Meet Magnum’s New Members and Nominees
Two new members and two new nominees announced at Magnum’s 69th Annual General Meeting in London
Magnum photographers descended on London this weekend for the 69th Annual General Meeting. Led by Magnum’s president Martin Parr and Executive Director David Kogan, the agenda included new Magnum membership – who should become a Magnum member, and who might be given the opportunity to become a nominee? This year Magnum photographers voted to make Belgian photographer Bieke Depoorter and French photographer Jérôme Sessini full members. “They both take you into places you don’t ordinarily have access to,” says Martin Parr. “Bieke into living rooms in Russia and Jérôme into dangerous places, producing really beautiful pictures. They are both good representations of what Magnum does.”
Two new nominees were also announced: Diana Markosian, an American and Russian artist of Armenian descent, and Londoner Matt Stuart. The voting process is top secret, with only Magnum members privy to the discussion, but Marin Parr revealed that this year voting was done using Christopher Anderson’s hat instead of Larry Towell’s, as is usually the case. “It’s a very difficult process to be voted in, so based on that anyone who makes it in legitimately deserves to be there,” says David Hurn, who became an associate member of Magnum in 1965 and a full member in 1967.
New Member: Jérôme Sessini
Jérôme Sessini’s motivations are typically Magnum: “a balance between personal interest and the importance of the story within the context of history.” Concentrating on areas experiencing conflict and its effects, Sessini has repeatedly covered the Ukraine, the Middle East and the Calais Jungle refugee camp. “Magnum is the perfect place for a photographer like me,” he says “I think I fit Magnum and Magnum fits me because all of us are not just news photographers but classic photojournalists. I think we have a strong vision and we choose the stories we do because we feel we have something to tell. We are not just responding to the demands of clients, but we choose our stories because we believe in them.”
New Member: Bieke Depoorter
Bieke Depoorter’s on-going project, where she asks families in the street to spend a night in their home, has taken her to Russia, the United Sates and Egypt. Her portraits form an international yet intimate portrait of contemporary domestic life. For Depoorter, the best thing about becoming a member of Magnum is having the support of a wider network. “It gives you a push to just continue in what you’re doing,” she says. The AGM itself is the ultimate embodiment of this camaraderie: “Photography is a very lonely thing; you’re on the road and alone, but when you come to the AGM you feel like you are together.”
New Nominee: Diana Markosian
Working as a documentary photographer, writer, and filmmaker, Diana Markosian explores her Armenian heritage and notions of memory. According to Stuart Franklin, “Diana has a very sensitive approach to documentary.”
New Nominee: Matt Stuart
Stuart Franklin is similarly enthusiastic about the second new nominee, British street photographer Matt Stuart: “Matt is a very accomplished street photographer – one of the best-known street photographers in Britain – so it’s good for us that he wanted to join Magnum. He’s a nice guy too and gets on with us very well. He’s a team player, so we’re looking forward to working with him.”
The Magnum AGM
The Magnum Annual General Meeting takes place in either London, Paris or New York, and is a chance for photographers and staff to catch up, take care of business and let their hair down. This year’s program opened with an exhibition and memorial for the late Magnum photographer Peter Marlow on Wednesday June 23, with his friends in Magnum curating an exhibition at Protein Studios in Shoreditch. The event was an emotional one, as family, former colleagues and fellow photographers paid their tributes and shared touching anecdotes to a full house. On the Thursday Martin Parr held a Magnum pub quiz for real Magnum buffs, followed by a book signing event, with tables hosted by publishers Thames & Hudson and Phaidon. By the third day of the AGM, photographers and staff were ready to let off some steam with the generous support of The Macallan and Moët & Chandon. Meetings continued through until Sunday at Perseverance Works in Shoreditch, kindly supplied by JJ Locations.