ICP Infinity Awards Honors Power of Photography

May 11th, 2010

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Honorees at the 26th Annual International Center of Photography Infinity Awards, held last night in New York, paid tribute both to photography’s continuing power and to the photo community that has fostered its best practitioners. Addressing “those who say that photojournalism is dying,” Reza, winner of the Photojournalism award, said that 43,000 years after the first cave painters documented their world, “the visual artist has never been more important. Our picture community is connecting people."

The video that introduced Reza, who founded a photojournalism school for Afghan photographers, noted that he had been imprisoned in his native Iran for his photos. He was not the only honoree who had suffered for his work. South African photographer Peter Magubane, who was given the Cornell Capa Award, spent 586 days in solitary confinement in 1969 under his country’s apartheid regime. In his powerfully emotional speech, he quoted an African saying, “You are a person because of others,” and thanked his family, his editors and colleagues, including Robert Stevens, former photo editor at Time, and photographer Eve Arnold who introduced him to Susan Meiselas who, in turn, introduced him to photo editor John G. Morris, his mentor and friend.

Morris, who while working for Life edited Robert Capa’s images from D-Day and went on to run Magnum’s New York office, accepted last night’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He paid tribute both to the editors he’s worked with, and “most of all to thousands of photographers. I think of them as my real children.”

Other award winners included Lorna Simpson, who received the award for Art photography; author Luc Sante for his book Folk Photography: The Real-Photo Postcard; and Gilbert C. Maurer of Hearst, who was given the ICP Trustees Award. Raphael Dallaporta, who has created a series of still lifes of anti-personnel land mines and architectural photos of Paris buildings where slaves have been forced to work, won the Young Photographer award. French photographer Daniele Tamagni won the Applied/Fashion/Advertising Award for his book, Gentlemen of Bacongo, which documents the colorful street fashion of the dandies in the Democratic Republic of Congo known as “Sapeurs.” Sarah Greenough of the National Gallery of Art received the Publication award for Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans. Greenough told the audience that she learned about photography from visiting the library to look at books by Edward Steichen and Paul Strand, but her first look at The Americans had the greatest impact. “Everything suddenly became clear, I knew right there that photography had grabbed my heart and mind."

The 2010 Infinity Award winners were selected by book publisher Chris Boot, gallery owner Peter MacGill of the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York, and Carol McKusker, curator at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego.

More than 600 guests attended the ICP gala, which was held at Pier Sixty Chelsea Piers. Willis “Buzz” Hartshorn, the director of ICP, hosted the ceremony. Among the attendees were photographers Mary Ellen Mark, Mark Seliger, Craig McDean and Nigel Parry; Harper's Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey; NBC Today show host Ann Curry and ABC's Christiane Amanpour; photo editors Michele McNally, Chris Dougherty and Aidan Sullivan; fashion designer Calvin Klein; writer Ingrid Sischy; curators Thelma Golden of the Studio Museum of Harlem and Peter Galassi of the Museum of Modern Art; book publisher Darius Himes; Aperture book editor Denise Wolff; gallerist L. Parker Stephenson; and rep and Infinity Award co-chair Jed Root. 

–reporting by Amber Terranova

(Photo: Lifetime Achievement Award winner John G. Morris and presenter Christiane Amanpour. 

Photo © Stephanie Badini Photography. )

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