Frame ex­change

Back in the 1950s, David Hurn started swap­ping pic­tures with fel­low pho­tog­ra­phers. Now, a se­lec­tion of his 700-strong print col­lec­tion goes on show in Lon­don

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A Mag­num pho­tog­ra­pher’s one-man swap shop

In the sum­mer of 1958, David hurn was tak­ing pho­tographs of pi­geons in trafal­gar square when he bumped into ser­gio Lar­rain, the cel­e­brated Chilean pho­tog­ra­pher, do­ing ex­actly the same thing.

‘It was an odd meet­ing, but we quickly be­came friends,’ hurn re­mem­bers. ‘We spoke at leng th about what makes a g reat pho­tog ra­pher and a g reat pho­tog raph, too. he said it was all in the con­cen­tra­tion. I haven’t for­got­ten that.’

At the time, hurn had barely been pub­lished, while Lar­rain was al­ready a mem­ber of mag­num Pho­tos, the world-fa­mous pho­tog ra­phy col­lec­tive. Ad­mir­ing Lar­rain’s work and keen to be­gin a col­lec­tion, hurn asked his new friend if he’d give him a print. Lar­rain obliged. And so did oth­ers in his cir­cle. even­tu­ally, as hurn had his own work pub­lished – later join­ing mag­num him­self – the gift­ing be­came two-way. every time he asked a col­leag ue for a print, of ten a spe­cific one, he would swap it for one of his own.

This year, Hurn is 80 years old and Mag­num Pho­tos will soon turn 70. To cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary, a se­lec­tion of Hurn’s ex­traor­di­nary col­lec­tion of prints (he has more than 700) will be show­cased at Photo Lon­don this month.

Martin Parr, fel­low vet­eran pho­tog­ra­pher and cur­rent Mag­num pres­i­dent, was en­listed as cura- tor, help­ing Hurn edit his col­lec­tion down to just a few – in­clud­ing some of Hurn’s own work.

‘Cut t ing it down my­self would have been un­bear­able. They’re like my chil­dren,’ Hurn says. ‘I be­gan in a time be­fore photo gal­leries or even colour sup­ple­ments. It seemed the ob­vi­ous thing, to tr y and col­lect great works, and I wish more

young peo­ple did it,’ he says. ‘They are pho­tos I have been drawn to, in gen­res I like. That’s all.’

— Guy Kelly David Hurn’s Swaps, a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion for Mag­num Pho­tos’ 70th an­niver­sary, is from 18-21 May at Photo Lon­don, Som­er­set House, Lon­don WC2; pho­tolon­; mag­numpho­

Peter26 O’toole, Eng­land, 1962, David Hurn

13 May 2017 | The Tele­graph Magazine Bal­ly­cot­ton, Ire­land, 1968, El­liott Er witt

Wild pony colt, Bre­con Bea­cons, Wales, 1974, David Hurn

A girls’ Fri­day night out on the town, Bris­tol, Eng­land, 2009, Martin Parr

Up­per Chapel sheep wash­ing, Wales, 1973, David Hurn

In­jured sur­vivors of an Iraqi Air Force he­li­copter crash in the Sin­jar Moun­tains, Iraq, 2014, Moises Sa­man

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