ICP Member Spotlight: Q&A with Jason Mendelson

Mar 26, 2015

What first brought you to ICP, and why did you decide to become a member?

I used to walk the Museum Mile on a regular basis and at some point decided to visit ICP [at 94th Street]. I found no matter what the exhibition, it was interesting and worth a separate trip. It became clear I should just join. ICP combines art, politics, history, and technology, in a single place.

What has been your favorite ICP moment, class, program, exhibition, or photographer?

I've enjoyed so many exhibitions. Weegee, Capa in Color, and Sebastião Salgado: Genesis were some favorites.

If you could meet a photographer, who would it be?

Robert Capa. I admire his work, his contribution to photography, and his heroism. I think chatting with Annie Leibovitz would be fascinating. I'd also like to meet the current engineers behind Nikon or Canon, or someone like George Eastman.

Do you collect photography? Do you have notable works in your collection?

I have an eclectic mix. I have several antique photo albums covering specific historical periods and events as well as an original period stereoscope with related slides. I also have several more contemporary books about New York, including Martha Cooper's Subway Art and Nathan Lieberman's Manhattan Lightscape (my favorite about New York City). Most of the photographs up in my apartment are my own work, which I also self-print. Photography covers such a wide spectrum.

What type of photographs do you take?

My best-regarded work would be classified as street photography, but I try to make even cliché travel photos interesting. I was fortunate enough to be an Artist-in-Residence for Photography at the old 92nd Street Y affiliate, Makor. I also once lectured at the Apple SoHo store on iPhoto and participated in several group gallery shows. Recently, I've been photographing a tiered metal sculpture I created to hold fruit in the kitchen for a Kickstarter launch. I'm also working on a unique interactive slide show concept for my website darkroomphoto.com.

Jason Mendelson
© Jason Mendelson

As a photographer, have there been any defining moments in your career or interesting experiences you would like to share with us?

My first day in New York, in the late '90s, I watched a small lobster exit a restaurant and be scooped back up. After that, I often carried around a disposable film camera to capture city moments. On September 11, I was near Ground Zero with a camera when the towers fell. I ended up in the exhibition and related book, Here is New York, and was interviewed for the National Archives. My video was included in the kiosk at ICP’s recent Remembering 9/11 exhibition.


The Member Spotlight is an opportunity for members to discuss their most memorable experiences at ICP. If you would like to share your story, send us an email at membership@icp.org.