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Announcing the 2020 Inge Morath Award

Magnum Foundation, Magnum Photos, and the Inge Morath Estate are pleased to announce Tamara Merino as the recipient of this year’s Inge Morath Award. She will receive a $5,000 production grant to support the completion of her long-term documentary project, Underland. For the first time in the award’s history, the finalist will receive a $1,000 grant in support of their project. The finalist this year is Neha Hirve.

© Tamara Merino from "Underland", 2020
© Tamara Merino
© Tamara Merino
© Tamara Merino

Tamara Merino is a documentary photographer and visual storyteller based in Chile, whose work focuses on human and socio-cultural issues and identity, all of which intersect in her documentation of subterranean communities.

Previously a finalist of the Inge Morath Award in the years 2016 and 2019, she continues to pursue this expanding body of work. She says:

Underneath the soil and away from the chaos of modern society exist hundreds subterranean communities where people still live in cave houses around the world. Though we all inhabit the globe in different ways, we all have a strong relationship with the environment that surrounds us. Each of the communities I have documented for Underland, from Australia to Spain to the United States, have its own socio-cultural, environmental, economical, and religious reasoning that leads them to live a life underground.

Tamara’s project was selected from a pool of one hundred and fourteen applications by the membership of Magnum Photos at their Annual General Meeting. Given each year to a woman photographer under the age of 30, the award honors the legacy of their colleague, Inge Morath.

© Neha Hirve
© Neha Hirve

As this year’s finalist, Neha Hirve is being recognized for her proposal In a light that is leaving, which tells the story of radical eco-activists in Hambach Forest fighting against the power company RWE.

Neha is an independent photographer based between Sweden and India. She focuses on the various relationships humans have to the earth, exploring the space between activism and action, interpretation and fact, and performance and reality.

Tamara and Neha’s work will be presented on Magnum Foundation’s blog in the coming months.

The Inge Morath Award, 2020 Guidelines

Visual storytellers need support now more than ever, and that’s why, we’re moving forward as scheduled with accepting proposals for the Inge Morath Award, a $5,000 grant given to a woman photographer under the age of 30 to support the completion of a long-term documentary project.

One Awardee and up to two finalists are selected by a jury composed of Magnum photographers and the Executive Director and staff of the Magnum Foundation and the Inge Morath Estate.

Inge Morath was an Austrian-born photographer who was associated with Magnum Photos for nearly fifty years. After her death in 2002, the Inge Morath Foundation was established with a limited-term mission to manage Morath’s estate and facilitate the study and appreciation of her contribution to photography. With the closure of the research space in 2014, Inge’s archive was acquired by the Beinecke Library at Yale University, and a set of Morath’s master prints by the Yale University Art Gallery, where they are now available to scholars.

Because Morath devoted much of her enthusiasm to encouraging women photographers, her colleagues at Magnum Photos established the Inge Morath Award in her honor. The Award is administered by the Magnum Foundation as part of its mission to expand creativity and diversity in documentary photography, in cooperation with the Inge Morath Estate.

Past winners of the Inge Morath Award recipients include:
Alex Potter (US, 19′), for Once a Nation, Melissa Spitz (US, 18′), for You Have Nothing to Worry AboutJohanna-Maria Fritz (Germany, ‘17), for Like a BirdDaniella Zalcman (US, ‘16), for Signs of Your Identity, Danielle Villasana (US, ’15), for A Light Inside, Shannon Jensen (US, ’14), for A Long Walk; Isadora Kosofsky (US, ’12), for Selections from “TheThree” and “This Existence;” Zhe Chen (China, ’11) for Bees; Lurdes R. Basolí (Spain, ’10) for Caracas, The City of Lost Bullets and Claire Martin (Australia, ’10) for Selections from The Downtown East Side and Slab City; Emily Schiffer (US, ’09) for Cheyenne River; Kathryn Cook (US, ’08) for Memory Denied: Turkey and the Armenian Genocide; Olivia Arthur (UK, ’07) for The Middle Distance; Jessica Dimmock (US, ’06) for The Ninth Floor; Mimi Chakarova (US, ’06) for Sex Trafficking in Eastern Europe; Claudia Guadarrama (MX, ’05) for Beforethe Limit; and Ami Vitale (US, ’02), for Kashmir.

IM Award Guidelines:

  1. All submissions must be made online using the interface at Submittable.com.
  2. The Award is given to a female photographer to complete a long-term documentary project. Proposals and accompanying material should present only the project for which the Award is being requested.
  3. All applicants must be under the age of 30 on April 30th, 2020 (in other words, if April 30th is your birthday, and you’re turning 30, then you’re no longer eligible to submit a proposal).
  4. Presentation guidelines and image specifications are noted on the Submittable page.

Submit here:

All IM Award submissions must be received by April 30th, 2020.


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