A M I V I T A L E
In 1995, she had visited her sister, then working for the Peace Corps in the tiny remote village of Dembel Jumpora in the east of Guinea Bissau. A grant in 2000 from the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, Inc enabled her to return there to photograph in 2001.
The opportunity led her to realize that she wanted to show how the ordinary people of the majority world live, and to promote a real understanding of other cultures. Vitale went intending to stay a couple of months, but ended up living in the village with the people there for 6 months. She stayed with a woman and her children in a mud hut, shared their lives, living, eating, sleeping as they did, and helped in their everyday tasks (finding an American education and upbringing had ill prepared her for many of these.)
Since Guinea Bissau, Vitale was based for several years in India, producing memorable work from Kashmir, Gujarat and elsewhere. One of her most surreal works is from idyllic Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. The shikaras (gondolas) with their posts supporting colored roofs have featured in many travelogues, and she captures them perfectly, reflected in the mirror-perfect water, looking like some fleet of brightly decorated curiously rustic alien space fleet floating above the reflected clouds. Looking in them brings us down to earth with a jolt, as we see the khakis of the Indian border security force, seated guns ready to hand as they set of on patrol.
Now based in Barcelona, Vitale also has a contract with Getty Images, and has worked for a number of NGOs. Her pictures have appeared in magazines around the world, including the major US publications such as Geo, Time, The New York Times, Newsweek, National Geographic Adventure and more. Unsurprisingly she also has a very long list of awards, including the Canon Female Photojournalist Grant, World Press Photo, National Press Photographers Association, POY International and many other awards. One of them was a Magnum grant, given in honor of Inge Morath (1923-2002), the fine Austrian photojournalist.
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