Category Archives: IM Magazine

A monthly presentation of new work by invited young women photographers.

Dana Romanoff: Wife of the God

Dana Romanoff (USA): Wife of the God
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2006

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“Wife of God” is about a controversial practice of African traditional religion, known as Trokosi, amongst the Ewe people in Ghana, Togo, and Benin. Ewe families suffering misfortunes bring females to shrines to reconcile with a god who is angry because of a crime committed by an ancestor. The females, often young virgins, live at the shrine and “marry” the deity to atone for the crime and appease the angry god. The women and girls are called fiashidi, which in the Ewe language means “wife of god.” Christian based organizations, internationally and in Ghana, say the fiashidi are slaves. Continue reading Dana Romanoff: Wife of the God

Mimi Chakarova: Sex Trafficking in Eastern Europe

Mimi Chakarova (USA): Sex Trafficking in Eastern Europe
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2005

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I had already begun investigating the subject in Eastern Europe, an area I’m familiar with since I grew up in communist Bulgaria and immigrated to the U.S. after its collapse. Nevertheless, the U.S. State Department estimates that each year approximately 800,000 to 900,000 people are trafficked across international borders worldwide and that “no country is immune from trafficking.” The central question of method arose: how to document and interpret a unique manifestation of a widespread phenomenon? My goal in telling these complicated stories in photo reportage is to gather information truthfully, present it in a cohesive manner that would allow a multifaceted public to react in ways that encourage a democratic and international discourse. Continue reading Mimi Chakarova: Sex Trafficking in Eastern Europe

Jessica Dimmock: The Ninth Floor

Jessica Dimmock (USA): The Ninth Floor
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2005

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The Ninth Floor documents a group of heroin users that were living in the apartment of a former millionaire turned heroin user, Joe Smith, 63, in the flatiron district of Manhattan. Joe, the lease holder of the apartment, had allowed one of his young tricks to take a spare bedroom in his 3 bedroom apartment several years ago.

By the time that I met them in the fall of 2004, nearly 15 people were living in the apartment at a time – Joe had given up his bedroom and stayed on a dirty sofa in the living room opting to take a teaspoon of methadone, a daily bag of dope, a beer or several cigarettes in exchange for rent. Electrical cords snaked through dark hallways to fill each room with the light of one lone bulb, bookshelves and tables had been stripped of all potentially valuable items to be sold on the street to get money to feed habits, the dead cat found in the bathroom took more than 2 weeks to remove, and the people moved through the halls, past each other, wearing their addictions like chipping armor while their personalities and character remained further and further unearthed and unfed. Continue reading Jessica Dimmock: The Ninth Floor

Shannon Taggart: The Spiritualists

Shannon Taggart (USA): The Spiritualists
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2005

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I asked these spirit figures if I was seeing them or if I was seeing what was in my own brain. They answered “both.”
-Eileen Garrett, twentieth century medium

Spiritualism is a loosely organized religion based primarily on a belief in the ability to communicate with spirits of the dead. I first became aware of Spiritualism as a teenager after my cousin received a reading from a Spiritualist medium. This woman revealed a strange family secret about my grandfather’s death that proved to be true. Since then I have been deeply curious about how someone could possibly know such a thing. Continue reading Shannon Taggart: The Spiritualists

Yue Ren: Gay Scene in Beijing

Yue Ren (China): Gay Scene in Beijing
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2005

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One of my good friends is a gay, whose emotional life is very complex. There are several times he want to suicide. I don’t know how to help him, but to be more close to him, so I begin to document his life use my camera. I do this work for two years, and the story broadened out. I know many this kind of people, when we become friends; I decide to continue this work as my long-term project.

Although china became more and more open, gay in china still has a difficult life because they are not being understand. Gay are still not accepted in Chinese society, not even in Beijing. Although April 20, 2001, Chinese Psychiatric Association issued the third edition of “standard of classify and diagnose for Chinese psychosis ”, and dropped homosexuality from a list of psychiatric disorders, Public opinion is still prejudiced against gay. So they are afraid of telling their families and friends the truth. Being “in the closet” causes emotional instability, and the gay bars of the Chinese capital are the only place to meet likeminded people. Every weekend, 200 to 300 gays gather in On Off, Beijing’s biggest gay meeting place and the starting point for many one-night stands. The other problem for them is the AIDS. One survey in 2001 shows that there is 5.9% of the gays in china have infected AIDS. Continue reading Yue Ren: Gay Scene in Beijing

Claudia Guadarrama: Before the Limit

Claudia Guadarrama (Mexico): Before the Limit
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2004

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“He who has seen hope, will never forget it. He seeks for it under every sky and among all men. And he dreams that one day he will find it again, He doesn’t know where maybe among his own kin. In each and every human being is the possibility to be or more accurate, to be again another man.” – Octavio Paz

Every day hundred of undocumented migrants mostly from Central American countries try to cross Mexico on a journey fraught with danger, risking their lives to fulfill the dream of a better life as workers in the United States. This journey through Mexico begins in Chiapas at the shared border between Mexico and Guatemala, where migration controls are minimal; being a very rough geographic zone where migrants can easily cross illegally. There are no official records about the number of people crossing the Mexican border illegally everyday; the only official data is the number of migrants detained by Mexican authorities and send back to their original country. This year, 96,013 illegal migrants were caught crossing the Chiapas border, 44.5% of the total amount of detention in the whole of the Mexican territory. Continue reading Claudia Guadarrama: Before the Limit

Ami Vitale: Kashmir

Ami Vitale (USA): Kashmir
Inge Morath Award Recipient, 2002

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The Himalayan region of Kashmir, nestled between India and Pakistan has been called “a paradise on earth” ever since the 16th century when Mughal emperors discovered its pristine beauty and made it their summer capital. Indians took their annual pilgrimages to escape the heat of the oppressive, dusty plains and British colonizers found their way around a law that prohibited outsiders from owning land by building floating houseboats on the idyllic lakes. Today Kashmir is more famous for being the axis of relations between India and Pakistan, a “nuclear flashpoint” that could spark an unthinkable war in South Asia.

The conflict has eroded much that once defined Kashmir. Hindus and Muslims once shared neighborhoods, schools, and close friendships, but nearly all the Hindus fled Indian-governed Kashmir after being threatened by Muslim militants, and are now scattered across India. Sufism, which exerted a gentle influence on Kashmiri Islam for more than a dozen generations, has been gradually pushed aside by the fanatical Sunni Islam practiced by militants from Pakistan. For centuries, Kashmir’s Mughal gardens and wooden houseboats offered diversions to weary rulers. But leisure has vanished from Kashmir. No one visits, and fear has tainted the lives of those who make their homes amid its apple and apricot orchards, in its meadows and in the creases of its mountains. Continue reading Ami Vitale: Kashmir