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Bruce Silverstein Gallery is pleased to announce First Contact: A Photographer’s Sketchbook, an exhibition taken from the Magnum Photo Archive that explores the photographer’s decision-making process in selecting images that capture the “decisive moment.”

For most photographers shooting in 35mm, the first tangible realization of the image-making process is the contact sheet, a single sheet of photographic paper that has been exposed to include a group of negatives or entire roll of film. As a painter or sculptor sketches renderings before putting paint to canvas or chisel to marble, many photographers, especially photojournalists, use the contact sheet to explore various compositions, light exposures, and shutter speeds. Often the photographer will mark the individual images with crop markings and annotations in order to prepare a selection for printing.

First Contact: A Photographer’s Sketchbook explores the notion of the “decisive moment,” a term coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of Magnum Photos. It is “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression."  By placing these images side by side with the contact sheet, the viewer enjoys a unique opportunity to look into artist’s mind and decision-making process in selecting the future “icons” of photography.

This exhibition, in collaboration with Magnum Photos, will be held during the Magnum Festival, celebrating the agency’s 60th anniversary.

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