Inge Morath: On Style

Inge Morath liked to speak through her photographs and that she did with peculiar topics somehow rendered magical because of her risky morale

I had never really heard of Inge Morath before. Her former husband, Arthur Miller, had dated and wed Hollywood sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, and the relationship in my point of view was rather tepid in comparison to her previous very difficult affairs. And then, one fine day, Miller and Monroe had ended their marriage almost as suddenly as it had all began, following which Arthur went off and got married to Morath; Arthur described Morath to be a compassionate young woman who didn’t eat meat and a lady that for many years exhibited poetic talent when it came to the portrayal of people she was surrounded by, and the places they all lived in.

Morath comes across as a lady with finer tastes than the extraordinarily mundane because she does not photograph war due to her personal experiences as an Austrian stationed in Germany: during the Second World War she had flat turned down the offer to join the Hitler youth in Berlin and made to work in an aeroplane factory with Ukranian prisoners of war. It is interesting, to say the least, because owing to Morath’s factory work, she had actually resided in a town heavily bombed over by Allied forces.

Morath's Wonderful Photographs


Morath was born as Ingeborg Morath in 1923, and following the war she became fluent in numerous languages, from French to Russian, before earning the attention of Robert Capa, one of the patriarchs of the 1947-founded, Magnum agency. Capa was born to tailors himself, and soon enough started to feel that Morath had rare skill when it came to photography but the episode never really began uneventful. Capa had once invited Morath to dinner, and it was in Paris, so the young photographer went to it dressed all over in Balenciaga (a longtime contributor to Inge’s fashion selections).

Morath needed to dress stylishly upon Capa’s request, so she had managed to get a good handful of suits that came with enough number of pockets. The choice of suits for dinner certainly seemed rather odd, but whatever it might have been it most certainly didn’t need to be looked at as a need or an overarched feminine thing, even though Morath certainly had to think about cameras and films for her job as a woman. Inge, more likely, had shown early flashes of the decision to associate herself with good fashion, which later on professionally went on to count Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.

What was striking about Inge was that she really had a lot of relationships, which were forces of good in her life, worth conversing about: she was also friends with John Huston with whom she had a satisfactory-enough working equation. Morath had even exhibited a unique sense of nerve once, precisely when she had managed to save one of the actors cast in a Huston film, with Audrey Hepburn, from drowning in a lake, with the aid of her bra strap’s ability to pull him out of the lake.

Morath’s brilliant photography work has been explored in good depth in Inge Morath: On Style, but remarkably with a fashion angle. Morath had traveled to so many locations (including Iran) simply to capture that moment in time through her lens. One particular episode in London that proved to be mesmerizing was London in the fifties, when debutantes made their first appearance at the height of seasonal functions; the forked out subjects from those twinklings were diverse, from tailors in Mayfair to cocktail parties.


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