Six photographers are joining the ranks of Magnum Photos, a record-breaking number of new nominees in the agency’s 68 years of existence.
The new members are Matt Black, Carolyn Drake, Lorenzo Meloni, Richard Mosse, Max Pinckers and Newsha Tavakolian.
“I’m honored and humbled,” Black tells TIME. “It gives your work a bigger voice and I hope to put it to good use.” Black was TIME’s pick for Instagram Photographer of 2014.
All six nominees have a long road ahead before gaining full-member status. In two years, they will have to resubmit their work to become associate members of the agency. Each one of them will need to receive a 66% majority vote. If successful they will then be able to apply for full membership in 2019.
Michael Christopher Brown, who joined Magnum in 2013, successfully gained Associate Member status at this year’s AGM, putting him on track to become a full member in two years’ time.
The decision to add six nominees – the agency usually adds one or two new members each year, if any at all – is an indication of “the great faith we have in our future and our desire to find the best new talent that can contribute to the future of Magnum,” says the agency’s president Martin Parr.
The additions come as the agency is working to redefine itself for the 21st century, banking on its large social following to help its finances. “Magnum’s core business over the years has been to license its photographs to the professional marketplace, and that’s what the revamp of the website is supposed to improve and enhance,” Magnum’s CEO David Kogan told TIME last month. “But actually, what we’re seeing is that we have a very large potential consumer market out there. We have millions of followers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and all the other forms of visual distribution.”
Later this year, the agency will launch a platform that will offer consumers access to Magnum’s photographers and to exclusive content such as workshops and signed books. And in 2017, the agency hopes to capitalize on the release of the long-awaited television series around Magnum’s origins.