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Inge Morath
Date: American (b. Austria) 1923-2002
Biography:

Inge Morath was born in Graz, and educated in France and Germany. She studied languages at the Universities of Berlin and Bucharest, and worked as an editorial translator and interpreter for the U.S. Information Service Publications in Salzburg, and then as a radio writer and as literary editor for Vienna's Der Optimist magazine. In 1952, she apprenticed in London to Simon Guttmann, a major figure in photojournalism and one of the founders of Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung; in 1954 Morath joined Magnum, the cooperative photo agency founded in 1947 by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger, and Chim (David Seymour). She was assistant to Cartier-Bresson in 1953-54. More than a dozen books resulted from her travels in the following thirty years, including Fiesta in Pamplona (1954), Tunisia (1961), In Russia (1969), and Chinese Encounters (1979), and her warm and intimate portraits were reproduced in such magazines as LIFE, Paris-Match, Saturday Evening Post, and Holiday. She moved to the United States in 1962, and married the playwright Arthur Miller. Two monographs on her work, Inge Morath (1975) and Portraits by Inge Morath (1986) have been published, and a retrospective of her work traveled in Europe in 1993-94.

Something conversational emanates from Morath's black-and-white portraits of artists, writers and other members of the cultural elite who reveal themselves before her camera. Morath researches her subjects and cultivates their trust and openness before asking to photograph them in their homes, among their personal possessions. She first saw Saul Steinberg's drawings published in The New Yorker in the late 1940s, and a decade later became fascinated by the paper masks of faces he drew. She made numerous photographs of friends wearing Steinberg's masks.

Meredith Fisher

Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, pp. 222-223.