PRESS RELEASE: Leica Camera and Magnum Sign Agreement



Solms, Germany (June 23, 2011) – Leica Camera AG and Magnum Photos  announce the commencement of a series of technological and photographic projects, building upon almost a century’s worth of shared history between two world-renowned photographic institutions. The first venture showcases a number of independently produced multimedia essays by Magnum photographers.  In addition, Leica and Magnum have forged a partnership allowing Magnum photographers to utilize the latest Leica equipment in the field. With this program, the esteemed camera manufacturer is able to gain valuable insight into the distinct needs of a professional photographer and integrate the feedback into the ongoing development of the Leica product portfolio. These collaborations have been introduced in conjunction with a signed project agreement that was previously announced in February 2011.

Against a common historical background, Leica and Magnum will collaborate in a number of projects intended to write further chapters in the story of their many years of engagement in the field of independent documentary photography. Earlier this year, Alfred Schopf, CEO of Leica Camera AG, and Magnum Photographer Jonas Bendiksen, President of Magnum Photos International Inc., signed a cooperation agreement in Solms, Germany, to this effect.

“The aim of Magnum and our photographers is to maintain our commitment to discovering the emotions of humankind, to act as witnesses and to communicate these emotions in pictures,” explained Magnum President Jonas Bendiksen. “With the signing of this new agreement, Leica has declared their commitment to joining us in bearing this common responsibility.”

Leica and Magnum have begun collaborating on producing a series of multimedia essays shot by individual Magnum photographers. Production began this spring and the projects will debut online at and

In addition to supporting individual projects, Leica and Magnum will produce new essays in order to gain knowledge and insight from the experience of Magnum photographers working in the field with the latest Leica equipment. The field reports from Magnum photographers will make a significant contribution to the comprehensive user requirements analyses already performed by Leica, assisting in the mutual aim of developing the Leica product portfolio to ensure that products continue to meet the needs of photographers around the world.

“The collaboration between Magnum and Leica will help us to develop and construct high quality equipment specifically designed to meet the needs of professional photographers,” said Stefan Daniel, Head of the Product Management Division at Leica Camera AG. “First-hand accounts on how Leica cameras and lenses stand up to difficult working conditions are extremely welcome and important additions to our in-factory testing procedures. A further tool for ensuring that Leica products match any demands set by the challenging everyday work of professional photographers, Magnum Photographers will provide field reports on the practical use of Leica’s current portfolio, as well testing future products on location.”

Since 1947, the year legendary photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and David ‘Chim’ Seymour founded Magnum Photos, the photographers of this agency have been passionate eyewitnesses of history. Magnum photographers have captured the decisive moments of the 20th century through the lens of a Leica and with a dedication that remains unrivalled today.

Magnum was founded to create a framework for the independent work of its members. Even today, the idiosyncratic combination of reporter and artist still holds true as the distinguishing mark of every Magnum photographer. Their work not only captures the action as it happens but also documents the photographer’s own, highly personal art of visual perception.

Over the past 60 years, both Magnum and Leica have made enormous contributions to the documentation of world history, pioneers in their respective fields. Leica became the standard for the best cameras and lenses the world has ever seen. Combining the values of traditional craftsmanship with the finest precision engineering, the results are cameras and lenses of uncompromising quality that have helped to produce many of the images that expand knowledge and influence the perception of the world. Since the time Henri Cartier-Bresson took his first Leica in hand, Magnum photographers have continued to push forward the limits of documentary photography and the limits of their Leica cameras when documenting epoch-making events around the world.

Magnum Photos is an extensive prominent photographers’ cooperative owned and operated by its members. Magnum photographers work as chroniclers with decisive individuality. Their pictures interpret and communicate the peoples, events, issues and personalities of the world to an international audience. With four offices, in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, and a network of 15 territorial distribution partners, Magnum supplies images and multimedia material to the press, publishers, advertising agencies, TV stations, galleries and museums throughout the world. and

Leica Camera AG is an internationally operating, premium-segment manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products. The legendary status of the Leica brand is founded on a long tradition of excellence in the construction of lenses. And today, in combination with innovative technologies, Leica products continue to guarantee better pictures in all situations in the worlds of visualization and perception. Leica Camera AG has its headquarters in Solms, in the state of Hesse in Germany, and a second production site in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal.

LFI – Leica Fotografie International has been the leading magazine for Leica photographers since 1948. In addition to the presentation of style-setting icons of the past decades, LFI also regularly publishes exciting contemporary feature articles and the work of up-and-coming young talent. At the same time, LFI also offers inside stories from the world of Leica, comprehensive test reports, useful tips for the full range of Leica equipment, and much more.


  1. I admire many of the Magnum photographers. This agreement seems to be an obvious win-win. Both brands burnish each other.

  2. I thought that they announced this a few months ago already. At least I read the same text around end of April, I think on the Magnum site. Good to get the stuff tested and improved beyond just MP looks and sapphire glass. All the Magnum photographers have very individual styles and preferred equipment. Some use Nikons, some panoramic cameras, some GF-1s, some medium format cameras, etc. I don’t think Leica will be the cameras of choice like they were decades ago but they could benefit from this collaboration. At least if Leica really listens to them and not just use the collaboration for a nostalgic marketing fluff.

  3. If you follow Magnum regularly it makes sense. Interesting to the rediculously obsessive but for any well adjusted Leica user it’s just standard quo.

  4. Sounds good. Best cameras in the hands of the best photogs…LOL…just trying to stir up some controversy. I’ll be curious how the photogs themselves feel about this. I am sure many would be thilled, while others wouldn’t be…not sure if it’s an exclusive contract, though I highly doubt it…

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