Magnum Photos is a photography agency, artist collective, and visual archive founded in 1947 by photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger, and David Seymour. Over the last 70 years, the organization has grown in scope to produce a magazine, offer workshops, and provide images of global events to an international range of media outlets. It has also cultivated a membership body — since 1955, Magnum has been entirely owned by photographers, who act as shareholders. There are three stages to becoming a lifetime “full member,” which allows photographers to vote on proposals and enjoy worldwide Magnum representation.
This year, Magnum presents five new prospects, who will first join the organization as nominees before potentially gaining admission to the Magnum collective as lifelong members. The international cohort includes Khalik Allah (USA), Sabiha Çimen (Turkey), Colby Deal (USA), Yael Martínez (Mexico), and Hannah Price (USA), and demonstrates an abiding interest in amplifying a diverse perspective, both in terms of photographer and subject.
The photographers are nominated based on their portfolios or specific projects. According to a Magnum press release, Allah’s “Camera Ministry” captures candid portraits on the streets of New York City, whereas Çimen has mounted “Hafız: Guardians of the Quran,” a project wherein she traveled to five cities in Turkey producing portraits of largely female subjects in relationship with domestic objects and religious texts — including one reading the Qur’an in Braille — on medium format film. Deal is lauded for a blend of street photography and portraiture, “focusing on the psychological environment as well as the physical to preserve cultural characteristics that are being erased.” And Martinez makes portraits and object-studies that toe the line between moody documentary and magical realism. Finally, Price documents race politics, perception, and misperception in the US, bringing into sharp focus the deep divides between people based on superficial aspects of appearance.
“I am thrilled to welcome our new nominees who come from a range of different backgrounds and add to the plurality of voices inside Magnum,” said Magnum Photo’s new CEO, Caitlin Huges, in the press release. “Whilst Covid-19 presents challenges for arts and culture around the world, Magnum is fortunate to have an incredible roster of talent who are able to connect with their audiences in a powerful way online.”
Naturally, being worth 1,000 words, the pictures really speak for themselves. Congrats to the nominees, and good luck on their continuing work to capture moments of photographic truth in the ever-flowing stream of humanity.