How the Light Gets In features work by graduating students of ICP’s One-Year Certificate programs in Creative Practices, Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism, and New Media Narratives. View the virtual showcase

About How the Light Gets In

It seems almost too obvious to say that photography, film, and video are about light. After all, isn’t light really all they are, essentially? Light bounces off the world, passes through a lens and leaves its mark in the form of an image. But light is also the way the visual and the visible become symbolic, metaphorical. More than that, at moments of crisis and change, light becomes more significant than usual, more emphatic, more loaded.

Anyone studying imagemaking this year has done so in the grip of crisis and change. The students of the International Center of Photography’s One-Year Certificate Programs have endured more crisis and change than most, for as well as the multiple effects of the global pandemic, the ICP’s school moved location. Any and all norms were suspended. It is to the infinite credit of this group of students that they not only worked through this tumultuous time but embraced change as an artistic challenge. They have made virtues of necessities, and turned limitations into possibilities. The work they have made is inventive, responsive, and acute.

I am struck by the attention to light in their work. I would even go so far as to say it is something of a constant subject, if not a unifying presence here. Light does not simply enable these images; it is contemplated as a condition.

Perhaps lockdown has had something to do with this. Whatever its other effects, it has alerted us all to the passage of light, the way a room passes through the day, and light passes through a room. Screens have had something to do with it too. So much human communication has taken place through the agency of emitted light. The night played has played its part. Sleep patterns were disrupted, clock time lost its grip, night became day became night. And through it all these students have looked hard. Very hard. Vision has intensified. Eyes have widened, alert for meaning in a parallel world, an inverted world.

Meaning will come to those who look intensely. Sometimes it is there, hiding in plain sight. Sometimes it comes as a sliver of light, piercing darkness, forcing it open. But light is nothing at all unless it is captured and turned into image. There are no rules for this, no conventions to be relied upon any longer. Perhaps there never were. Imagemaking is a gamble, a risk that must be taken. There are no guarantees for success, no certainties in the stumbling into light. Only possibilities.  

– David Campany, Managing Director of Programs, ICP


Mostofa Bassim
Gili Benita
Jordana Bermudez
Minik Bidstrup
Luca Jardim
Junli Chen
Marcin Czajkowski
Matthew Dalton
Gerardo del Valle
Nava Derakhshani
Itamar Dotan Katz
Ahmed Gaber
Vanessa Garibay
Elisabetta Giriodi
Gulsen Goksel
Zoe Golden-Johnson
Barbara Gundlach
Adriana Fontes
Violette Franchi
Rebecca Fudala
Daniel Harel
Billy Hickey
Yingheng Huang
Revital Iyov
Omer Kaplan
Polina Kato
James Lattanzio
Tina Levy
Qing Qing Li
Hayley Lohn
Ira Lupu
Madeline Mancini
Kana Motojima
Ayna Musayeva
Ximena Natera
Paul Ampofo Ninson
Yana Nosenko
Netnarin Padungjirapuntip
Clare Perry
Trip Peters
Iouri Podladtchikov
Noa Raviv
K. Flo Razowsky
Zazou Roddam
Chiara Salerno
Val Schnack
Seungjae Seo
Kechen Song
Sabrina Srur
Ana Vallejo
Lucía Vázquez
Srini Venkateswaran
Wanda von Bremen
Zehui Wang
Napat Wesshasartar
Fuxuan Xin
Ashima Yadava
Betty Yu


Image: © Ahmed Gaber
© Nava Derakhshani
© Marcin Czajkowski
© Betty Yu
© Junli Chen
A man sitting on his bed, looking at a blue and yellow neon sign glowing outside of his bedroom window. © Gili Benita
A lot of colorful lines going horizontally. © Kechen Song
A girl going through the door. © Clare Perry
Pregnant nurse jumping of joy © Netnarin Padungjirapuntip