The 28th Annual International Center of Photography Infinity Awards, held May 2 in New York City, paid tribute to its departing director, ICP director Willis E. “Buzz” Hartshorn, who last year announced he wanted to step down for medical reasons. Though Hartshorn will continue to work with ICP, this was his last Infinity Awards as director, a role he has held since 1994, when he took over from ICP founder Cornell Capa.
The crowd gave a standing ovation to Hartshorn, who oversaw the expansion of both the ICP museum’s exhibition space and its photography school and the creation of the ICP Triennial exhibition. In accepting a special Infinity Award last night, Hartshorn said that in the 30 years he’s been associated with ICP, its mission has evolved from promoting the appreciation of photography to exploring “how pictures create meaning.” He thanked the ICP board for creating a new advisory position for him within the institution. He also expressed gratitude to ICP founder Cornell Capa for his leadership and encouragement. Looking first toward the heavens and then, after a pause, downwards, Hartshorn said, “Cornell, thank you for giving me this opportunity.”
Photographer Daido Moriyama won the Lifetime Achievement Award. A video that preceded the presentation showed Moriyama capturing his black-and-white, expressionistic images, shooting on the streets of Tokyo with a small pocket camera, sometimes from the hip or without looking through the viewfinder. Moriyama took his iconic photo “Stray Dog” while in his 20s, but for a time he abandoned photography, frustrated that his work was only copying. After falling into a period of drug use, he by chance found and bought a used Pentax and then returned to making art. (more…)