From fitness gurus to wellness bloggers to fat-positivity influencers, everyone seems to have something to say about the embattled territory of the body. In a world where our understandings of beauty, and of idealized bodies, are profoundly influenced by visual culture, we invite artists and writers to ruminate on the pictures that make us.

Join series host Reya Sehgal; VICE columnist Elyssa Goodman; photographer Anastasia Garica; and Nafisa Kaptownwala, founder of the agency Lorde Inc., for a critical conversation on the role of images in determining our health, self-image, and dreams of a perfect body.

This is a free event, but please register in advance. ICP Members have access to preferred seating in our reserved members’ section.

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About Optics: A New Way of Seeing Contemporary Culture

Hosted by artist and curator Reya Sehgal, this series invites critics, artists, and imagemakers to analyze the pictures that shape contemporary culture and current events. Optics considers the images, visual communications, and vision-related technologies that impact our times. In our current image-saturated society of 24-hour news cycles, social media, and memes, an understanding of the ways in which pictures are shaped, produced, distributed, remixed, and go viral is vital to an understanding of culture itself.


Elyssa Goodman is writer and photographer based in New York. She is the "Woman Seeing Woman" columnist at VICE, where she writes about women in photography. Her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, ELLE, New York Magazine’s “The Cut,” i-D, and many more. Photography clients and publications include Sephora, the New Yorker, VICE, Artforum, and Cosmopolitan, among others.

Anastasia Garcia is a photographer and body-positive activist based in New York City. She is most known for her use of photography to challenge exclusive beauty norms by using a range of diverse models, particularly plus size models. Her worked has been published in magazines such as Elle, Marie Claire, InStyle, and Cosmopolitan. She has published writings on the importance of diversity in media, and most recently starred in the documentary Straight/Curve: Redefining Body Image.

Nafisa Kaptownwala is the founder of casting and modelling agency Lorde Inc. Established in 2014, in London, UK, Lorde is the world's first modelling agency that exclusively represents models of color. She has been featured in international publications The Guardian, New York Magazine, i-D, and many more. Through Lorde Inc., Kaptownwala produces casting and editorial work that focus on the perspectives of racialized people. Kaptownwala has hosted workshops at institutions such as University of Pennsylvania and University of Toronto, and through her writing explores ideas around racism and sustainability in fashion. She obtained a BFA in art history specializing critical race theories and representation at Concordia University.

Reya Sehgal is an interdisciplinary artist and curator based in New York City. She has curated exhibitions and public programs at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, Brown University, Queens Museum, Project for Empty Space, Knockdown Center, and BRIC. Her artistic work has been seen, and experienced, at the DUMBO Arts Festival, AS220, Distillery Gallery, RISD Museum, Arab American National Museum, Leslie Lohman Museum, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Sehgal is a member of the DIVERSITY FELLOWS! performance collaborative, and currently serves as the Postgraduate Fellow in Visual Culture at the International Center of Photography.


Image: Weegee, [Female nude with clothes hanger distortion], ca. 1955. © Weegee/International Center of Photography (4436.1993)