International Center of Photography

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International Center of Photography
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International Center of Photography is located in New York City
International Center of Photography
Location within New York City
Established 1974
Location 6th Avenue and 43rd Street
Manhattan, New York
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Director Mark Lubell[1]

The International Center of Photography is a photography museum, school, and research center in New York City, United States. The new downtown Museum and Store is set to open early 2016 at 250 Bowery.[2]

The ICP was founded in 1974. It is the host of the Infinity Awards, inaugurated in 1985 "to bring public attention to outstanding achievements in photography by honoring individuals with distinguished careers in the field and by identifying future luminaries".


Since its founding in 1974 by Cornell Capa with help from Micha Bar-Am in Willard Straight House, on Fifth Avenue's Museum Mile, ICP has presented over 500 exhibitions, bringing the work of more than 3,000 photographers and other artists to the public in one-person and group exhibitions and provided various classes and workshops for students. ICP was founded as an institution to keep the legacy of "Concerned Photography" alive. After the untimely deaths of his brother Robert Capa and his colleagues Werner Bischof, Chim (David Seymour), and Dan Weiner in the 1950s, Capa saw the need to keep their humanitarian documentary work in the public eye. In 1966 he founded the International Fund for Concerned Photography. By 1974 the Fund needed a home, and the International Center of Photography was created.

In 1985, a satellite facility, ICP Midtown, was created. Plans were also made for the redesign and reconstruction of the Midtown location.[3]

Redesign and reconstruction

In 1999, the headquarters building at 1130 Fifth Avenue was sold. The expanded galleries, at 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street, were designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects for the display of photography and new media. The reopening of the 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) site, previously used as a photo gallery for Kodak,[4] in the fall of 2000 provided in one location the same gallery space as the two previous sites combined and became the headquarters of ICP's public exhibitions programs. The new ICP also provided an expanded store and a café.

The expansion of the School of the International Center of Photography in the fall of 2001 created a Midtown campus diagonally across from the Museum in the Grace Building at 1114 Avenue of the Americas. Designed by the architecture firm Gensler, the new, 27,000-square-foot (2,500 m2) school facility doubled ICP’s teaching space and allowed ICP to expand both its programming and community outreach.[5]

Move to the Bowery

In 2014, ICP’s board approved a plan to buy a building on the Bowery near the New Museum and relocate there. The center’s school, whose lease continues through 2018, will remain where it is under the current plan, but is expected to eventually move downtown to consolidate operations.[6] The midtown museum closed on January 11, 2015 when its longtime lease ended. The new downtown museum and store is set to open early 2016 at 250 Bowery.[2]

School at ICP

Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the School at ICP serves more than 5,000 students each year, offering 400 courses in a curriculum that ranges from darkroom classes to certificate and master's degree programs. Other educational programming includes a lecture series, seminars, symposia, workshops hosted by professional photographers, and complementary activities.

Opened in 2001, the School is a 27,000-square-foot (2,500 m2) facility at 1114 Avenue of the Americas, diagonally across the street from the ICP Museum. It is also designed by Gensler.

ICP's educational initiatives are divided into three areas: the School, Public Programs, and Community Programs.

The School

The School offers a year-round selection of continuing education classes; three one-year Certificate programs (General Studies in Photography and Documentary Photography and Photojournalism and New Media Narratives); and the ICP-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies, a two-year graduate program leading to a master of fine arts degree.

Public programs

Public programs address issues in photography and its relationship to art, culture, and society and promote the interpretation of ICP's exhibitions and collections. The Photographers Lecture Series invites photographers to present their work while sharing ideas and concerns about the medium. Other seminars, symposia, and panel discussions feature artists, critics, scholars, and historians.

Community programs

Community programs relate to the exhibitions. Programs include interactive tours, family day events, workshops, long-term photography programs in four New York City public schools, summer photography programs in community centers, and a high school internship program designed to promote youth leadership.

Infinity Awards

The ICP hosts the Infinity Awards, which were inaugurated in 1985 "to bring public attention to outstanding achievements in photography by honoring individuals with distinguished careers in the field and by identifying future luminaries".

The 2014 categories were Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement, Art, Fashion, Photojournalism, Publication, and Young Photographer. Others years have included Trustees, Writing, Applied/Fashion/Advertising, and separate Cornell Capa and Lifetime Achievement categories.

Permanent collection

Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. The permanent collection at ICP contains more than 100,000 photographs. Since its opening in 1974, ICP has acquired important historical and contemporary images through an acquisitions committee and through donations and bequests from photographers and collectors. The collection spans the history of photography, including daguerrotypes, gelatin silver and digital chromogenic prints.

The collection is strongest in its holdings of American and European documentary photography of the 1930s to the 1990s. It comprises large bodies of work by W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, the Farm Security Administration photographers, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Lisette Model, Gordon Parks, James VanDerZee, and Garry Winogrand. Recent purchases have included work by contemporary photographers such as Carrie Mae Weems, Justine Kurland, Katy Grannan, Vik Muniz, and Susan Meiselas.

Another component of the collection is a significant group of photographically illustrated magazines, particularly those published between World War I and II, such as Vu, Regards, Picture Post, Lilliput, Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung, and Life.

Opened in 2015, the International Center of Photography at Mana Contemporary is a 15,000-square-foot space that houses the permanent collection, a media lab, areas for research, and a gallery.


Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. In 2003 the ICP joined with the publisher Steidl of Göttingen, Germany to launch the photography imprint ICP/Steidl. ICP/Steidl books combine the printing and publishing experience of Steidl with the strength of ICP's collections, exhibitions, and curatorial staff.

ICP/Steidl publications

ICP/Steidl publications include:

  • Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth and Hawes, edited by Grant Romer and Brian Wallis (2005). New England Historical Society: Best Book of the Year; Kraszna-Krausz Book Award: Honorable Mention. OCLC 60805129
  • Atta Kim: On Air, by Atta Kim (2006). Deutsche Börse Prize: Best Photo Book of the Year.
  • Unknown Weegee by Weegee (2006). College Art Association: Best Book Design, Honorable Mention.
  • Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography, edited by Okwui Enwezor (2006). PHotoEspaña: Best International Photography Book of the Year.
  • Susan Meiselas: In History (2008). Rencontres d’Arles 2009 Historical Book Award.
  • The Mexican Suitcase: The Rediscovered Spanish Civil War Negatives of Capa, Chim, and Taro (2010). AAM's Frances Smyth-Ravenel Prize for Excellence in Publication Design; German Photobook 2011 Prize's Gold Award.

Other ICP publications

Other ICP publications include:

The ICP Library

The Library of the International Center of Photography serves more than 6,000 visitors a year. The information and bibliographic resources it provides are used by ICP staff, patrons, and researchers. As of 2008, the Library receives 75 periodicals and serials, and its collection of approximately 20,000 volumes and 2,000 files is available for on-site perusal.[7]

Library materials are searchable on ICP's online catalog.

The GEH–ICP Alliance

In 2000, George Eastman House (GEH) and ICP launched the GEH–ICP Alliance, whose fundamental aim is to enhance public understanding and appreciation of photography, through exhibitions, publications, research, scholarship, collection sharing, and the joint website[8]

In this collaboration, the staffs of the International Center of Photography and George Eastman House share resources, pool their expertise, and dovetail their collections for a series of exhibitions called "New Histories of Photography".

See also


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  6. Randy Kennedy (September 24, 2014), Photography Center Leaving Midtown for the Bowery New York Times.
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External links