Plinth X Magnum Photos - An Interview with Paul Franklyn
Posted on November 02 2017
We are delighted to announce the launch of Plinth X Magnum Photos!
This fantastic collaboration, created to celebrate Magnum Photo's 70th anniversary, features some of their most iconic imagery. We met with Plinth's director, Paul Franklyn, to learn more about the partnership.
Magnum Photos Resin badge Set of 2
How did your relationship with Magnum Photos begin?
Chloe and I [Plinth co-founders] had long admired Magnum from afar - not only do they produce some of the best photography in the world, but their dual approach of journalism and 'fine art' has always proved particularly compelling for us. Once Plinth was up and running in earnest, it was a no-brainer to approach them with the proposal for a collaboration. 2017 provided the perfect excuse, as it marked the 70th anniversary of the agency.
It must have been hard choosing from a pool of such interesting and iconic photographers. How did you select the photographs/photographers to feature on these products?
We were faced with quite the challenge on that front! The Magnum archives are enormous, totalling more that one million images with over 500,000 online. Of course, we couldn’t go through the resource exhaustively, but our plan was always to be image-led when it came to designing the product range. Our motto became image meets object: we wanted the visual elements to feel naturally placed and not arbitrary, so searching by subject matter was a good starting point. For instance, a full English breakfast sits on a tray, a lipstick-y smile on a make-up bag; quite the opposite of constructing gags, we wanted to show how these images could slot seamlessly into everyday life.
Your manifesto talks of breaking cultural and socio-economic boundaries in the ‘art world.’ How are the products made with Magnum addressing these issues?
We’re really keen to do away with the snobbery and exclusionary atmosphere which creeps into the art world all too often. Our Magnum range is designed to be accessible - both in price and aesthetic - but crucially, to be useful, too. Art and photography needn’t be viewed within an ivory tower; they can sit on your dresser, or in your kitchen cupboard. Otherwise, there’s the very real danger that beautiful and interesting objects become the preserve of a cultural (not to mention financial) elite. Culture is inherently participatory - it has to come from, and be accessible to, as many people as possible.
What is your favourite piece from the partnership with Magnum?
Personally, I love the Martin Parr tray; there’s something very satisfying about the recursion of breakfasting on breakfast…
Can we look forward to seeing more products made in partnership with Magnum in the future?
We’re about to launch our second iteration of the range at a pop-up with Bon Marché, in Paris - Plinth’s first venture across the channel! The new pieces will continue in the spirit of the first offering, incorporating both classic and more contemporary, playful imagery.