ICP Faculty: Ben Gest

Associate Chair of Part-Time Programs Ben Gest discusses the unique and accessible qualities of ICP's Continuing Education programs.
Dec 03, 2019
© Lavonne Hall

When did you join ICP’s faculty and how does your experience relate to your own photographic practice?

I joined ICP in 2012. I was responsible for developing part-time programs to address the various needs of individuals who were eager to engage deeply with photography, but were unlikely to enroll in a full-time program.

I designed three programs that integrate what I had learned thus far in my life as an artist and educator over the past twenty years. I’ve taught at top art schools and universities across the country, where I’ve had the opportunity to develop innovative curricula, programming, and policies in a variety of artistic and professional creative environments.

The faculty members of ICP’s Part-Time Programs have various backgrounds, achievements, and talents, and possess a deep understanding of how to best foster collaboration and creative productivity. We bring together photographers from around the world who are driven to develop their art, refine their creative processes, and learn the skills they will need to be influential, creative professionals.

What is important for students to know about ICP’s Part-Time Programs? What makes them unique?

ICP’s Part-Time Programs are filled with students of all ages, professional backgrounds, and experiences, which results in an exciting exchange of ideas and perspectives. The faculty facilitates and creates a vibrant learning environment in order to engage individual student interests across the breadth of photography.

Our seminars also involve contemporary theory. We ask our students to be self-driven in their creative explorations, and teach them how to critique their work and help one another learn the nuances and complexities of photography. Students become engaged in a process of problem-solving and collaboration, and develop the skills they will need in their future professional or creative endeavors. Together, we build a community that is a center for contemporary photography and creative thinking.

What is the takeaway or successful outcome for students enrolled in the program?

Students have enjoyed a wide variety of success upon completing ICP’s Part-Time Programs. Some have moved directly into professional, creative photographic production, in either the arts or commercial arenas; some have gone on to study in top master’s degree programs; and some have applied their newly developed skills to professional leadership roles in various forms of business. Our alumni have earned fellowships and grants in their creative explorations, and gone on to publish books or bravely pivot in their professional lives and begin entirely new careers.

Success, however, is also measured in terms of how our alumni have become leaders in creative problem solving, communication, and productivity, both privately and professionally.

How do the Part-Time Programs fit into ICP’s move to its new location on Manhattan’s Lower East Side?

ICP is a cultural center and a community of creativity and innovation that attracts diverse and dedicated students from around the world. The Part-Time Programs recognize that working professionals with time limitations are looking for a high level of engagement at a lower cost of entry. ICP’s Part-Time Programs strive to be a model of forward-thinking education that is responsive to an ever-changing landscape of professional skills and needs. Proudly, we call New York City’s Lower East Side neighborhood our new home.


Applications for the next cycle of the Track and Advanced Track Programs are due December 31, 2019. Winter term begins January 27, 2020.


Learn more about ICP’s move to Essex Crossing.