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Cartier-Bresson (of whom we have already talked about in this blog) and Robert Capa were not the only souls to have taken pictures in Córdoba. The Austrian photographer Inge Morath also visited the city around the second half of the XXth century; not many pictures from this trip have seen the light, but the few that did cannot go unmentioned here.

Inge Morath (Austria, 1923-New York, 2002) was the first woman to have worked for the Magnum Agency, back then being a photographer was exclusively a man’s job. She officially begun working for the agency in 1955, after a first period in which she worked as guest editor in the Agency at the request of Robert Capa.

She had however worked with Ernst Haas for Life magazine as editor and researcher around 1950 before joining the Magnum Agency. She was a good friend of Henri Cartier-Bresson and also traveled the world taking photographs of the common folk and the regions she visited.

After the 1960’s Inge decided to focus more on her private projects with his husband, the writer Arthur Miller, who she married after the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe and with whom she would remain until his death. Many artists and other characters would enter her camera during those years: Marilyn Monroe, Igor Stravinski, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, Pablo Neruda, Henry Moore and most of the New York intellectuals. She portrayed them all.

Also, between the 50’s and the 60’s she would be sent all over the world. One of her first jobs was Spain, a country that she would go back to afterwards. She traveled along with Cartier-Bresson in 1953 on a mission to immortalize Picasso for Holiday magazine whom she befriended. Inge researched a lot during that trip. She wanted to portray the people in their daily humanities, she wanted to be a part of it too.

Inge used to shoot most of his picture in black and white, although she always carried a camera loaded with a color film. However, those pictures were thought to be lost up until 2007 when John Jacob, curator in the Inge Morath Foundation, decided to try to solve the issue. It was all, apparently, a cataloging error by Magnum Agency, as they used to register all black and white pictures but they did not register in the same manner the color ones. That made it very difficult to find any specific color picture. Inge Morath took approximately around 15,000 color pictures.

The pictures known to have been taken in Córdoba date from 1954, or at least so they do the ones depicting the Mezquita. It would be great to have access to the archives of the Magnum Agency in order to go through the negatives that resulted from this trip to Córdoba. As of today, however, this seems not feasible since the Agency only publishes those pictures authorized by their respective photographers.

Not only did Inge visited Córdoba but she also toured around Spain: Madrid, Chinchón, Tordesillas, Zamora, Toledo, Sevilla, El Rocío, Guadix, Las Hurdes, Cáceres, Pamplona, Ávila… She portrayed the forgotten Spain with all its embedded clichés. Her first work on Spain was then published in 1955 under the title “War on Sadness” (Guerre à la Tristesse), although it never reached Spain because of the Regime. Inge Morath would keep coming back to Spain to take pictures and do more photographic features of the country for Life, Vogue or Paris Match magazines.

Pictures taken by Inge Morath in Córdoba in 1954.


 

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