Women’s Focus | Eve Arnold, Nanna Heitmann, Susan Meiselas, Inge Morath, Marilyn Silverstone

BUDAPEST PHOTO FESTIVAL and KUNSTHALLE are collaborating for the eighth time to organize the festival’s opening exhibition at the Kunsthalle in 2024, this time under the title Women’s Focus. The five female photographers selected by Magnum Photos are emblematic representatives of humanistic photography, true to the agency’s values. Issues of fame, power, religion, tradition, minority existence, and disenfranchisement are given particular importance both in the three already completed oeuvres of Eve Arnold, Inge Morath, and Marilyn Silverstone, and in the works of the other artists from two different generations, Susan Meiselas and Nanna Heitmann. As committed artists, they treated their subjects with feminine sensitivity, empathy, and situational awareness, whether in portraiture or documentary series depicting society.

Inge Morath and Eve Arnold were the first female members of Magnum Photos, establishing themselves and gaining recognition in the male-dominated collective early in their careers in the 1950s. They were also among the nine agency photographers on the set of John Huston's The Misfits in 1960, after the romance between Robert Capa and Ingrid Bergman opened the doors of Hollywood to Magnum Photos.

Eve Arnold's behind-the-scenes reportage offers a unique perspective, and her natural settings also depart from the usual depictions of actors. Her stunning portraits of Marilyn Monroe reveal the almost friendly connection between the two women. The exhibition features candid, intimate photographs of Sophia Loren, Charles Chaplin, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor, among others.

Inge Morath's theme choices are both personal and universal, reflecting her interest in the arts and her love of unconventional situations and diverse cultures. In 1957, she captioned her famous photo for LIFE magazine, a photo of a llama peeking out of a car window, as follows: "Linda, the Llama rides home via Broadway. She is just coming home from a television show in New York’s A.B.C. studios and now takes a relaxed and long-necked look at the lights of one of the world’s most famous streets." The exhibition also includes many of her notable photographs, including masked portraits with Saul Steinberg.

Marilyn Silverstone worked as a professional correspondent since 1955. As a freelance photojournalist commissioned by a New York photo agency, she photographed in Europe, Asia, Central America, Africa, and the Soviet Union. In 1959, she spent three months in India, an assignment that marked a turning point in her artistic career. In the decades that followed, she devoted herself to documenting the multifaceted spirituality and milieu of Buddhist religion and philosophy. Her photographs have been published in four albums and made into an award-winning film titled Kashmir in Winter. She joined Magnum Photos in 1964. In 1977, she became an ordained Buddhist nun, researching the vanishing culture of Rajasthan and Himalayan history. The photographs in the exhibition include her authentic portraits depicting religious leaders and teachers as well as ordinary people in Nepal or India.

Susan Meiselas spent several summers in New England in the beginning of the 1970s, documenting the lives of carnival strippers, both on and off stage. Magnum invited her to join the agency after she published these photos in an album titled Carnival Strippers in 1976. Her photographs are beyond the sensational media representations. Her subjects are driven by a deep ethnographic, historical, and political interest. In 1978, she photographed the civil war in Nicaragua, and her images of the bloody clashes widely circulated in the international press, The current selection includes seven photos from the Carnival Strippers series.

Nanna Heitmann's long-term photo essays focus on the relationship between people and their environment: "I’m attracted to people who are shaped by their environment, who choose to live or work in extreme situations.” In 2019, she joined Magnum Photos based on the strength of two personal projects, both exploring physical and psychological isolation. In Women’s Focus, her images trace the path of onthe world’s longest river, providing a glimpse into the daily lives of the people living along the Yenisei.


Curator: Zsuzsanna Tulipán 

Assistant curator:Dóra Dekovics 


Virtual tour

Women’s Focus | Eve Arnold, Nanna Heitmann, Susan Meiselas, Inge Morath, Marilyn Silverstone

Női fókusz | Eve Arnold, Nanna Heitmann, Susan Meiselas, Inge Morath, Marilyn Silverstone


2024. March 23. - May 12.
2024. March 15. - May 26.
Previous exhibition

Variations on Legends | Exhibition of Gabriella Sulyok

2024. May 11. - September 15.
Next exhibition

Local Value | 3rd National Salon of Architecture