A Light Inside

Journalism alumna wins Inge Morath award for long-term documentary project

A Light Inside Banner

Journalism alumna Danielle Villasana (B.J. ’13) is the recipient of the 2015 Igne Morath Award, given to a woman under the age of 30 to support the completion of a long-term documentary project. Villasana won the $5,000 award, selected by the membership of the Magnum Photos in conjunction with the Igne Morath Foundation, for her project “A Light Inside.”

Danielle Villasana

Danielle Villasana

Born in Texas, Villasana double-majored at UT Austin in photojournalism and Spanish. She co-founded Everyday Latin America on Instagram in 2014, which forms part of the Everyday Projects – a movement founded by Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill to help combat stereotypes in traditional media.

Villasana was an attendee at the 2015 New York Portfolio review and is currently based in Lima, Peru.

“In Peru, a country with [much] machismo [and a] conservative, religious and transphobic culture, transgender women are extremely marginalized and discriminated by society,” Villasana said in her project proposal. “Persecution begins early at home and school, causing them to abandon their families and studies.”

The goal of “A Light Inside” is to combat stereotypes of transgender women as hypersexual objects and to explore the complexities of gender identity, pain and rejection. She plans to use the award to create more photos and collect interviews for transgender education and community engagement collaborations.

“I believe it’s important to work with them not only so that their voices are included but also as a way to empower them through self-expression,” Villasana said.

A total of 81 submissions were presented to the Magnum Foundation during their annual meeting.

The Igne Morath Award was established by the members of Magnum Photos in honor of their colleague who was connected to Magnum for over 50 years.  The photos from “A Light Inside” will appear in the 2015-16 issue of Igne Morath Magazine, launching September 2015.  

Lauren Phillips
Public Affairs Representative