An exploration of our obsession with image | Fantastic Machine

To celebrate the release of Fantastic Machine, we bring you a collection of photos curated from the Magnum archive, reflecting on the impact of the camera on human behaviour.

Picturehouse Entertainment

17 Apr 24

With 45 billion cameras worldwide, it's no surprise that we are obsessed with image. Rarely without our phones in hand, we're ready to capture our world view in an instant.

Filmmakers Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck trace the proliferation of the camera and explore how our unchecked obsession with image has shaped the world in new film Fantastic Machine. Screening from 19 April, book tickets now.

To celebrate the release of the film, we bring you a collection of photos curated from the Magnum archive, reflecting on the impact of the camera on human behaviour.

With limited access to regions during conflict, photojournalists serve to document history with the camera as a witness. The images produced and distributed frame our understanding of conflicts around the world.
South Korea. 1952. © Werner Bischof Estate/Magnum Photos

Press coverage of The Beatles helped fuel fan obsession. A Hard Day's Night released at the height of their fame and gave adoring fans the opportunity to see the band on the silver screen.
Ringo Starr during the filming of A Hard Day's Night. London. 1964. © David Hurn/Magnum Photos

The arrival of television and live TV broadcasting not only had the power to bring people together, but this new medium gave advertisers a direct channel to consumers giving rise to commercial TV. 
France. 1974. © Martine Franck/Magnum Photos

The desperate quest for the perfect photo of Venice's Piazza San Marco.
Venice, Italy. 2005. © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

Magnum photographer Martin Parr has observed the cultural impact of the selfie and how it has transformed the tourism industry in photographs around the world.
Goa, India. 2019. © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

At the January 6 United States Capitol attack, rioters live streamed their movements and destroyed news camera equipment in protest of mainstream political press coverage.
Washington D.C., USA. 2021 © Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos

A look inside the fight against propaganda in authoritative states. Producers work backstage during the live streaming of a news show on independent Russian television channel Dozhd. Dozhd now broadcasts from the Netherlands.
Moscow, Russia. 2021. © Nanna Heitmann/Magnum Photos

The culture of online content creation has transformed our expression of self, from providing access to constant inspiration and information to the possibility of greater influence and fame.
Spain. 2022. © Lua Ribeira/Magnum Photos

Fantastic Machine releases in cinemas 19 April. Find Picturehouse showtimes and watch the trailer.
Discover more from Magnum Photos including exhibitions, workshops and the Magnum shop. Find out more.