communities throughout Europe, including Made in Germany (1965), which documented postwar Germany. “Ultimately photography is about who you are,” Freed once said. “It's the seeking of truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.” His work frequently explored societal violence and racial discrimination. He joined Magnum Photos in 1972, and also shot four films for Japanese, Dutch, and Belgian television.
American, 1929-2006, Brooklyn, New York