“Everything is becoming the same, if we want to survive we have to go after some other things.” -Magnum Photographer Josef Koudelka 1998
In 1947, following the aftermath of the Second World War, four pioneering photographers founded a now legendary alliance. Combining an extraordinary range of individual styles into one powerful collaboration, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and David Seymour started, over a celebratory bottle of champagne, the most important artists’ cooperative ever created: The Magnum Photos agency.
Magnum Photos represents some of the world’s most renowned photographers, maintaining its founding ideals and idiosyncratic mix of journalist, artist and storyteller. Our photographers share a vision to chronicle world events, people, places and culture with a powerful narrative that defies convention, shatters the status quo, redefines history and transforms lives.
For nearly 70 years Magnum Photos has been providing the highest quality photographic content to an international client base of media, charities, publishers, brands and cultural institutions. The Magnum Photos library is a living archive updated regularly with new work from across the globe.
Magnum has documented most of the world’s major events and personalities since the 1930s; covering industry, society and people, places of interest, politics and news events, disasters and conflict.. In short, when you picture an iconic image, but can’t think who took it or where it can be found, it probably came from Magnum.
Magnum photographers are a rarity and the agency is self-selecting; membership is a minimum four year process and is considered the finest accolade of a photographer’s career.
Magnum Photos reaches a global audience and has established itself as the authentic, storytelling photographic brand. It remains loyal to its original values of uncompromising excellence, truth, respect and independence.
above is from Magnum Photos here
I have so many thoughts on Magnum Photos, what it means, and what direction it should go in my opinion. It was announced that more brand deals and adding video to Magnum, the brand deals make sense for business and awareness, having deals like that can open opportunities for income, books, travels, overall enhancing the agency. I actually am not against video, my suggestion though would be Magnum Videos. A completely rebranded business. It’s not the same and it would just clutter the website situation even more.
I have previously submitted to become a nominee, and will continue to do so. I could just be crazy but I think Magnum needs to start branching off in other directions photographically. This isn’t a selfish thought that it should be me, but in general, and has been noticed by members over 20 years ago as seen in this blog. Generally it seems like i’m continuing to looking at the same subject. Which to all of the photographers defense, it could just be how it is presented to us, the viewer.
This is from Magnum Photographer Constantine Manos in 1998:
“One of the depressing things about the portfolios that were submitted to us is that I feel that this is mediocre work basically, that we’ve seen and I feel that we are not attracting the young cutting edge photographers because they have maybe the same vision that we had, which is traditional photo journalistic group so we are getting clones of clones of clones and so we get these pictures that are trying to please us and I think we have to refine our vision of who we are.”
Constantines quote couldn’t be more accurate in my opinion.
Last month the first global director of brand partnerships for Magnum Photos Christopher Peregrin said “I’ve had this conversation with so many people — young people in media and culture, they don’t know what Magnum is”
To get young people, or anyone knowing something comes down to marketing, and more marketing. Obviously brand deals is in the right direction, I could see great potential in that. For example a deal with a camera bag that has Magnum Photos on it, which by the way need to somehow retool the logo that to have it MagnumPhotos.com (or @) because a lot of people may just disregard the word “Magnum Photos” on a product if they don’t know what it already is.
This is my huge idea though.. Well, it’s not huge, but an idea that I think would change the game…
If Magnum had someone who was the face of Magnum Photos, specifically to host social media/website so much more can be done. It doesn’t have to be so literal where it is just one person that only does it, but to have it feel more involved and eventful, having a person or persons giving content in the sense of talking about it in the social stories, videos, ama events, etc. also Magnum Photos Podcasts where they host it and from time to time have a member on the show because of the simplicity of the call in for the show. These are the things.. and I’ll reference a part of the quote above from Josef Koudelka “..if we want to survive we have to go after some other things.”
If this post came across as negative from me to you, that is not the intention at all, these ideas are just my thoughts which are actually optimistic and forward thinking on how to make Magnum Photos break through todays landscape. Magnum, I believe could end up being the place that majority of people online would follow. I 100% mean that. With the right execution i’m talking 100+ MILLION followers just on instagram alone.
Sincerely, a crazy minded photographer who loves photography so damn much.