Magnum… £350 + VAT… I love you Magnum so please don’t make me have to leave you like so many have done already.Written by duckrabbit
I love Magnum. The brand, the archive, the images, Henri Cartier Bresson, Jonas Bendiksen, Antoine D’Agata to name but a few. Christopher Anderson’s Capitolio is one of the best books I have seen in a long time. Since Blue Room by Richards. Yet they are not the journalistic force they used to be and now as a business, it has to do this?
Now they have to create income. £350 + VAT this costs. We all know how hard it is in this industry, how the editorial world is cash poor and the movement into the art world has diluted and blurred the way people see Photography. Limited editions are not the way forward as it limits the size of the audience.
There has to be someone in Magnum looking at how photography is used and how it can be useful.
What are they promising for this money to be paid? An insight into “book publishing, stock sales, social networking and commercial photography”?
Could the current management be more responsible for the brand so lovingly cultivated by the masters HCB, Elliot Erwitt et al?
If they believe in the medium, could they not converse with the public so they can be introduced to their version of visual beauty? Could they better serve their brand by selling the idea of photography to all the other people outside of this industry in order to create new audiences instead of a small amount of “limited and successful candidates… chosen on the basis of their photographic experience and the perceived benefit to the applicant’s career,”?
“This event is not aimed at beginners and applicants should have a high level of photographic aptitude.” I know of no other industry that makes so much income from the supply side of the industry – namely the aspiring talent paying £350 on the hope of something better.
If they have such good skills, they should be able to earn a living. People going on this course are paying to access the Magnum brand and the speakers, to show their work to the perceived gatekeepers because they want to make it. I completely understand that but this is a very delicate and fragile form of hope they are hoping to be fulfilled for £350 + VAT and the risk of bad feelings is high. Like it or not, Magnum is still the standard bearer and this is high risk income raising tactic that could backfire.
“We recommend attendees have been published or exhibited at least twice during their careers.” If this is the case, then it proves someone needs to help the industry by creating more economic demand. I would argue the beautiful brand of Magnum and with all their history and goodwill could better serve everyone by looking outwards and not inwards. Else all they do is risk being seen to look only after themselves.
Please, please, please Magnum business people… I know you have a background in Private Equity Mr M.D… so instead of leveraging the little cash these photographers full of hope have left, please leverage all the greatness in your brand for the sake of the medium to face the public. Please go out and inspire the public and create new sources of income.
You can do better. You should be doing this kind of educative work for free because it is your duty for being part of the greatest photo agency there has been. That is a responsibility that should be carried with pride and not a cash generating burden. Time to be brave and radically overhaul the bloated co-operative structure? Streamline decision making? Let people go to create space for the new?
I love you Magnum so please don’t make me have to leave you like so many have done already.
(DISCLAIMER: I am not a Magnum person at all. I meant as a fan, as someone who buys into the brand. I do not want to leave them as a fan, follower, lover of their work. Sorry for any misunderstanding.)