International Center of Photography

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International Center of Photography
International Center of Photography Logo.jpg
International Center of Photography at 79 Essex Street.jpg
International Center of Photography at 79 Essex Street
Location79 Essex Street Manhattan, New York
Coordinates40°43′04.9″N 73°59′19.0″W / 40.718028°N 73.988611°W / 40.718028; -73.988611
DirectorDavid E. Little
Public transit accessBus: M21, M103
Subway: "F" train"F" express train​ at Second Avenue

The International Center of Photography (ICP), at 79 Essex Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City, consists of a museum for photography and visual culture and a school offering an array of educational courses and programming.[1] ICP's photographic collection, reading room, and archives are at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New Jersey.[2] The organization was founded by Cornell Capa in 1974.[3]

ICP 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.[4] ICP was founded 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.[5]

Redesign and reconstruction[edit]

International Center of Photography at its previous location on 6th Avenue and 43rd Street

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 in the fall of 2000 of the 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) site, previously used as a photo gallery for Kodak,[6] provided in one location the same amount of gallery space as the two previous sites combined and became the headquarters of ICP's public exhibitions programs, and also housed 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 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.[7]

Move to the Bowery and Essex Crossing[edit]

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 continued through 2018, remained in Midtown, but was expected to eventually move downtown to consolidate operations.[8] The midtown museum closed on January 11, 2015, when its lease ended. The ICP museum at 250 Bowery opened on June 23, 2016.[9] In 2017, ICP signed a deal with Delancey Street Associates to house its museum and school at Essex Crossing on the Lower East Side. In 2019, ICP sold its space at 250 Bowery and purchased its new home at 79 Essex Street at Essex Crossing.[10]

In January 2020, ICP opened its new integrated center at 79 Essex Street. Designed by architecture firm Gensler, the 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2) building has galleries, media labs, classrooms, darkrooms, shooting studios, a shop, café, research library and public event spaces. The new space is the cultural anchor of the $1.9 billion six-acre Essex Crossing development.[11][12]

ICP School[edit]

ICP's school serves more than 3,500 students each year,[13] offering 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, and workshops hosted by professional photographers.[14]

Opened in 2001, the School was previously at a 27,000-square-foot (2,500 m2) facility at 1114 Avenue of the Americas. Designed by Gensler, it was across the street from the former ICP Museum. ICP's school and museum are now located in a unified center on Manhattan's Lower East Side at 79 Essex Street.

The school offers a year-round selection of continuing education classes; three one-year Certificate programs (Creative Practices in Photography, Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism, 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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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".








  • Master of Photography: Yousuf Karsh
  • Lifetime Achievement: Gordon Parks
  • Applied/Fashion/Advertising: Annie Leibovitz
  • Art: Chuck Close
  • Photojournalism: Jacques Langevin
  • Publication: Sarah Greenough and Joel Snyder, On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography
  • Writing: Max Kozloff
  • Young Photographer: Miro Svolik




























  • Lifetime Achievement: Harry Benson
  • Art: Sophie Calle
  • Documentary and Photojournalism: Edmund Clark and Crofton Black, Negative Publicity
  • Artist's Book: Michael Christopher Brown, Libyan Sugar
  • Critical Writing and Research: Michael Famighetti and Sarah Lewis for "Vision & Justice," Aperture (no. 223, summer 2016)
  • Online Platform and New Media: For Freedoms
  • Emerging Photographer: Vasantha Yogananthan


2019 [15]


Permanent collection[edit]

The permanent collection at ICP contains more than 200,000 photographs and related materials from the earliest forms of photography to contemporary work.[16] 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, Louise Ozell Martin, 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.


In 2003 the ICP joined with the publisher Steidl of Göttingen, Germany to launch the photography imprint ICP/Steidl.

ICP/Steidl publications[edit]

  • "Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video." 2003.
  • Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth and Hawes. 2005. Edited by Grant Romer and Brian Wallis. OCLC 60805129. Received New England Historical Society's Best Book of the Year[citation needed] and Kraszna-Krausz Book Award's Honorable Mention.[citation needed]
  • "Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video." 2006
  • Atta Kim: On Air. 2006. By Atta Kim. Received the Deutsche Börse Prize: Best Photo Book of the Year.[citation needed]
  • Unknown Weegee. 2006. By Weegee. Received College Art Association Best Book Design, Honorable Mention.[citation needed]
  • Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography. 2006. Edited by Okwui Enwezor. Received the PHotoEspaña: Best International Photography Book of the Year.[citation needed]
  • Susan Meiselas: In History. 2008. Received the Rencontres d’Arles 2009 Historical Book Award.[citation needed]
  • The Mexican Suitcase: The Rediscovered Spanish Civil War Negatives of Capa, Chim, and Taro. 2010. Received the AAM's Frances Smyth-Ravenel Prize for Excellence in Publication Design[citation needed] and the German Photobook 2011 Prize's Gold Award.[citation needed]

Other ICP publications[edit]

  • Reflections in a Glass Eye. ICP/Little, Brown, 1999. Edited by Ellen Handy.
  • "A Different Kind of Order: The ICP Triennial" New York: ICP/Delmonico Books Prestel, 2013.
  • Roman Vishniac Rediscovered. New York: ICP/Delmonico Books Prestel, 2015. Edited by Maya Benton.


The ICP Library[edit]

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.[17]

Library materials are searchable on ICP's online catalog.

The GEH–ICP Alliance[edit]

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[18]

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[edit]


  1. ^ Estrin, James (January 14, 2020). "I.C.P. to Reopen at Essex Crossing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "Exhibitions". May 16, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  3. ^ Gefter, Philip (May 24, 2008). "Cornell Capa, Photographer, Is Dead at 90". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  4. ^ Farago, Jason (January 30, 2020). "International Center of Photography Refocuses in a New Home". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  5. ^[bare URL]
  6. ^ Lyons, Richard D. (March 26, 1989). "43d St. Photo Gallery; Home Again on 6th Ave". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  7. ^ Dunlap, David W. (August 19, 2001). "Postings: International Center of Photography's New Midtown Home; An Underground Minicampus". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  8. ^ Randy Kennedy (September 24, 2014), Photography Center Leaving Midtown for the Bowery New York Times.
  9. ^ "ICP Expands To New Sites". International Center of Photography. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "International Center of Photography". May 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Nancy Kenney (January 22, 2020), International Center of Photography prepares to move into a far bigger home in New York The Art Newspaper.
  12. ^ Farago, Jason (January 30, 2020). "International Center of Photography Refocuses in a New Home". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  13. ^ Chow, Andrew R. (October 9, 2017). "International Center of Photography to Move Again". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "International Center of Photography Reopens on New York's Lower East Side".
  15. ^ "ICP announces Infinity Awards winners". Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  16. ^ "Collections". International Center of Photography. February 4, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  17. ^ "Library". International Center of Photography. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  18. ^ "GEH-ICP Alliance". George Eastman House. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2014.

External links[edit]