The nine recipients of the Inge Morath Award* will travel along the Danube River this July and August in a large truck which has been converted into a mobile photography gallery. The truck will house a selection of images from renowned Magnum photographer Inge Morath, photographs she made in communities along the Danube throughout her career. The tour will travel through ten countries from the Black Forest to the Black Sea.
Along the tour route the award-winning photographers – Olivia Arthur (UK), Emily Schiffer (USA), Lurdes R. Basoli (Spain), Claudia Guadarrama (Mexico), Ami Vitale (US), Jessica Dimmock (US), Mimi Chakarova (Bulgaria), Kathryn Cook (US) and and Australian Claire Martin – will hold artist talks, photo forums and cultural exchanges with local institutions and organisations. Following the tour they will embark on the creation of new works to be exhibited in 2015.
Martin tells me the original concept for the project came after Arthur, Schiffer and Basoli read Inge Morath’s diaries. They agreed a legacy project retracing Morath’s steps would be a wonderful way to bring the images of this pioneering female photographer back to the communities in which she worked. Two years later their idea is about to become a reality.
“One of the main premises for this project comes from the challenge of getting work back to the people or the communities who are photographed,” explains Martin who is part of the organizing team. “They are often excluded from the final outcome of the pictures and that’s where the truck concept came in. We will be taking Inge’s images back to the villages, towns and cities she photographed in, so it will be an historical retrospective for these communities.”
She says the intention is to exhibit Inge’s photographs and showcase the work of women photographers working along the tour route, work that will be chosen from the global call for submissions that is currently taking place. The creation of new work by each of the Award winners will also aid in continuing “the photographic legacy of the region”.
“The Inge Morath Award promotes women’s photography and that’s where the focus on local submissions come in,” Martin says. “We are going to curate local women’s work as we know they will have a far greater knowledge of the region and have far more developed bodies of work”. The call for submissions extends until the 20th June and Martin and her tour companions are keen to see work from both emerging and established women photographers. They are throwing the net wide and will assess everything from conceptual work to classic documentary and hardcore photojournalism. “We are not being prescriptive, but are looking for the best work”.
The interior of the truck will act as a gallery and also workshop space. The outer panel will be used as a screen for night projections to be held in public spaces. It is here the curated submissions will be shown along with the work of the Inge Morath Award winners.
It is anticipated that every few days the truck will stop at “institutions both small and large along the route on the River. We are opening the truck to the public, hosting forums, doing portfolio reviews in some places, and artist talks in others. In the evening we will have night projections within the public sphere, which will be almost like a public installation”.
Martin says a documentary filmmaker will film the tour also. “It’s a big girl road trip. There’s going to be three kids, pregnant women…we want to show that with a change in culture women can have children, a personal life, and still create amazing work. We want to celebrate that and curate a body of work that has a really strong perspective of the region through women’s eyes”.
Fundación Telefónica is one of the major sponsors, but the women are also reaching out to their networks through Kickstarter, as a tour of this magnitude is not a cheap exercise. They have also received invaluable assistance from their network partners, the Inge Morath Foundation in New York and Fotohof in Austria, who have aided in putting the itinerary together. Magnum Foundation has also lent its weight in promoting the project.
“It’s been really exciting working with these other women,” says Martin whose enthusiasm for the project is palpable. “We’re all on the same page and it has been a really amazing learning process, particularly in how to work with partnerships. Working collaboratively can strengthen and expand and grow things. Our network partners have shared so much knowledge and information about Inge’s work and the towns along the River. When you come together with people amazing things can happen that are more expansive and different to when you soldier on alone.”
To find out more about this unique project visit the Danube Revisited website danuberevisited.com
*The Inge Morath Award is given annually by Magnum Photos’ members to a female photographer under 30 years.