International Center of Photography

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International Center of Photography: A Beacon of Photographic Brilliance and Education

Key Takeaways

  • Established in 1974, the International Center of Photography (ICP) is a prominent institution in Manhattan, New York, offering a rich blend of museum and educational experiences.
  • The center, founded by Cornell Capa, keeps the spirit of "Concerned Photography" alive, showcasing over 3,000 photographers through various exhibitions.
  • ICP's significant expansions and moves, including its latest home at 79 Essex Street, demonstrate its evolving nature and dedication to photography and visual culture.
  • The ICP School provides extensive educational programs, including darkroom classes, certificate programs, and a master's degree in advanced photographic studies.
  • ICP hosts the prestigious Infinity Awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in photography.
  • The permanent collection at ICP contains over 200,000 photographs, spanning the history of the medium.
  • ICP's partnership with Steidl for publishing and its alliance with George Eastman House further extend its influence in the world of photography.

A Legacy of Photographic Excellence

The International Center of Photography (ICP) at 79 Essex Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side stands as a testament to the enduring power of visual storytelling. Founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa, it serves as a museum and educational center, enriching the photographic landscape with its comprehensive approach.

Pioneering Exhibitions and Educational Outreach

From its inception, ICP has curated over 500 exhibitions, featuring the work of more than 3,000 photographers and artists. Its commitment to "Concerned Photography," a term coined by founder Cornell Capa, reflects its dedication to humanitarian and documentary work. The center's move to 79 Essex Street in 2020 marked a significant milestone, offering 40,000 square feet of space dedicated to galleries, media labs, classrooms, and more, solidifying its role as a cultural anchor in the Essex Crossing development.

The Infinity Awards: Honoring Photographic Icons

Since 1985, the Infinity Awards have spotlighted luminaries in the field of photography. These awards bring public attention to individuals with distinguished careers and identify future stars in the industry. Winners have included masters like André Kertész, Arnold Newman, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, showcasing ICP's commitment to recognizing excellence in various photographic disciplines.

The ICP School: Nurturing Future Talents

ICP's school caters to over 3,500 students annually, offering an array of courses from darkroom techniques to advanced degree programs. With the 2001 expansion, the school doubled its teaching space, allowing for an enriched curriculum and broader community engagement. The ICP-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies is a highlight, offering a two-year graduate program culminating in a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Community and Public Programs: Engaging Broader Audiences

ICP's community programs connect the public with the world of photography through interactive tours, workshops, and photography programs in schools and community centers. The Photographer's Lecture Series and other seminars offer platforms for artists, critics, and historians to discuss the intersection of photography, art, and society.

A Rich and Diverse Collection

The permanent collection at ICP, housed at Mana Contemporary, boasts over 200,000 photographs and related materials. This collection spans from the earliest forms of photography to contemporary works, including significant contributions from renowned photographers such as W. Eugene Smith and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Publications and Collaborations: Expanding Influence

ICP's partnership with Steidl for publishing has produced notable works like "Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video." Additionally, the GEH–ICP Alliance with George Eastman House has furthered their joint mission to enhance public understanding and

appreciation of photography. This alliance focuses on exhibitions, publications, research, and shared collections, contributing to the broader discourse on photographic art and history.

Navigating the Future of Photography

The International Center of Photography continues to evolve, embracing both the historical significance and the future potential of photography. Its integrated approach, combining exhibition space with educational facilities, positions it uniquely in the cultural landscape of New York City and the wider world. By fostering new talents and celebrating established ones, ICP plays a crucial role in shaping the narrative of photography as a powerful medium of expression and communication.

Visit and Connect with ICP

  • Location: 79 Essex Street, Manhattan, New York
  • Public Transit Access: Bus routes M21, M103, and Subway lines "F" and "F" express at Second Avenue
  • Website:

For those passionate about photography, whether as practitioners, students, or enthusiasts, the International Center of Photography offers a sanctuary of learning and inspiration. Its rich history, diverse programs, and commitment to the art and education of photography make it a pivotal institution in the world of visual arts.

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