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The American public is divided—over economic policy, social policy, foreign policy, race, privacy and national security, and much more. The two-party system is polarized, various movements are afoot, and the American public seems content with its inability to come together in civil dialogue. The current presidential campaign is rife with anger and discord.

Capturing this contentious landscape poses numerous challenges to the photojournalist. In this panel discussion, a group of ICP alumni share the strategies they employ to capture this discord.


Sarah Blesener is a documentary photographer based between New York City and Moscow. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she studied Linguistics and Youth Development at North Central University. While in university, she worked as a photographer for the organization Healing Haiti based in Port au Prince, Haiti, covering events surrounding the 2010 earthquake. Upon graduation in 2012, she studied at Bookvar Russian Academy in Minneapolis, concentrating on the Russian language. She is a recent graduate of the Visual Journalism and Documentary Practice program at the International Center of Photography in New York, focusing on politics and youth studies.

Stephanie Keith, moderator, has photographed news and features for the past fifteen years for The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Reuters, and Getty Images. She is the author of the photo book Vodou Brooklyn. In 2012, she won Newswoman of the Year from the Newswomen’s Club of New York for her photos of Occupy Wall Street. In 2015, she won Best Breaking News photo from three different New York City journalism societies, and The New York Daily News chose the photo as one of the best news photos of the year. Through Reuters and Getty Images, her photos have been published worldwide in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Business Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Al Jazeera. From 2015–2016, The New York Times has published her photos on their cover on four different dates. She has lived in Brooklyn for the past twenty years and still loves it.

Johnny Milano was born in 1989 and hails from Long Island, New York. After receiving his bachelor degree in political science from St. Joseph's College, he was one of approximately 26 students accepted into the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography program at the International Center of Photography in New York City. Upon completion of the one-year program, he went on to string for Long Island's newspaper, Newsday, and continues to freelance for other news outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and more. His work can be seen in Reuters, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera America, CNN, VICE, The Weather Channel, and more. Johnny also continues to work on long form visual essays that address current social issues, such as the Ku Klux Klan and civilian paramilitary groups who patrol the Mexican border. 

Cédric von Niederhäusern is a documentary photographer. He was born in Bern, Switzerland, and worked as a photographer for several media outlets and as photo editor for the daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. His documentary project “Leaving war behind“ (2014) about the refugee crisis in Turkey at the border to Syria was part of several exhibitions in Switzerland and at Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France (2015). Selected work has been published in the books Swiss Press Photo 13 and Swiss Press Photo 15. Recently graduated from the Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism program at the International Center of Photography in New York, he is focusing on political issues in the United States, specializing in the 2016 election year and the polarization of the public that surrounds it.

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TOP IMAGE: © Cédric Dürig