Inge Morath: Refugees in the Middle EastGallery offline - updating soon In 1957, Yul Brynner starred in The Journey, a movie about the Hungarian Revolution directed by Anatole Litvak. Filmed in Austria, the actors included a group of refugees, displaced from their homes during the Revolution, cast as extras. Magnum photographers Inge Morath and Ernst Haas, Austrian natives who had worked together in Vienna during the early post-war years, were assigned to the set, and Morath—always drawn to the mise en scène—made a series of compelling portraits of the refugee actors. Brynner later wrote that the film marked his first real encounter with refugees. Two years later, the United Nations declared 1959 World Refugee Year, and Brynner was recruited as Special Consultant to UN High Commissioner for Refugees "to assist in efforts to bring to the attention of people all over the world the problems of refugees and the possibilities for their solution." A serious photographer himself—his pictures were distributed by Magnum Photos—Brynner invited Inge Morath to travel with him to refugee camps in Europe and the Middle East. Continue reading Refugees in the Middle East (1960)
Lost and Found: Inge Morath First ColorBy Gemma Padley. Published in Amateur Photographer, January 27, 2010. When you think of photojournalism from long ago, do you immediately think in colour or black & white? Perhaps Robert Capa’s heroic war images or W Eugene Smith’s photo essays spring to mind. Yet while photojournalists of the 1950s and ’60s were capturing events in black & white, they were also documenting life in colour. Inge Morath photographed in both black & white and colour from the beginning of her career. She produced a phenomenal number of photographs, but much of her colour work lay undiscovered for many years. Most published collections of her work featured predominantly black & white images, with very little of her colour work being shown during her lifetime. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding Inge’s displaced colour photography, John Jacob, curator at the Inge Morath Foundation, set out to track down her ‘lost’ colour images in 2007. The result is the recently published book First Color, featuring a selection of Inge’s colour work. While not intended to be a complete record of her colour work – an almost impossible task, says John – the book sheds light on Inge’s working methods and provides a fascinating historical look at colour photojournalism. Continue reading Gemma Padley: Lost and Found
Inge Morath: First ColorAfterword by John P. Jacob, Inge Morath Foundation. From Inge Morath: First Color, Göttingen: Steidl, 2009. Please also see the slideshow. Inge Morath’s achievements, during the early years of her career as a photographer, were significant. After an apprenticeship in London with Simon Guttman, founder of the legendary Dephot Agency, followed by two years as a researcher and assistant to Henri Cartier-Bresson, in 1955 Morath was the first woman to become a full member of Magnum Photos. ((Morath came to Mangum in 1949, as a researcher and editor. She relocated to London in ‘51, and began her apprenticeship with Guttman around that time. Morath was likely introduced to Guttman by Robert Capa, who had learned photography from him in the early 1930s. It was certainly Capa who suggested that Morath train with Cartier-Bresson during her first years as a Magnum photographer. Eve Arnold was the first woman to become associated with Magnum as a photographer, in 1951, but she did not join as a full member until 1957.)) Like many of her Magnum colleagues, Morath was motivated by a fundamental humanism, shaped as much by the experience of war as by its lingering shadow over post-war Europe. This motivation grew, in Morath’s mature work, into a motif, as she documented the endurance of the human spirit under situations of duress and transformation. If a thread can be said to run through her work from beginning to end, it is the marvel of human creativity, which Morath both recorded and exemplified in her photography. Throughout her career, publishing was the primary means by which Inge Morath sought to reach her audience. In all, Morath published more than thirty monographs, as well as numerous anthologies and, in keeping with her work as a photojournalist, stories in a wide variety of picture magazines. From an historical perspective—contrasting whole bodies of pictures with their highly edited, published counterparts—the breadth of Morath’s publishing activity provides key insights into the ways that she thought about her work, both as individual images and as an oeuvre spanning fifty years. An overview of Morath’s publications is particularly revealing in relation to her work in color. Continue reading Inge Morath, First Color
The Mystery in Her Own Eyes: Extracts from a Conversation with Azar NafisiInterview 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