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Goal
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.

Writer Zadie Smith pays homage to photographer Deana Lawson in the artist’s first Monograph for Aperture. In this essay, Smith describes how Deana Lawson’s work uniquely places individuals from the African Diaspora in a “kingdom of restored glory”. Despite the circumstances her subjects might find themselves in–poverty, overcriminalization, systemic racism–in a Lawson portrait, they radiate royalty. Smith describes Lawson’s subjects as queens; men and women who are celebrated in ways they so rarely are by our visual culture. “Deana Lawson’s Kingdom of Restored Glory” is a tribute to a photographer who captures her subjects as they hope to be seen “beautiful, imperious, unfallen, unbroken”.

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 3, 2019

The Challenge
Due to unforeseen circumstances, MediaStorm was unable to interview Zadie Smith or Deana Lawson for this film. Interviews are critical to our process as they often shape the narrative spine of our films. We also only had access to a few pictures by Deana Lawson, largely those featured in the essay by Smith published by the New Yorker. We lacked the tools that inform our regular process so we had to create a new one.


The Solution
MediaStorm producers Samia Khan and Tim McLaughlin excerpted a portion of Smith’s text to serve as voiceover (performed by Samia Khan). McLaughlin then used a combination of compelling stock imagery and Deana Lawson’s imagery to serve as the visuals for the film.

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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