Magnum Commission Tier

We are partnering with Magnum Photos to commission eight of their photographers to produce exclusive NFT native photographs. We're honored to facilitate Magnums' blockchain genesis via Obscura. We believe that the opportunity presented for photographers of this caliber will help cement the importance of the NFT photography community and ecosystem.
Commission Photographers

Thomas Dworzak

« Bitcoin Nation » - El Salvador

Many photographers and journalists of my generation, interested in war and conflict, would at one point read Richard Kapusciznsky's all-time classic "The Soccer War" and watch Oliver Stone's "Salvador”. » The latter now feels insanely cheesy. With the country's troubled history in mind and never having been to Central America, I found "Bitcoin Nation - El Salvador" a challenging theme to explore for this NFT project. I set out to straightforwardly document this alien and invisible world of bitcoin, and being 'in the realm of crypto,' I hoped it would give me access to President Nayib Bukele's surprise project. Last year he had suddenly declared Bitcoin the official currency of El Salvador - which until now was only the US dollar. The 40-year-old president of Palestinian origin started out as an anti-establishment candidate, describing himself as \"the world's coolest dictator,\" but soon took an authoritarian turn. Yet he continues drumming the bitcoin beat, and bitcoin celebrities from all around the world keep flocking to El Salvador. The Pacific beach town of El Zonte became "Bitcoin Beach," and "Volcano Bonds" and "Bitcoin City" are meant to be the future. When official doors remained closed for me, I started digging for clues in the county's troubled past and present or anything, even remotely related to the bitcoin world. Vignettes of the bloody civil war regularly popped up, and I came across a few "bitcoin events." The sudden spike of almost a hundred homicides in the course of one weekend in late March, due to what seemed a breakdown of a secret deal between the government and the two main gangs, had President Bukele declare a state of emergency, martial law and intensify the war on the gangs. I could see fringes of it. But nothing compared to the brutality of the spectacularly filmed daily government propaganda videos of mass arrests and more-than-rough prisoner handlings I watched on TV, Twitter, and Instagram. It was at a small bitcoin event that I found a hint why I may have been shunned and didn't get any access to show the \"shiny world of Bitcoin Nation," as I had hoped. My NFT ticket was definitely the "wrong church" in the Bitcoin world. To paraphrase one of the speakers: "If I want to gamble, I go to Vegas and party with beautiful hookers, instead of being a loser, sitting around in my basement, frustrated, minting NFTs. Shitcoins. "El Salvador and the President were meant to be guests of honor at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami. But due to the internal tension, he canceled the visit, and the 30+ thousand delegates had to discuss the future of bitcoin without him."

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Lúa Ribeira

Agony In The Garden

This series was made in various cities across the Spanish territory in collaboration with young people involved in the emerging Trap and Drill music scene. Both genres originated in the United States as an evolution of rap music and have transcended their initial context to become globally influential movements with local scenes emerging across the world (Spain, France, Italy, Australia, Ghana, Sweden, (.)) The music is often recognized for the nihilistic lyrical content and portraying a duality between a precarious life and one of luxury and fame that becomes tangible within the global-digital-online arena. It is the hedonism versus nihilism, the darkness versus joy, the glorification of wealth and banalization of violence that resonate as a response to the values, markets and structures within contemporary society in late capitalism. In Spain -a country with the highest youth unemployment rate in Europe- drill has become the first cultural boom that is not predominantly white. It is in cities like Madrid, Almeria or Granada where younger generations are exploring the music and the aesthetic of trap and drill and making it their own. Often represented as apolitical, performative, or superficial, my aim with the work is to read between the lines, to reflect on the emancipatory potential of a mainstream expression of our time and how it relates to the present context of a precarious job market, institutional violence, migratory, financial and environmental crisis. Embracing a performative collaboration that is integral to my work, I focussed on a series of gestures and landscapes to try and capture an atmosphere, hoping to transcend the idea of subculture and consider its value from a more enrooted perspective.

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Sabiha Çimen

Transfiguration: The Double Life of Şeyma

The impetus of this project grew out of my first book Hafız, about young girls who are memorizing Quran in schools through-out Turkey. Some marry and have children soon after graduation, but some rebel and transform themselves in a radical way; Şeyma is one of those stories of Transfiguration. This is a world known to me because I too studied in a Quran school with my twin sister in Istanbul when I was younger. When I returned to do my first long term photographic project l sought out familiar scenes and objects from my memory there and it was there that I met Şeyma and her unique and radical ways. My projects usually deal with the Art of Resistance within my close circle of friends and family. In my last project the young girls' trivialities and playfulness took center stage, and now as these girls enter into adulthood they are faced with living in a world of male dominance. Sometimes, as with Şeyma, there is a need for revenge with their new found power over men and their money and habits; an inner strength coming from raw female intellect, and sexuality. This time my project not only focuses on the girls stories, but lies within the context of a large city- Istanbul, with its multiple layers and meanings. l am trying to provide the viewer cause and effect by viewing the different strata simultaneously and between. In the story Şeyma l am portraying her world, her fantasies, her fears, hidden love stories, songs and signs, ancient traditions, religious black-outs, and her continued spirituality that was never lost even through her Transfiguration.

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Carolyn Drake and Andres Gonzalez

Ficciones

Ficciones is a collaborative project made by Carolyn Drake and Andres Gonzalez along the US Mexico border. We have been partners in life and work since we met in grad school in 2003. Our family histories can be reduced to familiar stories. Andres’ extended family migrated from Mexico to California over a period of decades, settling in the San Francisco Bay. Carolyn also has roots in California – European farmers who migrated West along the Oregon trail in the 19th century. We have both fought, and at times failed, to defy the stereotypes we fit into. And while we are repeatedly confounded by the ways our differing cultural backgrounds shape our behaviors, the next moment we are confounded by the ways we thwart them. The differences draw us together, but they are also a source of struggle, something we are constantly hashing out. The visual pairings we are making across the border reflect that struggle: to find balance, to relate, and to defy the expectations of our own storyline. We make pictures together yet apart, looking at almost the same things at almost the same time. We are drawn to the ways identity is negotiated in the borderlands – people and towns and waterways that are part one and part the other, perpetually divided and crossing between. The title Ficciones is a reminder that the border itself is not a natural condition; it is an imagined concept – albeit one that occupies physical, political, and psychological space. For the Magnum x Obscura Commission we worked in small towns on both sides of the border between Nogales and Brownsville/Matamoros.

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Lorenzo Meloni

The Kabuler

Afghanistan has been one of the most documented regions in the world for the last two decades, yet it remains a big mystery for the general audience who finds it hard to grasp the complete picture behind the constant reporting of breaking news. This collection of 55 NFT is the first part of “The Kabuler” project, in which Lorenzo Meloni partners with Cristina de Middel to produce a full panoramic photograph of the current situation of the country, borrowing the treatment that the media provide to other destinations and topics that are not under constant scrutiny. The project will use the sections of a traditional magazine to propose a complete overview of Afghanistan with an editorial structure, that should prevent the audience from falling again into dramatic expectations.

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Alessandra Sanguinetti

Aerolites

This work is an ode, a love letter to the often overlooked rural towns south of Buenos Aires. “These towns look like aerolites, pieces of inhabited stars that have fallen in the field. Upon arrival it could be said that we re-entered the town that we have just left behind, and that the trip was an illusion.” Ezequiel Martinez Estrada, “X-Ray of the Pampas”, 1933

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