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Magnum Photos and Obscura Collaborate to Create New Collections of NFTs

Eight Magnum photographers have been commissioned to create new work in a partnership between the agency and Obscura.

Enchanting the pig. Buenos Aires, Argentina. 1999. © Alessandra Sanguinetti / Magnum Photos. In the Salaheddin district which is only 50% under government control, streets are blocked off with rub (...)

Eight Magnum photographers have been commissioned to create new work in a partnership between the agency and Obscura. Alessandra Sanguinetti, Lorenzo Meloni, Carolyn Drake, Sabiha Çimen, Hannah Price, Lua Ribeira, Alex Majoli, and Thomas Dworzak were asked to contribute to the inaugural season of NFT (Non-Fungible Token) collections. 

The new work has been funded through the sale of “Season Passes”, which guarantee the collector one NFT from each commission. The collector will receive their artwork on the day the NFT is minted on the blockchain. 

Obscura is the first photography commissions platform introducing visual storytelling into the NFT world, allowing collectors and photographers to connect within the Web3 and allowing the new crypto economy to activate and inspire new creative opportunities. Obscura has a commitment to form a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) from within its community, which enables members to have a stake in developing and governing its future.

Magnum President Olivia Arthur says: “When Alejandro and I began discussing this project, we talked about it as a ‘leap of faith’. This is both on the side of the people who are buying the artworks ahead of them being created and from Magnum because we are making work that would exist firstly as NFTs. We are thrilled to be working with Obscura and believe that their commitment to the production of new photography and stories is an extremely important and wonderful thing. We are excited to see how, and in what direction, this world will grow.”

Co-Founder of Obscura Alejandro Cartagena adds: “Obscura was created as a conceptual exercise on how we think of photography in the digital age. We offer the opportunity for photographers to create new bodies of work that will have its first iteration in the world as an NFT and then as a print or book form. The lack of digital ownership has been a big problem in the way photography and photographers could value their work and we see an opportunity to ask the question through NFTs if that can change. NFTs are not an end game for photography but one more opportunity to find an audience and to tell the stories we want to tell.”

The NFT Collections will be published on Magnum Photos and Obscura’s platforms once minted. There will be a number of Twitter Spaces events across the launch period, where photographers and Obscura will be discussing the creation of the work and more. 

Below is a list of the the date each collection will be released. Magnumphotos.com will be publishing every collection on the day it is minted.

11 February – Alessandra Sanguinetti
25 February – Lorenzo Meloni
11 March – Carolyn Drake
25 March – Sabiha Çimen
8 April – Hannah Price
22 April – Lua Ribeira
6 May – Alex Majoli
20 May – Thomas Dworzak 

As Magnum Photos embarked on this project, it took the utmost care to investigate the environmental impact that NFTs and digital blockchain technologies are having. Throughout the process, it engaged with a consultant who advised on the different methods available to offset the carbon emissions that the process incurs. As such, every collection that has been created has donated a portion of the funds raised to an environmental charity of the photographer’s choosing. This work was carried out in line with broader work that Magnum and Obscura are undertaking to continuously improve practices with regard to sustainability.

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