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.
The exhibition focuses on Morath’s encounter with America, and includes a selection of photographs made on location in Reno during the filming of The Misfits. The exhibition is accompanied by excerpts from Morath’s journal and caption books, as well as an essay by Arthur Miller, to whom Morath was married in 1962. Morath’s photographs and texts, Miller writes, “are so wonderfully observed and at the same time charmingly naive, as she was still fresh in her American experience.”
“Morath’s trip took place… less than a year after the publication in the United States of The Americans by Robert Frank. She, like Frank, was seeing America for the first time. While her view of the country and its inhabitants does not shy away from strangeness, it is altogether lighter, more wide-eyed and without implication. What she sees does not appear symptomatic of any larger condition. Frank seems to diagnose; she accepts. The Road to Reno [is] an engrossing exhibition. Anyone interested in photography or film near midcentury will profit from seeing it.” Alan G. Artner, Chicago Times, 4/29/2005.
Please also see the slideshow: Inge Morath, The Road to Reno
– Nevada Art Museum, Reno, NV 2007
– Albin O. Kuhn Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 2007
– Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL 2005
– Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China 2005