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“Surely I am coming back soon.”
The New Testament’s penultimate verse prophesying Jesus Christ’s imminent return remains one of history’s defining sentences. Christians have waited two thousand years for the second coming of Jesus Christ, when he is said to bring about the End Times, judge mankind and correct our hopelessly flawed existence. If he came, what would Jesus say about our contemporary world, and what would today’s people make of the Son of God?
Luckily, those who are eager to meet the Savior may no longer have to wait: a few years ago, Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen started a personal project to chronicle seven men who all publicly claim to be the biblical Messiah returned. Some are powerful and have thousands of followers. Others are true underdogs, with only a handful of disciples. All are united in the faith that they themselves are the Chosen One and have come to save the world.
Visiting their communities in England, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Zambia, Japan and the Philippines, Bendiksen photographed the Messiahs themselves, as well as their disciples’ daily lives and rituals. Through photography, video, interviews, scripture and historical material, he explores who these individuals are, who the biblical Messiah was, and why so many people today yearn for him to exist in the flesh.
The project is an invitation to imagine each of the claimants to be The One. These men all struggle to be taken seriously outside of their own communities. But why are they brushed off as cult leaders or mentally ill? Do their followers have any less basis for their beliefs than adherents to mainstream religion? Where exactly lies the border between faith and delusion? To whom do we grant the privilege of defining what constitutes accepted religion?
Bendiksen’s overriding theme is the mechanics of religion itself, a force that continues to shape society. The result is an exploration that encourages reflection on the boundaries of belief, while simultaneously telling a unique, colorful and surprising story.
Harking back to the analogue days of photo distribution, the Magnum Distribution is a full photographic story in an envelope.
Each pack contains eight 8×10” prints, hand-stamped with the Magnum Collection stamp and the photographer’s copyright stamp, and accompanied by a printed page detailing the story and individual captions.
Each pack is numbered from 1 to 100 on its envelope.
Price may increase as the edition sells.
Our contemporary version of the distro plays on the nostalgia of the press print, and makes the work of Magnum photographers available to purchase as an unsigned set of digital C-type prints, exclusively through the Magnum Shop, in a limited edition of 100.
Magnum Distribution sets are produced in New York from where they will ship