A New Year
30 Magnum photographers' images, made around the world, capture a tumultuous year passing into the next
2020 saw the first pandemic of recent decades alter ways of life around the globe. Social unrest and resultant activism arose on a truly global scale, while political tensions and intrigues abounded. Accordingly, and unsurprisingly, many of the images created by Magnum’s members as the New Year arrived conveyed more a sense of trepidation and unease than the traditional feelings of revelry and optimism.
As part of a co-publication with Vogue we share here images made by 30 Magnum photographers around the world, seeing in 2021 in varying circumstances. Some found themselves in quarantine or living under various levels of state-sanctioned isolation. Others attended memorials for victims of Covid-19, connected with friends remotely, or celebrated with their families alone. A number captured outdoor scenes, from frigid swims on the English coast, to refugees at work in Jordanian fields.
You can see the work on Vogue, here.
Peter van Agtmael
Young Republicans applaud the arrival of Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler at a campaign event before the Georgia special election on January 5. This election is a reminder of how much our notion of hope can differ in this fractured United States. The parties have wildly different goals and rhetoric, with whatever common ground that remains barely visible. That we all harbor our individual hopes is a given. Do we retain hopes as a nation? I hope that goodness and restraint will triumph over chaos.
Caton, Georgia. USA. January 3, 2021.
My daughters Billie, 3 years old, Boe, 5 years old, on New Year’s Eve. Its been a strange year. I’ve spent an unprecedented amount of time at home, and while I miss socializing more freely, I also savour the connection the lockdowns have brought our little family.
Nesoddtangen. Norway. 2021.
Sunset ride, on a noisy motorbike.
Athens. Greece. January 3, 2021.
A Memorial by a group of people who lost one of their friends due to Covid-19. One recited a poem, and all threw flowers into the sea with prayers and good wishes for the new year.
Coney Island, New York. USA. January 1, 2021.
The year 2020 was full of challenges and memories. I was lucky to have my kids every other day and to be able to plan the best use of our time together. I used to think I was nothing without photography. And then I had kids and realized that, without love, I am less than nothing.
Graz. Austria. January 3, 2021.
I spent the first days of this year with my mother peeling off the old flowered wallpaper in our family apartment at the Belgian coast. The apartment used to belong to my grandmother who passed away last year. It’s been a special weekend: we had a beautiful last night among the outmoded furniture. While scratching off the old wallpaper we talked about our childhood, our shared past, slowly entering new beginnings.
Belgium. January 1, 2021.
Like a good Soviet photographer pushed to look for progress, positive, new beginning and hope I was erring the empty and abandoned streets of Paris, under a strict curfew, when the new year started. No fireworks. Quite a lot of police. A few homeless and refugees were out.
Bleedingly homesick and missing ( the country of ) Georgia, where I have spent so many of the last 30 or so new year eves, I could only call my friends.
An old expressions in the Georgian language, offering to share grief, pain and trouble, is “შენი ჭირიმე” – May your plague be mine! Sheni Tshirime!
Peloponese, Zaharo. Greece. January 2, 2021.
Unfolding hibiscus flower on New Year’s Day. I am currently quarantined in Gozo for 14 days so I can only photograph what’s in my house and garden.
Gozo. Malta. January 1, 2021.
I really wanted to go to the banja and swim in the icy sea but the banja was booked already. Yulia and her lovely Siberian family were so nice to invite me to join them. The banja has always been a big part of the Russian identity and community. It has always been a place where people go to strengthen their health. I hope 2021 will allow us to gather together again safely.
Black Sea, Anapa. Russia. January 4, 2021.
Bubble is government speak meaning, “adults who live by themselves can join up with one other household to create a support bubble” — you act as though you lived together. My bubble has three rescue dogs who insist on giving us love, and who take us for walks at least 365 days a year. A good future.
Wales. January 1, 2021.
Auspicious Clouds, xiangyun, represent the heavens and also “good luck” in Chinese culture.
On a flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta. January 5, 2021. USA.
Sicily. Italy. January 1, 2021.
Every December 31 and January 1, the original peoples of the Tu’un Savi community go up to the sacred site of Cerro de la Garza to give thanks for the end of the cycle and to offer and feed the mountain so that it provides well-being in their lives. The spirituality of the Ñuu Savi peoples has withstood the ravages of time even when the most sacred hill has been violated by the Mexican goverment with the installation of telephone antennas.
Cerro De La Garza. Taxco, Guerrero. Mexico. 2021.
Cristina de Middel
One of the main lessons for me in 2020 has been the amazing power that Nature has to relativize the daily drama. If you are lucky enough to live surrounded by Nature you can use the constant reminder that life goes on, in every leaf that grows and every bird that sings, regardless of your systematic overthinking of superfluous details. I started this year in the best way possible, surrounded by my family and bringing my mother to her roots in Southern Spain, where she had not been since she was a girl. 2021 started consolidating the sweet and grounded sense of urgency that added “before it is too late” to my To Do list. Right after midnight, I went out to see how little it matters that we are starting a new year and the daily reminder was still there.
Andalusia. Spain. January 1, 2021.
The Polish government introduced more restrictive regulations due to the Covid-19 Pandemic on New Year’s Eve. A group of activists protested against the introduction of the curfew, defending the right of free moving. Activists accused the government of using the pandemic to deprive the citizens their rights.
Warsaw. Poland. 2021.
Cloé poses for our traditional New Year polaroid session. For the New Year, my wife and I traditionally take pictures of the celebrations with our friends with a polaroid camera. It’s a special occasion: precious and intimate memories. This year, because of the pandemic, Turkey was under a total lockdown of four days and celebrations were forbidden. So my wife and I found ourselves alone to celebrate the New Year and we wanted to perpetuate the tradition. So we decided “let’s put on some lights, some glitter, and capture it in a frame to not forget what we lived together”.
Istanbul, Turkey. 2021.
New Year’s Day Swim. Clevedon is a popular swimming place all year round. Normally for New Year’s Day there is an organised swim, but as this was cancelled people went in as small parties. Fancy dress is quite often seen and encouraged!
Clevedon, North Somerset. GB. January 1, 2021.
After 31 years together, my partner Jo and I were finally due to tie the knot in 2020, but what with one thing and another we never got round to it. It wasn’t because either of us want a big bash with hundreds of guests (far from it) but it soon became apparent that even a modest affair would be impossible. But with a brighter future promised for 2021 we’re hopeful that this will be the year. We’ll see… We began the New Year with fairly strenuous hikes on three consecutive mornings, all on the beautiful South Downs, and close to our Brighton home.
South Downs. GB. January 1, 2021.
What I have found on this [New Year] project is the tension and the hope of better things arriving in 2021. The black woman has the difficulties of dealing with the day to day but she holds strongly to her strong religious background to help get through these times.
Texas. USA. January 2, 2021.
Morning of the 1st of January 2021. Sixth day of quarantine.
Falmouth, Cornwall. GB. January 1, 2021.
Zied Ben Romdhane
Snow tubing at Mount Royal park.
Mount Royal, Montreal. Canada. January 2, 2021.
Syrian refugees working as day laborers picking cabbage on a field in the outskirts of Mafraq, a Jordanian town near the border with Syria. In 2021, the Syrian refugee crisis remains the largest displacement crisis in the world, with 5.6 million registered refugees, including an estimated 1.3 million living in Jordan, according to the United Nations.
Mafraq. Jordan. January 4, 2021.
Celebration of new year with friends near Fontainebleau. South of Paris. Bourron-Marlotte.
France. January 1, 2021.
We don’t know if Lucas’ wish on his first Christmas was for his two front teeth, but his top front tooth — his third — has come through in recent days! It’s been quite a year for the three of us, with unexpected twists, traumas and turbulence but in these first days of 2021, we’re celebrating new life, renewal, resilience and new teeth!
Singapore. January 1, 2021.
For the past 6 years, I have spent time visiting my family in the Eastern Cape but this year has been a rough year for my family. Especially my grandmother and the other elders of the family. Before the end of the year we said a prayer that the next may be a hopeful and healing one for the world
Tsomo. Eastern Cape. South Africa. January 1, 2021.
Nearly every day of the week I cross the Mississippi River. With the New Year, I can’t help but think of the river in metaphorical terms.
Minnesota. USA. January 2, 2021.
At Kitano Shrine, to welcome in the New Year and throw out the old, a Hamaya arrow is burnt. The arrow is a charm against unhappiness and a new one will be bought each year. Also to be burnt are old Daruma dolls (the red face in the flames). At the end of the year, all the Daruma are brought back to the temple where they were purchased from for a traditional burning ceremony. This ceremony, called the Daruma Kuyo, is held once a year, usually right after New Year’s Day. The Daruma are thought to also ward off unhappiness but basically they are a reminder of a wish you need to fulfill.
Nakano, Tokyo. Japan. January 1, 2021.
Lorelei Subotzky looks out over the small coastal town of Kleinmond in the Western Cape, South Africa. “Tweede Nuwe Jaar” (Second New Year) is traditionally the day that South Africans flock to the beaches, but a second-wave Covid Lockdown has closed all beaches and rivers for recreation. As can be seen in this aerial view, almost all South African towns are still divided along both racial and economic lines – which makes lockdown much easier to bear for some groups as opposed to others. Of course, it is the privileged whites with their big houses and gardens that complain the most about their freedom to go to the beach being curtailed.
Kleinmond, Western Cape. South Africa. January 2, 2021.
Largely sequestered on Cape Cod these past nine months, I’ve been wandering my childhood beaches with a panoramic camera, following the subtle movements of wind and water, time and tide. Called Waves, it’s a collaborative project with my wife and creative partner, the poet and photographer Rebecca Norris Webb. On New Year’s Day before dawn, I left Rebecca at her writing desk as I revisited one of my favorite ocean haunts, Cahoon’s Hollow Beach. I was particularly drawn to the warm glow of first light reflecting in the swirling, ever-shifting waters at low tide. When I returned, Rebecca shared these words she’d written: “How does hope shine its red buoy to guide us without its wick inside, loss?”
Cape Cod, Massachusetts. USA. January 1, 2021.