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Since 1985, the International Center of Photography has recognized outstanding achievements in photography with its prestigious Infinity Awards. The awards ceremony is also ICP’s primary fundraising benefit, with its revenues assisting the center's various programs.

Harbers Studios commissioned MediaStorm, on behalf of ICP, to create a short film about each of the recipients to screen at the awards ceremony and to later remain online. The films serve as an introduction of the recipients to the audience as well as a showcase of their work, highlighting the motivations for honoring them with Infinity Awards.

Client: Harbers Studios, International Center of Photography
Published: May 1, 2013

NPPA's Best of Photojournalism (Honorable Mention)
Visual Column
Webby (Winner)
Documentary: Series
The Challenge
We had fifteen weeks to create eight films about seven accomplished photographers and one ICP board member. In this short time we had to arrange in-person interviews with each photographer, collect all of their photography and find their stories.

There were many points during production when, despite the limited time, we had to wait for resources—whether a photographer was unable to fly to New York for a scheduled interview or unable to provide us with images we needed.

Despite the short timeline, we believed it was important to share the pieces we created with the photographers in advance of the awards ceremony. We didn't want any surprises for them, especially right before delivering their acceptance speeches. Yet, when we showed the videos to the photographers, they were critical—as most good artists are—of themselves and the pieces we created. We had to find a balance between making sure the subjects were comfortable with how they were portrayed, while staying true to the narrative we thought was most important for the viewer.

The Solution
In some cases, we never received the content we truly wanted. As a result, we had to find creative solutions to work around missing pieces so we could make our deadline.

As storytellers, we have to remember who our audience is and why we are telling each story. In this situation, these pieces were created for the subject of the film, the ICP Infinity Award Ceremony and a wider online audience. Balancing between what we felt unrelated viewers needed to connect to the stories and staying true to what the subjects believed encapsulated them was no easy negotiation. However, walking this thin line was necessary to create the best possible films in this context and, in most cases, the photographers collaborated well on the edit and allowed us to create the stories we felt needed to be told.

The Results
MediaStorm interviewed the recipients and gathered images to create stories about each of their careers. The resulting eight short films serve individually as biographical glimpses into the recipients’ work and collectively as a portrait of some of the important contributors to photography today.

The films available here are the full-length pieces. We also created shorter versions to show at the awards ceremony.

Individual Films

Jeff Bridges is an Academy Award-winning actor. He is also an accomplished photographer. He's been taking pictures on the set of his movies for more than 30 years, capturing intimate and surprising behind-the-scenes moments. Watch it now.

Blurring the line between subjects and friends, Kitra Cahana captures a rare level of intimacy with her subjects. As a documentary photographer, her images explore anthropological, social and spiritual themes through a human perspective. Watch it now.

As a photographer, Erik Madigan Heck does not differentiate between art and fashion in his work. Adhering to no rules, embracing his fears and seeing endless possibilities, Heck creates images people remember. Watch it now.

Looking, and trusting in that act alone, Mishka Henner explores photography as an appropriation artist. Through new and alternative technology, Henner inspects art from the past while innovating in the present. Watch it now.

David Goldblatt spent his life documenting apartheid in South Africa. While many photographers chased mass demonstrations and violent rebellions, Goldblatt focused on the cultural values that led to more than 40 years of repression. Watch it now.

Surreal and mysterious, North Korea was a black hole to outsiders wanting a glimpse of the country. That all changed in 2012, when AP photographer David Guttenfelder led the opening of the bureau's newest office inside the North Korea. Watch it now.

The idea of an African space program may sound funny to some, but not to Cristina de Middel. Through a mix of fact and fiction, de Middel forces viewers to reinterpret a 1960s space program in Zambia in her photobook, The Afronauts. Watch it now.

Pat Schoenfeld, 2013 ICP Trustees Award recipient and last remaining member of ICP's original staff, shares stories from ICP's earliest days and reflects on her continued involvement--though in a different capacity--nearly 40 years later. Watch it now.

About the Client
This film was a collaboration with Harbers Studio and the International Center of Photography.

Harbers Studios turbocharges the efforts of charitable entrepreneurs by helping them tell their stories. Our goal is to help them articulate and share the value of the work they do so they can inspire others to help them do it. Working with some of the best filmmaking talent in the world, we create compelling visual narratives that enhance the endeavors of organizations working to make the world a better place.

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to the practice and understanding of photography and the reproduced image in all its forms. Through our exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach, we offer an open forum for dialogue about the role images play in our culture. Since our founding, we have presented more than 500 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes, providing instruction at every level. ICP is a center where photographers and artists, students and scholars can create and interpret the world of the image within our comprehensive educational facilities and archive.

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