photojournalists dominate the
ranks of Magnum Photos, but the
agency supports emerging female
talent by funding the annual Inge
Morath Award. Administered in
partnership with the Inge Morath
Foundation, the award honors
the memory of Magnum’s first
female member, who died in
2002. Past winners include Ami
Vitale, Jessica Dimmock, Isadora
Kasofsky, Emily Schiffer, Daniella
Zalcman, and others.
“The Magnum Foundation is
committed to expanding creativity
and diversity in documentary
practice: diversity of approach,
and diversity of voices,” says
Magnum Foundation executive
director Kristen Lubben. “We’re
interested in people taking new,
challenging or eye-opening
The Inge Morath Award
provides a $5,000 grant to help
female photographers under 30
years of age complete a long-term
documentary project. Applicants
must submit 20 images from an
ongoing project, and a project
description of 250-300 words.
The application deadline is in
late April, and Magnum members
choose a winner and finalists
from a pre-screened shortlist
of competitors. Winners are
announced in July.
Competition is stiff. The
pre-screeners sift through
120 to 160 applications every
year, and present only six or
eight of them to the Magnum
membership for consideration.
Pre-screeners last year included
Lubben, Magnum photographer
Susan Meiselas, Inge Morath
Foundation executive director
Sana Manzoor, and Inge Morath
Foundation programs associate
The primary consideration
is the strength of both the
images and the story, Lubben
says. Photographs “really
need to hold up on their own”
without explanation. Entries
are also eliminated if they
look familiar or derivative.
“Originality of approach is
important. People want to be
surprised by something.”
The project descriptions have
to explain three things clearly and
of Mr. Softee [photographed by
David Williams, in collaboration
with writer Christina Troitino],
which was amazingly popular
in the Northeast. We’re pushing
stories that are less classically
photojournalism, and more offbeat.
PDN: How big is your
DD: We have three photo editors:
Haley Hamblin is our feature
photo editor [haley@mashable.
com], Lili Sams [lili@mashable.
com] is our day-to-day photo
editor, and Alex Arbuckle
focuses on archive imagery [for
Mashable’s Retronaut column].
PDN: What do you want to see in
pitches from photographers?
DD: We take pitches in any
format. Some photographers
send us fleshed-out web sites
with interactive stories they’ve
built out already, and some send
us a link and two words, like:
“check it.” The pitch depends
on our working relationship
with the photographer, and how
much we think they understand
what we’re going for.
PDN: Do you actively look for
photographers? And if so, how?
DD: My favorite way is to do
portfolio reviews with early career
photographers. Last year I got
to do the ICP graduate portfolio
reviews. And I like working with
Photoville or any event like that
where tons of photo stories are
coming in. I really enjoy working
with early career photographers.
PDN: Who are some early career
photographers whose work
you’ve published recently?
DD: One was Dana deLaski, who
did the world’s biggest pizza
fan, which came out of a story
she started working on while
she was at ICP. I met another
who did an amazing multimedia
piece for us about coming out
to her parents. It’s so personal
and so beautiful, and she was so
brave to tell that story and let us
PDN: What do you pay?
DD: It varies. Our day rate is
about $350, then after about
three days we switch to a project
rate [negotiated on a case-by-case basis]; $800 is kind of our
sweet spot, and probably means a
photographer found a story pretty
close to where they are, or where
they were going to go anyway, A lot
of our stories run between $800
and $1,200. We base it on how
much work we think it will be.
PDN: How does a photographer
you’ve never worked with get
DD: Honestly, just email
We’re meeting with new
photographers regularly, and
it usually starts with an email.
We’re [publishing work by] new
photographers fairly regularly.
Photographers will come in,
and we’ll find out what they’re
working on, and talk about what
we’re looking for.
HO W I GOT THAT GRAN T
THE $;,;;; INGE
Pre-screeners of the applications
explain what they look for, and two past
winners—Daniella Zalcman and Danielle Villasana—
share their tips and advice. BY DAVID WALKER
ABOVE: Sol Neelman documented the game Ba’, a version of rugby played in the
Scottish town of Kirkwall. “We’re looking for stories that are off the beaten
path,” says Mashable art director Dustin Drankoski.
BELOW: Danielle Villasana won the 2015 Inge Morath Award for her story about
transgender women in Peru. Her application described the forces that push many
into prostitution, where they are vulnerable to exploitation, HIV infection and abuse.
INSET: Magnum Foundation executive director Kristen Lubben.