Magnum Photos is a co-operative owned agency, run by its member photographers. The agency is self-selecting and membership is considered one of the finest accolades of a photographer’s career.
The process of becoming a full member to Magnum Photos take a minimum of four years. Photographers are only considered once a year, during Magnum’s Annual General Meeting in June, where one day is set aside for considering and voting on potential new members’ portfolios.
Magnum Photos accepts portfolio submissions from all international professional photographers but the most successful applications are made with the support of existing member photographers.
Portfolio submissions for 2021 run from Nov 1 until the end of February 2021. You can find out more, here.
Successful applicants are invited to become a ‘Nominee Member’ of Magnum, a category of membership which presents an opportunity for Magnum and the individual to get to know each other but where there are no binding commitments on either side.
After two years of Nominee membership, photographers then present an updated portfolio to apply for ‘Associate Membership’. If successful, the photographer then becomes bound by all the rules of the agency, and enjoys all the facilities of its offices and worldwide representation.
Finally, after another two years, an Associate member wishing to apply for full membership presents a further portfolio of work for consideration by the Members. Once elected as a full member, this effectively confers membership of Magnum for life or for as long as the photographer chooses. No member photographer of Magnum has ever been asked to leave.
An Estate is a category of deceased photographers, such as our founding members, who remain a strong part of Magnum’s legacy via their extensive archives and posthumous projects.
Magnum also has an affiliation with a number of selected photographers globally who act as ‘Correspondents’ and ‘Distribution’ members. While Magnum represents these photographers’ work, they are not part of the governance of the agency.
Traditionally Magnum Photos has accepted just one or two photographers, but in 2015 it accepted a record six new Nominee photographers.
Photographer membership status are listed on their photographer profile pages.