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VICE Loves Magnum: Jonas Bendiksen Takes Photos in Countries That Don’t Exist
Unlike almost all of the other photographers we have spoken to in the VICE Loves Magnum series, Jonas Bendiksen’s work isn’t focused on war zones or conflict. Having worked his way through Magnum, starting as an intern and going on to become a full member, his view on how photography can engage with the world around us is pretty informed. From examining life in marginal post-Soviet states to exploring humanity’s ever-quickening transition from country to city life and its impacts, we talked to him about his work and why people should stop seeing slums as aberrations.
VICE: I’m sure you’ve been asked this lots of times: As someone who’s worked his way up through the ranks at Magnum, you must have an interesting perspective on the agency as a whole. If you were asked to sum it up, what makes Magnum so important in the photography world?
Jonas Bendiksen: Well, I think what makes Magnum interesting and still relevant is that you have this incredibly diverse range of photographers, who in their own ways create photography that’s a commentary on what they see around them. And I think Magnum has become even more interesting in recent years because it’s become more diverse.
As you said, it’s a very diverse group of photographers. But would you ever say that there was a kind of “mission”?
Magnum has a common goal: to use photography to be part of a conversation about the world around us. Within that, each photographer might be interested in different things, but that goal is the common denominator.