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1/19 — William Gilbert



About Last Night: The New Photogs From Magnum You Need to Know

There’s nothing quite like a smooth jazz soundtrack to announce to patrons this isn’t the standard turn up. When Magnum Photos: New Blood’s kickoff party touched down in the Milk Gallery last night, it came equipped with a worldly sense of class that mirrored the prestige of the Magnum Photos photographer collective. As wine and beer flowed into cups, the usual Milk crowd intermingled with art lovers and historians. The historic new crop of Magnum’s nominees, which is the largest group ever accepted to Magnum in its 69-year history, displayed everything from the streets of Japan to the Arab Spring. For us, it was a celebration of diversity and an intimate portrayal of the tumultuous changes happening around the world that no new report could replicate. For them, it was the end of a long process of honing their skills that at least one attendee knew all too well.

“I’ve been with Magnum about one hundred years. I don’t look it but that’s the truth,” joked veteran Magnum Photos photographer Thomas Hoepker, 80. “I’ve been a photographer for over 60 years and I’ve done almost everything. I keep going and taking more pictures. That’s what I do!”

As Hoepker wandered through the packed gallery space taking photos of the crowd as they took in the sights of the globe-hopping images, we could feel the air of excitement over what the new class is bringing to the agency. Within the gallery, the documentary photographers chosen to join the Magnum family included: Matt BlackCarolyn Drake, Sohrab HuraLorenzo MeloniMax Pinckers, and Newsha Tavakolian. “It’s five new nominees and one from last year, which is a huge change in how they bring life into the agency,” explained Magnum New York’s Content Director, Shannon Simon. “They’re all wonderful—there’s no way to compare any of them.”

Whether the artists hailed from Berlin, Iran, Italy, or India, they all represented a historic new push for diversity in imagery that Magnum has always been famous for. While people took photos of their favorite images, it was clear that Magnum had struck magic once again with the new blood they’d brought together under the bright gallery lights. “Magnum is a fantastic mix of photographers. They’re all very interesting people and it’s been alive for a long time compared to other agencies. I think the secret is that we’re adding young photographers every year. We are growing, you know,” Hoepker said, with a camera in hand. “I’m one of the old guys, but here are the young ones. I’m really excited about what they’re doing.” We are, too, and we can’t wait to see which slices of the world they’ve captured, and will continue to capture, under the Magnum Photos collective.

Magnum Photos: New Blood will be on display from April 13 to May 8 in the Milk Gallery. More information can be found here. Pieces from the show are now available at the Milk Store.

Images shot exclusively for Milk by Zlatko Batistich.

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