Burt Glinn (1925 - 2008)

Burt Glinn (1925-2008) joined Magnum in 1951, and became a full member in 1954, being elected its president in 1972 and again in 1987. He is best known for covering the entrance of the revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, into Havana, Cuba, in 1959.

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Early Years

Burt Glinn was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 23 July 1925. He served in the United States Army between 1943 and 1946, before studying history and literature at Harvard University, where he edited and photographed for the Harvard Crimson college newspaper.

Photographic Career

From 1949 to 1950, Glinn worked for LIFE magazine before becoming a freelancer. He became an associate member of the Magnum Photo Agency in 1951, along with Eve Arnold and Dennis Stock, as one of the first three Americans to join the young agency. Three years later, he became a full member. He made his mark with spectacular colour series on the South Seas, Japan, Russia, Mexico and California. In 1959, he received the Mathew Brady Award for Magazine Photographer of the Year from the University of Missouri.

In collaboration with the writer Laurens van der Post, Glinn published A Portrait of All the Russias (1967) and A Portrait of Japan (1968). His reportages appeared in Esquire, Geo, Travel and Leisure, Fortune, LIFE and Paris-Match. He covered the Sinai War, the US Marine invasion of Lebanon, and Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba. In the 1990s he completed an extensive photo essay on the topic of medical science.

Versatile and technically brilliant, Glinn was one of Magnum’s great corporate and advertising photographers. He received numerous awards for his editorial and commercial photography, including the Best Book of Photographic Reporting from Abroad from the Overseas Press Club and the Best Print Ad of the Year from the Art Directors Club of New York. He served as president of the American Society of Media Photographers. He was president of Magnum between 1972 and 1975, and was re-elected to the post in 1987.

Burt Glinn died in Southampton, New York, on 9 April 2008.

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