In Brief

Magnum Photos selects a female president


30 June 2020

At its annual Annual General Meeting, the photography cooperative Magnum took a number of decisions to increase the diversity of its roster of photographers.

After an unanimous vote, Magnum announced a new female president – the British documentary photographer Olivia Arthur. Arthur takes over from outgoing president, Thomas Dworzak from Germany. While Rita Vandivert served as the first president of Magnum when it was founded in 1947, Arthur is the first female photographer to be elected president of Magnum.

The Magnum Annual General Meeting took place over Zoom for four days last week and concluded on Sunday 28 June. Following the meeting, the international photography agency posted an update on its website. In this update Magnum introduced five new nominees (new members), including two black US photographers. The Art Newspaper reported that the decision came as a result of sustained criticism over the lack of diversity within Magnum's membership. The Annual General Meeting also saw Sohrab Hura announced as the first Indian full-voting member of the collective.

“I am thrilled to welcome our new nominees who come from a range of different backgrounds and add to the plurality of voices inside Magnum,” said Arthur. “Whilst Covid-19 presents challenges for arts and culture around the world, Magnum is fortunate to have an incredible roster of talent who are able to connect with their audiences in a powerful way online. We could not wish for a more engaged and supportive community of digital followers and I look forward deepening these relationships in the coming years.”

The new nominees are Khalik Allah (USA), Sabiha Çimen (Turkey), Colby Deal (USA), Yael Martínez (Mexico) and Hannah Price (USA). Magnum photographers first join as “nominees”, before progressing to become associates, and then finally gaining admission to the Magnum collective as full, lifelong voting members.

Magnum Photos was founded as a collective in Paris in 1947 by the photographers Robert Capa, David "Chim" Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and William Vandivert, as well as non-photographers Rita Vandivert and Maria Eisner, who headed up operations in New York and Paris.