Category Archives: IM Mag 2018/2019

Peyton Fulford: Infinite Tenderness

Peyton Fulford (USA): Infinite Tenderness
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2018


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I grew up in a religious household in a small southern town. My mother was raised in the Sanctified Holy Church and my father was raised Southern Baptist. As a result of the strict beliefs I had been taught since birth, I did not feel comfortable coming out as queer until I was 21 years old.

For the majority of my life, I was unsure where I belonged in the world. It was difficult to navigate the space I was growing up in because I could not relate to it or understand my place within it. I never felt like my truest, most open self when conforming to the culture and ideologies around me. As I came to terms with my own identity, the photo series Infinite Tenderness came to fruition.

In 2016, I began exploring the notion of intimacy and identity among the LGBTQ+ community in the American South. These are the people I have met and connected with along the way. Through this work, I am documenting the exploration of one’s body, sexuality, and gender that comes along with growing up and identifying oneself.

My intention is to empower others and create an accepting space for queer kids that grow up in small towns and rural areas. Each individual in this series is dependent on another for support and understanding of their ever-changing identities. This is a visual representation of today’s American youth.

Melissa Spitz: You Have Nothing to Worry About

Melissa Spitz (USA): You Have Nothing to Worry About
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2018


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Since 2009, I have been making photographs of my mentally ill, substance-abusing mother. Her diagnoses change frequently—from alcoholism to dissociative identity disorder—and my relationship with her has been fraught with animosity for as long as I can remember. I am fully aware that my mother thrives on being the center of attention and that, at times, our portrait sessions encourage her erratic behavior.

My brother and I used to leave notes all over the house for our mother, one said, “Reminder: You Have Nothing to Worry About! Be Fucking Happy!” That phrase, You Have Nothing to Worry About, became our mantra, and the title for this body of work.

The photographs are simultaneously upsetting and encouraging; honest and theatrical; loving and hateful. By turning the camera toward my mother and my relationship with her, I capture her behavior as an echo of my own emotional response. The images function like an ongoing conversation.

You Have Nothing to Worry About has acted like a mirror for my mother and she attributes seeing the photographs as her reason for seeking help with alcohol abuse. The project’s Instagram @nothing_to_worry_about has spurred a community of mothers and daughters discussing addiction and mental health in the home. Today it has over fifty-five thousand followers, who contribute their own stories regularly, 90% of them identify as women.