All posts by Inge Morath Estate

Romanian Journal

Inge Morath: Romanian Journal

“I love voyages. Voyages where the going from one place to the other informs, allows one to go deeper. One day, in May of the year 1958, it became clear to me that to follow the Danube from its source to its end was one of those inevitable voyages.”

Inge Morath’s dream of traveling the length of the Danube River, begun in 1958, was not realized until 1995. In 1958, six of the nations bordering the river were led by Communist governments which placed severe limitations on Western photojournalists. As she later wrote, “Either one was refused a visa right away, or one got one only good for transit, or for a stay of one to three days but with restrictions as to the places one could visit.” Morath was denied even a transit visa to Hungary. To her surprise, however, she received permission to travel and photograph in Romania twice during 1958. Continue reading Romanian Journal

Inge Morath & Arthur Miller: China

Inge Morath & Arthur Miller: China

In 1978, only two years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, Inge Morath and her husband, playwright Arthur Miller, were invited to travel to China. They returned again in 1979 and 1983. Morath made some of her best-known images during these visits. Inge Morath & Arthur Miller: China is an exhibition of photographs by Morath accompanied by excerpts from Morath’s and Miller’s journals; she with her knowledge of Chinese language, poetry, and history, and he with his interest in the politics of the present moment.

Thematically, Inge Morath & Arthur Miller: China describes the reflections of two Americans, “well disposed and trying to see and listen,” as Miller wrote. The exhibition portrays their experience of China’s culture through meetings with its most notable representatives: actors, writers, painters, and others, many of whom had suffered during the Cultural Revolution. Continue reading Inge Morath & Arthur Miller: China

The Road to Reno

Inge Morath: The Road to Reno

The Road to Reno is a document of the 18 day trip across the United States, from New York City to Reno, Nevada, made by Inge Morath and Henri Cartier-Bresson en route to the set of The Misfits in 1960. Developed into a screenplay from a short story that he’d written, The Misfits was an “offering” from playwright Arthur Miller to actress Marilyn Monroe. In 1958, Miller presented the script to John Huston, who had earlier worked with Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle, and he agreed to direct the film. Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, and Eli Wallach signed on as the film’s co-stars, and producer Frank Taylor signed an exclusive contract with Magnum Photos to document the making of the film.

Photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, a founding member of Magnum Photos from France, and the Austrian born Inge Morath, who became a Magnum member in 1955, were the first of nine photographers selected to work on the set of the film. It was Morath’s first trip across the US, and they followed a southern route drawn on a map in red grease-pencil by Cartier-Bresson, through Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico, and California before heading north to Nevada. Continue reading The Road to Reno

School & Library Exhibition

Traveling School & Library Exhibition

In celebration of Inge Morath’s support for arts in education during her lifetime, the Inge Morath Foundation is pleased to announce the Traveling School & Library Exhibition program, a traveling exhibition of Inge Morath’s photographs. The exhibition presents 25 of Morath’s best known photographs, covering the full range of her work as an artist and photojournalist. The exhibition was developed with the interests of children in mind, and includes portraits, documents of near and faraway places, and images celebrating human creativity. While some schools have used the exhibition to supplement their arts programming, others have developed school-wide curriculum around it. The program was launched in January 2004, and has traveled to:

  • Kent School, Kent, CT (July 2004)
  • Rumsey Hall School, Washington Depot, CT (December 2004)
  • Dunbarton Elementary School, Dunbarton, NH (March 2005)
  • Souhegan High School, Amherst, NH (May 2005)
  • Milford High School, Milford, NH (June 2005)
  • Minor Memorial Library, Roxbury, CT (October 2005)
  • Chase Collegiate School, Waterbury, CT (November 2005)
  • Millbrook School, Milbrook, NY (January 2006)
  • Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, Brooklyn, NY (January 2007)
  • Taft School, Watertown, CT (February 2011)
  • Brimmer and May School, Chestnum Hill, MA (Spring 2011/tba)

“The Morath exhibit was a very positive experience for us. We felt lucky, indeed, to be chosen. The photographs looked wonderful in our library and inspired our students to look at photography in a new way.” Nancy Bennison, Goffstown High School The Traveling School & Library Exhibition: Photography by Inge Morath is framed and crated to museum standards, and is available free of charge to elementary and high-schools throughout the US. Frames are suitable for hanging, or the exhibition may be installed using sturdy aluminum stands provided by the Foundation. The exhibition is fully insured by the Inge Morath Foundation, and shipping is negotiable. If you are interested in participating in the tour of Inge Morath’s photographs, or if you have any questions about the program, please contact us: info@ingemorath.org.

Selected Images (1949 – 2002)

Inge Morath: Selected Images (1949 – 2002)

Gallery offline – updating soon

Inge Morath was a gifted photographer who could not resist infusing a touch of surrealism into her photographs. This playful element lifted her work above mere reportage by revealing the mysterious at work within the ordinary and the everyday. But there is a deeper thread that runs through Morath’s work, especially her larger projects, such as her photographs from Spain, the Middle East, Russia, or China, where, over a period of many years, she documented the clash between tradition and modernity.

Having lived through the devastation of the second World War, Inge Morath experienced its extended impact beyond geographical, political, and economic borders. She did not feel separated from her subjects by nationality or by religion. On the contrary, Morath’s knowledge of history and her facility with language allowed her to blend in. It resulted in her being invited into places where other outsiders might not be welcome. This is a key difference between her and many of her colleagues at Magnum, who preferred to keep a more “objective” distance from their subjects. Continue reading Selected Images (1949 – 2002)

Portraits & Personalities (1955 – 2001)

Inge Morath: Portraits & Personalities (1955 – 2001)

Gallery offline – updating soon

There is so much of my life in the faces in [these photographs]. If I had not looked into some of them my life would not have been the same. Quite a few of the faces I have known had to be left out of this collection and I do miss them. I asked to photograph these people because there was meaning for me in each of their persons, a feeling of closeness or admiration, a curiosity about them and their work, about how they carried their beauty or their fame, their isolation, their aging, their knowledge – in short, about how they faced the world. Most of these photographs were taken on my own initiative.

Occasionally this initiative was transformed into a gratefully accepted assignment by my having aroused the interest of an editor with the same inclinations. I like to go alone to these photographic meetings. A one-to-one meeting gives me the excitement of a first encounter, undiluted. In the ritual of getting acquainted, both people work harder at being seen as they wish to be seen, almost as one makes the critical assessment of oneself in a mirror, alone. At times the company of a friend helps to overcome some initial shyness. But the presence of lovers, wives, husbands, children often provokes a protective reaction in the subject. In reacting to more than one pair of eyes, to more than one relationship, a veil is drawn rather than lifted. Sometimes a familiar face seen in a new light is rediscovered. I delight in these encounters.

From Portraits. Photographs by Inge Morath. Aperture: New York, 1986.

Iran (1956)

Inge Morath: Iran (1956)

Gallery offline – updating soon

Interview with Inge Morath by Kurt Kaindl, Salzburg, 1992

I wanted to photograph the Silk Road, to follow Marco Polo’s traces to China. I thought it would be a good idea to start in Iran. So, I told Holiday Magazine that I would like to photograph Iran; that was in 1956. I was also very interested in the region, in old civilizations which are suddenly overbalanced by modern times. Iran was a country where they had started to build factories, but a lot was still medieval.

Robert Delpire came with me to Iran because he wanted to make a book. Later he left, and I finished the project on my own. It was crazy, because at that time it was very complicated for women to travel alone in the Middle East. I was always very considerate of how people live. In Iran, I wore the chador and long trousers with a gown, and paid I attention to customs. If you don’t respect what people do, you should not photograph them. Continue reading Iran (1956)

Inge Morath’s La Galondrina in NY Times

Inge Morath La Galondrina featured in NY Times

In time for New York’s annual Flamenco Festival, which starts on Thursday, an exhibition has just opened, split between two places. It shows flamenco in photographs, some of them dating to the 19th century.

There is little to distinguish tone and content between the show at the Aperture Gallery in Chelsea and that at the Amster Yard Gallery at Instituto Cervantes in Turtle Bay; it’s best to see them in quick succession. The overall title is “No Singing Allowed: Flamenco and Photography” (although, when I visited the Aperture Gallery, some old flamenco recordings could be heard in the background — I thought I recognized the voice of La Niña de los Peines, the most enthralling of all flamenco singers on record). The curator is José Lebrero.

Read the full article.

Azar Nafisi: The Mystery in Her Own Eyes

The Mystery in Her Own Eyes: Extracts from a Conversation with Azar Nafisi

Interview with Azar Nafisi by John P. Jacob. From Inge Morath: Iran, Göttingen: Steidl, 2009.

Please also view the slideshow.

As an Iranian born writer on literature, who is also deeply interested in the role of women within civic society, I invited Azar Nafisi to comment on Inge Morath’s photographs of Iran from a variety of perspectives; historical as well as political, personal as well as cultural. As an writer and social critic, Nafisi shares with Morath a common set of intellectual concerns. Both are motivated by the larger historical movements of the 20th century, and both approach the study of the cultures that have been transformed by such movements through their creative output, particularly their literature and poetry. In approaching Morath’s photographs, I asked Nafisi to consider, on the one hand, how Morath might have prepared for her visit to Iran, and what impact a consciousness largely shaped by its literature might have on the photographs she made there. On the other hand, I asked her to imagine a contemporary, non-Iranian viewer of Morath’s images, whose knowledge of Nafisi’s homeland has been shaped in large part through the media coverage, much of it photographic, of recent political events in Iran. Balancing these, during our conversation, in Washington, DC on October 27th, 2008, Nafisi provided both an objective context for encountering Morath’s photographs and a sincerely personal response to them.

John Jacob [hereafter JJ]: Inge Morath came to Iran in 1956. After the war, and following the coup of 1953, the late ’50s were a period of relative stability for the country. Continue reading Azar Nafisi: The Mystery in Her Own Eyes

Inge Morath, Iran

Inge Morath: Iran

Preface by John P. Jacob, Inge Morath Foundation. From Inge Morath: Iran, Göttingen: Steidl, 2009. Please also view the slideshow. The place I longed to know had no political name. Inge Morath, 1990 ((Morath, Inge, in “Preface,” Russian Journal. (New York: Aperture Foundation, 1991), p. 7.)) Inge Morath came to Paris in 1949, to join Magnum Photos as a researcher and editor. She relocated to London in 1951, and was there apprenticed to Simon Guttman, founder of the legendary Dephot Agency in Berlin, where Robert Capa began his career as a photographer. After a few years selling her pictures under the pseudonym Agni Tharom – her own name spelled backward – Morath returned to Paris, and in 1953 she presented her photographs to Capa. He invited her to join Magnum as an associate member. She worked as an assistant to Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1954, and in ‘55, the year that she became a full member of Magnum Photos, traveled extensively in Europe. Being a greenhorn, as Morath later noted, most of her early assignments were jobs that did not interest Magnum’s “big boys.” ((Morath, Inge, in Magnum Stories. Chris Boot, ed. (New York: Phaidon, 2004), p. 339.)) In 1956, Morath made two trips to the Middle East for Holiday Magazine, one of Magnum’s most important clients. The assignment was a notable professional achievement for Morath, as it was among the earliest to take her outside Europe (she had traveled to South Africa in 1955, and would also go to the US and Mexico in ‘56). During March and April of that year she traveled to Iran, the partial fulfillment of her long-held dream to travel the Silk Road from Europe, through Persia, to China. After a brief return to Paris, she traveled on to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Israel. The article that her photographs would accompany, with a text by foreign correspondent Alan Moorehead, was published in the December issue of Holiday. ((Alan McCrae Moorehead (22 July 1910 – 29 September 1983) had won an international reputation for his coverage of the Middle East during the Second World War.)) For Morath, she later wrote, it was the beginning of “the time of big stories and far-flung trips.” ((Morath, Inge, in “Berlin Lecture.” Undated manuscript, Archives, Inge Morath Foundation, New York, p. 26.)) Continue reading Inge Morath, Iran