Morath, Inge (1923—)

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Morath, Inge (1923—)

Austrian-born photographer. Born in 1923 in Graz, Austria; received degree from University of Berlin, 1944; married Arthur Miller (a playwright), in 1962; children: Rebecca Miller (b. 1962, a filmmaker and painter).

Inge Morath received her first camera as a gift in 1952, and has since gone on to become an internationally known photographer and photo-journalist. The daughter of scientists, she was born in Graz, Austria, in 1923, and graduated from the University of Berlin in 1944. Caught in the chaos surrounding the end of World War II in Europe, Morath spent the following two years as an agricultural worker and airport employee in Berlin before finding employment as an editor and translator with the U.S. Information Service in Salzburg and Vienna in 1946. She became a freelance writer for radio and print media in 1949, and was hired as a writer for Heute magazine in 1951. After receiving her camera the following year, she bought a Leica and began working as an assistant to photojournalist Simon Guttman of the Report Agency of London.

Morath served as an assistant and researcher for photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson from 1953 to 1954, and became a member of the Magnum Photos agency in 1955. That year, she began traveling widely and photographing life in the countries she visited, a practice that has resulted in books including De la Perse à l'Iran (From Persia to Iran, 1958), Tunisie (1961), In Russia (1969), Chinese Encounters (1979), and Russian Journal (1991). Morath married American playwright Arthur Miller in 1962, the same year their daughter Rebecca Miller was born, and became an American citizen in 1966. She continued to travel extensively after her marriage, and photographed the first Chinese production of her husband's play Death of a Salesman, published as Salesman in Beijing (1984). She is also known for her photographs of such places as Mao Zedong's bedroom and Anton Chekhov's home, and for her photographic portraits of artists and political personalities. Inge Morath: Portraits (1999) includes portraits from the 1950s through the 1990s of Arthur Miller, Jean Cocteau, Saul Steinberg, Janet Flanner, Louise Bourgeois (b. 1911), Audrey Hepburn , Pablo Picasso, Nadezhda Mandelstam, Marisol, Mary Mc-Carthy , Jerzy Kosinski, Alice Roosevelt Long-worth , Salman Rushdie, and Doris Lessing , among many others.

Morath's photographs and photographic essays have been published in magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Paris-Match, Vogue, and Picture Post. Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Chicago Art Institute, the Kunsthaus in Zurich, the Royal Photographic Society in Bath, England, the Union of Photo-journalists in Moscow, the Sala de Exposiciones del Canal de Isabel II in Madrid, and the Inge Morath Museum for Photography in Saxony, Germany. Among the awards she has received are the gold medal of the National Art Club, an honorary doctorate from the University of Connecticut, the Medal of Honor in gold from the City of Vienna, and the Great Austrian State Prize for Photography (1992). Inge Morath: Life as a Photographer was published in 1999.


Morath, Inge, et al. Inge Morath: Life as a Photographer. Keyahoff Verlag, 1999.

Rosenblum, Naomi. A History of Women Photographers. Paris and NY: Abbeville Press, 1994.

Grant Eldridge , freelance writer, Pontiac, Michigan