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Since 1985, the International Center of Photography has recognized outstanding achievements in photography with its prestigious Infinity Awards. Since 2013, MediaStorm has been honored to partner with ICP and Harbers Studio to produce films that honor each awardee’s contribution to the field of photography and visual culture. This year’s winners are: Lifetime Achievement: Rosalind Fox Solomon; Critical Writing and Research: Zadie Smith, “Deana Lawson’s Kingdom of Restored Glory” for the New Yorker; excerpted from Deana Lawson: an Aperture Monograph (September 2018); Art: Dawoud Bey; Emerging Photographer: Jess T. Dugan; and Special Presentation: Shahidul Alam.

Jess T. Dugan uses photography to explore the grey areas in gender and sexuality; and to celebrate the lives of gender non conforming and trans people. Her work vacillates between highly personal portraiture of herself and people in her life; and intentionally political work that serves to insert imagery of people in the LGBTQ community in the mainstream. She’s being recognized by the ICP for “To Survive on this Shore”; a series of photographs and interviews that tell the stories of transgender people over fifty all over the United States. Created in collaboration with her partner Vanessa Fabré, the project aims to give voice to the struggles and joys of getting older as a trans person.

The International Center of Photography’s Infinity Awards celebrates the outstanding achievements of individuals in photography. These films premiered at the Infinity Awards gala on April 2nd in New York City, and are subsequently used by the organization for promotion and fundraising.

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

The Challenge
We conducted our interview with Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabré in their home in St. Louis, to capture their stories and particularly, the stories of the individuals they photographed and interviewed for “To Survive on This Shore”. Because the focus of their work is having the subjects speak for themselves, we wanted in some way for one of the subject’s of work, to speak for him/her/their self about the experience of aging as a trans person. Vanessa and Jess could speak to those experiences but not for those individuals.

The Solution
Jess and Vanessa used small handheld microphones to record many of their interviews. One such recorded interview was with Jay, a trans man in New York City who died of cancer shortly after being interviewed. He spoke for over an hour into the microphone and we were able to use some of that recording in the interview to allow him to speak for himself about the joys and challenges of his experience aging.

The Results
The film premiered on April 2, 2019 at the ICP Infinity Awards Gala in New York City. The film was a special feature of the evening, and a critical fundraising tool.

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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