All posts by Inge Morath Estate

Inge Morath: Iran Blog Reviews

Inge Morath: Iran Blog Reviews

The IM Foundation’s recent publication, Inge Morath: Iran (Steidl, 2009), has recently been the subject of several interesting reviews. The Foundation began its work on Iran in 2005, and the book was finally published in ’09, after extensive research. Presenting more than 300 photographs and a selection of related documents from Morath’s archive, it is a deep look into one of her early assignments, the first to take her outside Europe. Starting with a commission from Holiday Magazine, Morath traveled in Iran with Robert Delpire during 1956; two years later Delpire published Morath’s second monograph, De La Perse a l’Iran. The new book, published by Steidl, greatly expands on the earlier, and its accompanying texts seek to place this largely unknown body

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of photographs within the larger field of photojournalism. Edited and with an introduction by Inge Morath Foundation director John Jacob, with additional texts by Monika Faber and Azar Nafisi. Carpet Ride | 1950’s Iran in the New York Times’ T Magazine Understanding Iran: the Photos of Inge Morath in The Perceptive Traveler Inge Morath: Iran in Daylight Magazine New Photo Book Travels Iran in 1956 in A Traveler’s Library

Heute with Ernst Haas (1949)

Heute with Ernst Haas (1949)


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Introduction by Warren Trabant

In early 1948, as editor of Heute, a picture magazine published in Munich, I visited Vienna with the purpose of hiring someone to serve as my correspondent there. I chose a young lady with the most frightful hairdo and the brightest, most intelligent eyes I had ever encountered. She turned out to be a good correspondent. A few months later a packet of the most extraordinary pictures arrived on my desk. They depicted a pathetic group of Viennese mothers at a train station searching for their sons who had been taken prisoners of way by the Russians and who were being released at regular intervals at that time. The pictures were so very striking that I picked up the phone, called my Viennese correspondent, and asked if the photographer of these pictures would be available if I came to Vienna.

She said he most certainly would be. I was on the next train for Vienna. That night Inge Morath brought Ernst Haas to my hotel. We sat in the very elegant, empty basement bar of the Bristol Hotel (then occupied by the American Army) talking about photography, philosophy, life and whatever else came to our minds until early in the morning. As I recall we consumed an endless stream of fried shrimps and champagne which was all that was available in the hotel restaurant that night. Ernst worked for Heute from that day until I left the magazine two years later. During that first year I took him and Inge to Paris to meet my friend Bob Capa who, with his year old “association of photographers” he called Magnum, had been providing Heute with the finest pictures available in those days. Ernst was, of course, voted into Magnum, and Inge became a “researcher” for them. She eventually began taking her own pictures as well as writing, and she also became a Magnum member.

© Warren Trabant, August 1987

China (1978 – 83)

Inge Morath: China (1978 – 83)


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Introduction by Arthur Miller

This is not about the Cultural Revolution and its consequences, which, like the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, will be sifted by generations of scholars and made to confirm a thousand different conclusions. It is a witness, neither more nor less, of two people encountering the collapse of an orthodoxy at the very time when the faithful were emerging from the fallen temple with blinking eyes, trying to make out ordinary objects in the no longer charmed, unearthly light of ordinary days.

It is the moment when the great choirs of worshipers are stilled, when the mountains have ceased to dance (as some insist they did), and Necessity once again is deaf to all rhapsodic persuasions and will yield only to accountants and engineers, and the kind of people who may get things done but can never believe in what they cannot touch and see. And this too will pass into yet other permutations.

Here, then, is a bit of how it was for two people, well disposed and trying to see and listen, at the particular moment when the dust of the temple began to settle.

© Arthur Miller, from Chinese Encounters, New York: Farrar Straus Girous, 1979.

Emily Schiffer: Cheyenne River

Emily Schiffer (USA): Cheyenne River
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2009

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In 2005, I founded a photography program for youths on Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. In this ongoing program, my students and I photograph together, share our images while they’re still in the viewfinder, and operate as both subjects and photographers. Our favorite locations are the fields and abandoned buildings on the fringes of town, forgotten places thick with the past that lend themselves to imaginary games and textured photographs. Amidst the dichotomy of a vast landscape confined by its remoteness, my images seek to explore the unique ability of children to experience love and joy alongside of pain. Over the course of four years, we have documented our relationships with one another and this land. Accordingly, though my images stand on their own, their validity and meaning are tied to the mutual context of their creation. Ultimately these images will be exhibited alongside the children’s work, which present the other parts of the whole. Continue reading Emily Schiffer: Cheyenne River

Jenn Ackerman: Trapped, Mental Illness in America’s Prisons

Jenn Ackerman (USA): Trapped, Mental Illness in America’s Prisons
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2009

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“We (prisons) are the surrogate mental hospitals now,” says Larry Chandler, warden at the Kentucky State Reformatory.

Unfortunately, this situation is not unique to Kentucky. The continuous withdrawal of mental health funding has turned jails and prisons across the U.S. into the default mental health facilities. The system designed for security is now trapped with treating mental illness and the mentally ill are often trapped inside the system with nowhere else to go.

A 2006 report by the U.S. Department of Justice shows that the number of Americans with a mental illness incarcerated in the nation’s prisons and jails is disproportionately high. Almost 555,000 people with mental illness are incarcerated while fewer than 55,000 are being treated in designated mental health hospitals. Continue reading Jenn Ackerman: Trapped, Mental Illness in America’s Prisons

Kathryn Cook: Memory Denied, Turkey and the Armenian Genocide

Kathryn Cook (USA): Memory Denied, Turkey and the Armenian Genocide
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2008

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In the early 1900s, as the Ottoman Empire was disintegrating, a fiercely nationalistic “Young Turks” movement took power. With the Empire’s fall, the multi-cultural attitude that had made it one of the world’s great cosmopolis became eclipsed by the fledgling government’s dream of a “pan-Turkic” country – a Turkish-speaking nation extending far beyond the Caspian Sea to the Siberian steppe.

As with all ideologies, them taking hold and taking root means the termination of what doesn’t fit into the new identity. On April 24, 1915 the Committee of Union and Progress issued a deportation order to have hundreds of Armenian intellectuals rounded up and removed. Once the order was complete, they were murdered. This act set in motion the extermination of Turkey’s Armenian population. Continue reading Kathryn Cook: Memory Denied, Turkey and the Armenian Genocide

Leonie Purchas: In the Shadow of Things

Leonie Purchas (UK): In the Shadow of Things
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2008

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Since graduating from LCC, I have been photographing the inner workings of families from different parts of the world. Last year, I finally turned my camera on my own family.

Exploring a fascination with family dynamics, and hierarchical relationships, my work looks at how the individual emerges from the structure of the family, through the complex interplay of nature and nurture. Yet as the project developed, I began to feel that despite the intimate access I was gaining into people’s lives, I was guilty of denying the importance of my own presence in the creation of the photographs. Last year I decided to turn my camera on my own family and myself. The work to date represents the first chapter of this project. Continue reading Leonie Purchas: In the Shadow of Things

Olivia Arthur: The Middle Distance

Olivia Arthur (UK): The Middle Distance
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2007

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Five countries lie across the border between Europe and Asia: Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia. The project focuses particularly on young women, looking at a stage in life when they have to make decisions between education, work and family. I feel that the opportunities and restrictions on young women at this stage is a huge indicator of the society they live in.

My interest in this subject began while I was working as a freelance photographer in India. Originally I hadn’t wanted to work on stories about women, but as I travelled the country on other assignments, I continually found myself coming into contact with women trodden down by the society around them. Continue reading Olivia Arthur: The Middle Distance

Alice Smeets: Growing Up in Haiti

Alice Smeets (Belgium): Growing Up in Haiti
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2008

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In 1804 Haiti drew attention by becoming the first black republic to declare independence, while today it attracts attention for its struggles with poverty and corruption. Even though in the past Haiti’s individualism symbolized the ambitions of the world’s enslaved people, they made no effort to inspire or to help other slave rebellions because of the fear that the great powers could retaliate against them. For the sake of national survival, nonintervention became a Haitian tenet. As a result it is nowadays the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and has witnessed many corrupt leaders as well as substantial exploitation by foreign governments, especially by the United States and France. The country has always been considered as a place where anyone enriches himself of the backs of the poor, whilst major powers supported dictators to maintain their dominance in order to continue exploiting the country. It is the archetypal example of a system that sees the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

It is perhaps no surprise that Haiti has been ranked as the most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International in 2006. The nation has lost faith in their leaders. Continue reading Alice Smeets: Growing Up in Haiti

Rena Effendi: Pipe Dreams

Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan): Pipe Dreams, A Chronicle of Lives Along the Pipeline in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2007

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Pipe Dreams evolved from a long-term documentary project documenting my country’s post-Soviet turmoil in which I saw how corruption, poverty, and war were all related to and fed by oil and gas. Over the past two years the story has developed into a chronicle extending across three countries, through five active conflict zones, and links governments, oil corporations, and the citizens of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in an experiment not only in engineering, but manipulation of human lives.

Refugees, unemployment, ethnic and religious friction, corruption, poverty – this is the reality which surrounds the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Stretching more than 1,700 kilometres, its complex route was determined by delicate maneuvering through a minefield of unresolved conflicts and competing geopolitical agendas. Continue reading Rena Effendi: Pipe Dreams