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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: April 29, 2014
The Challenge
We had fifteen weeks to create six films. 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 films 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 six short films (only four of which are published here) serve individually as biographical glimpses into the recipients’ work and collectively as a portrait of some of the important contributors to photography today.

Individual Films

Too Young to Wed, a transmedia campaign using images by Stephanie Sinclair and videos by Jessica Dimmock, works to support girls who are already married and ultimately bring an end to child marriage. Watch it now.

Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin are a collaborative team that has spent the last 15 years pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a traditional photographer. Watch it now.

James Welling’s vibrant digital inkjet prints and detailed colored photograms offer an experimental sensibility to photography. His photography serves as a window into the imagination and brings color to life. Watch it now.

Jürgen Schadeberg, whose career spans more than 65 years, has been called the father of South African photography. He photographed defining moments in South African history, including the early days of Nelson Mandela’s political presence. 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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