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Women in Photography and Film

Date Mar 01, 2017
Type Panel

A discussion about, with, and in support of women working in photography and film with ICP alumni Maria Burns, Nadia Hallgren, and Mae Ryan. This program is moderated by producer, editor, and curator Grace Aneiza Ali.


Born and raised in Switzerland, Maria Burns completed her sensible study of psychology at Berne University before moving to Brooklyn to pursue photography. While studying at the International Center of Photography in New York City, Burns began exploring human nature through image. Burns found her niche combining her newfound art with her love of psychology, creating work that attempts to understand how modern social dogmas affect perception and behavior. With her first short film, Tendance Brute, followed by others, Burns brings her defined aesthetic sense into the motion world.

Nadia Hallgren is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer from the Bronx, New York. She is an alum of the International Center of Photography and was mentored by filmmaker Kirsten Johnson. Her Director of Photography credits include the Academy Award–nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Trouble the Water Trapped, War Don Don, and CNN’s Girl Rising. She has also contributed to many noted feature documentaries including Fahrenheit 9/11, Searching for Sugarman, The Hunting Ground, Suited, and Hamilton’s America. Hallgren serves on the board of the Bronx Documentary Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing photography and film with underserved Bronx communities.

Mae Ryan is an Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and photographer. She is currently a senior producer at The Front—a female led documentary production company. For three years, Ryan was a senior producer at The Guardian US where she covered a variety of topics including immigration, police brutality and vaginas. Before The Guardian, Ryan co-created AudioVision, a web video series, at KPCC—a local NPR station in Los Angeles. Ryan studied Architectural Design at Stanford and is a graduate of the documentary photography program at the International Center of Photography. Her clients have included The Guardian, New York Times, TIME, Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Fader, CNN, MTV, Architectural Record, and Elle China.

Grace Aneiza Ali (moderator) is the Founder and Editorial Director of the award-winning OF NOTE magazine, which features global artists using the arts as catalysts for activism and social change. She has served as Editor and Digital Curator for several of the magazine’s art and social justice issues, including: The Burqa, The Imprisoned, The Immigrant, and The Girls Issue. In 2014, OF NOTE received the Images and Voices of Hope (IVOH) Journalism Award for “Media Project Committed to Constructive Change.” She is a faculty member in the Department Art and Public Policy at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She also teaches in the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the City College of New York (CUNY), where she was the recipient of its Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award in 2014.

She is a Fulbright Scholar and a World Economic Forum “Global Shaper,” and was a speaker at the Forum’s 2013 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.