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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.

As part of our annual partnership, Harbers Studios commissioned MediaStorm, on behalf of ICP, to create a short film about the award recipients. The films pay tribute to each artist and demonstrate ICP's commitment to them. Since the first presentation of the films at the 2013 gala, ICP has skyrocketed its fundraising goals and achievements. MediaStorm is humbled to have played a role in catalyzing that effort. Our work with ICP and Harbers Studios affirms that storytelling moves people to action. For MediaStorm, creating these films pays homage to our roots in photography and our aspiration for the field, that it continue being a force for change.

Client: Harbers Studios, International Center of Photography
Published: April 2, 2019

The Challenge
As is the case each year, this year’s winners have huge and significant bodies of work that are relevant to issues affecting society today. The films are commissioned for the ICP Gala, which has a strict time limitation of 5 minutes per film, but each year we develop films of longer durations to reflect a more authentic story about the photographer and his/her process. This year, we wanted to make sure to include as much about the work as possible, to create a story that truly honors the artists.

In addition, we faced one of our greatest challenges to date in film production–we lacked access to much of the honored photographer’s work and were unable to record any interviews for the narrative. This required us to create an entirely new approach for the film on Zadie Smith.

The Solution
For the films, MediaStorm developed a treatment and interview process that explored not just why each work was significant, but how we would convey its intent. We also pored over relevant news items and archives to tie those back to the work. We were fortunate to capture additional b-roll of some of the honorees working in the field and when that was not possible, we sourced footage of them working to demonstrate their process.

Although we weren’t able to get an interview with Zadie Smith, we were able to read an excerpt of her work and use that as a voiceover for the film. We then sourced interesting footage to accompany the voiceover in addition to some of Deana Lawson’s stunning imagery.

The Results
The films premiered to great acclaim on April 2, 2019 at the ICP Infinity Awards. The films are a critical fundraising tool for the organization, and pay tribute to ICP’s commitment to the craft.

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

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, Harbers Studios creates 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 exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach, ICP offers an open forum for dialogue about the role images play in our culture. Since ICP’s founding, they 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.

Individual Films

Shahidul Alam is a Bangladeshi photojournalist, teacher, and social activist. A TIME “Person of the Year”, he is celebrated for his commitment to using his craft to preserve democracy in his country at all costs. Watch it now.

Jess T. Dugan uses photography to explore gender and sexuality. Her celebrated book, “To Survive on This Shore”, is a collection of photographs and interviews that document the joys and challenges of the lives of trans people over fifty. Watch it now.

Dawoud Bey’s photographs and process have been described as a “civic act of seeing”. He says his photographs of marginalized people and histories are all a way of giving these subjects greater value than they’re traditionally given. Watch it now.

Writer Zadie Smith pays homage to photographer Deana Lawson in the artist’s first Monograph. In this essay, Smith describes how Deana Lawson’s work uniquely places individuals from the African Diaspora in a “kingdom of restored glory”. Watch it now.

Rosalind Fox Solomon’s photographs are both a mirror to self-transformation; and a testament to some of the most important moments in history, including early photos of the AIDS Crisis, apartheid in South Africa, and life in the West Bank. Watch it now.

Since 1985, the International Center of Photography has recognized outstanding achievements in photography with its prestigious Infinity Awards.Watch it now.

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