Tag Archives: IM Magazine 2018 – 2019

Emily Kinni: The Bus Stop

Emily Kinni (USA): The Bus Stop
Inge Morath Award Finalist, 2018


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Huntsville, Texas is a prison town with 11 different prison units of varying degrees of security. The industry is one of the most prominent in the town both geographically and economically. The Walls Unit is the oldest prison in the state,which includes the currently active execution chamber. The Walls unit (the biggest unit in Huntsville) also serves as a regional release center for the state meaning many men are bussed in from other parts of Texas to be released.

On average there are 100 to 150 releases a day Monday through Friday. If the individual doesn’t have a family member picking them up they walk a block away to a designated Greyhound bus station and wait for their ride out of town. They can be easily identified in the town because they are wearing church donated clothes, often reffered to as “clown clothes” and have their belongings typically in red onion bags.

I have been going to this bus stop and photographing men interested in sharing their stories with me. I take their portrait on film, and then two polaroids, one for me and one for them to take with them making it more of an exchange. I was the most curious about this particular couple of hours while they wait for their bus to come to take them to the next phase of their lives. In particular, I wanted to begin to photographically explore the liminality of these few hours, and to question their sense of identity, and the meaning of freedom especially with a high recidivism state rate.

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.