ICP Announces 2017 Infinity Awards

Noted Photographer Harry Benson to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award; All Honorees to Be Celebrated at Gala on April 24 in New York City
Jan 11, 2017
Noted Photographer Harry Benson to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award; All Honorees to Be Celebrated at Gala on April 24 in New York City

The International Center of Photography (ICP), the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture, today announced the 2017 honorees of its annual Infinity Awards, widely considered the leading honor for excellence in the field. The 33rd annual ICP Infinity Awards will be held in New York City on the evening of Monday, April 24.

“Throughout our history, the International Center of Photography has been dedicated to the idea that images are powerful tools for communication and understanding, and a force for social change. And, every year, we present the Infinity Awards to acknowledge the significant talents of those using photography and visual arts to shed light on and make an impact on an ever-changing world,” said ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell. “We look forward to this April’s event—always a very special night—when we will celebrate this outstanding group’s impressive collective achievements.”


Since 1985, the ICP Infinity Awards have recognized major contributions and emerging talent in the fields of photojournalism, art, fashion photography, and publishing. Past recipients include Berenice Abbott, Lynsey Addario, Richard Avedon, Ariella Azoulay, David Bailey, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Chuck Close, Roy DeCarava, Elliott Erwitt, Harold Evans, Larry Fink, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Robert Frank, Adam Fuss, David Goldblatt, Paul Graham, David Guttenfelder, Mishka Henner, André Kertész, Steven Klein, William Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz, Helen Levitt, Mary Ellen Mark, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Ryan McGinley, Susan Meiselas, Duane Michals, Daidō Moriyama, Zanele Muholi, James Nachtwey, Shirin Neshat, Gordon Parks, Gilles Peress, Walid Raad, Eugene Richards, Sebastião Salgado, Malick Sidibé, Lorna Simpson, Cindy Sherman, Mario Testino, Peter Van Atgmael, Bruce Weber, and Ai Weiwei, among others. Past Infinity Award attendees include Hamish Bowles, Naomi Campbell, Grace Coddington, Bella Hadid, Carolina Herrera, Arianna Huffington, Karlie Kloss, Alexandra Richards, Leelee Sobieski, and Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor.

The annual event is ICP’s largest annual fundraiser and supports all of ICP’s programs, including exhibitions, education, collections, and community outreach.

The 2017 honorees were chosen by a selection committee composed of Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, ICP; Beryl Graham, Professor of New Media Art, University of Sunderland in the UK; and Joel Smith, Curator of Photography, The Morgan Library.

Sponsored by Hearst, the 33rd Annual ICP Infinity Awards will draw more than 500 attendees from the worlds of art, business, entertainment, fashion, philanthropy, and photography. Co-chairing this year’s event are Marjorie Rosen, Michael A. Clinton, and Judith Bookbinder. For more information or advance reservations, please contact STAMP Event Management at icp@stampeventco.com or 212.219.0111, ext. 7008.

About the 2017 Infinity Award Honorees

Harry Benson, CBE, came to America with the Beatles in 1964 and never looked back. The award-winning Scottish photojournalist marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement; photographed the Watts Riots; was embedded in the Gulf War; was next to Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated; and has photographed the last 12 U.S. presidents from President Eisenhower to President-Elect Trump, as well as countless luminaries including Sir Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Kate Moss, and the British royal family, including a private sitting with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace. In 2009, Benson was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for service to photography. He received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from both St. Andrews University and Glasgow University, Scotland, and is an Honorary Fellow of London's Royal Photographic Society. Benson has twice been named NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year. Under contract to Life Magazine for 30 years, he has photographed for major magazines including Time, Vanity Fair, W, Newsweek, French Vogue, Quest, Paris Match, Forbes, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, People, and The Sunday Times Magazine. Harry’s photographs are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC and in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland. There have been 40 gallery/museum solo exhibitions of Benson’s photographs and sixteen books of his photographs have been published. Most recently, the documentary Harry Benson: Shoot First (Magnolia Pictures, December 2016), which chronicles his 65-year career, was released to five-star reviews.

Sophie Calle has been making work since the late 1970s that employs provocative and sometimes controversial methods for confronting her emotional and psychological life. Her renowned exhibition, Take Care of Yourself—created for the French Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale—invited women to interpret an email Calle had received from a boyfriend abruptly severing their relationship. The artist orchestrated these interpretations into what Louise Neri described as “a tour de force of feminine responses...in a wild range of media” filling the pavilion. Since then, Calle has been developing an alternately poignant and humorous, deeply personal, and yet utterly relatable body of work titled Rachel, Monique, memorializing in myriad of stories and images the passing of her mother. Calle’s work has been shown at many international venues including the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Museum Boymans van Beuningen (Rotterdam), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo), as well as at the ICP Museum. She was the recipient of the 2010 Hasselblad Award for photography and is nominated for the 2017 Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize.

Michael Christopher Brown is a photographer and filmmaker raised in the Skagit Valley, a farming community in Washington state. His recent work-in-progress explores the electronica music and youth scene in Havana, Cuba, and the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A contributing photographer to publications such as National Geographic Magazine and The New York Times Magazine, Brown was subject of the 2012 HBO documentary Witness: Libya. His photographs were exhibited at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Instituto Cervantes (New York), The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Annenberg Space for Photography, and the Brooklyn Museum. The project for which he receives the ICP Infinity Award—Libyan Sugar (2016)—explores ethical distance and the iconography of warfare while using a phone camera. A book on the series was released in 2016 by Twin Palms Publishers; a film and a mixed media installation will complete the project.

“Vision & Justice” (Aperture; no. 223, summer 2016), Aperture’s special issue dedicated to photography of the black experience, was edited by Michael Famighetti and Sarah Lewis. Famighetti, the editor of Aperture magazine, has also edited numerous photography books and his writing has appeared in Frieze, Bookforum, Aperture, and OjodePez, among other publications. He has degrees from Bard College and Columbia University, where he has taught in the core curriculum. Famighetti has served as a judge for the National Magazine Awards and has been a guest reviewer and speaker at many international photography festivals and institutions. Lewis is an author, curator, and assistant professor at Harvard University teaching courses on the relationship of art to citizenship in African-American visual culture. She previously held curatorial positions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Modern in London, and taught at Yale University School of Art. In addition, she authored the best-seller The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, now translated into seven languages, and gave a popular TEDGlobal main stage talk on the same theme—the gift of the near win. Lewis has been published in many journals and publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Artforum, and Art in America. 

Crofton Black and Edmund Clark’s Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition offers a complex portrayal of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s secret detention practices in the war on terror and the process of investigating them. It reflects five years of work by Black and Clark on secret detention sites—the logistical structures that enabled them and the people held in them. Black is a researcher and writer who works extensively on corporate outsourcing by militaries and intelligence agencies, and is a leading expert on the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program. Clark is an award-winning photographer whose work links history, politics, and representation. This project was supported by the Magnum Foundation and published by Aperture.

Vasantha Yogananthan was born in 1985 and lives and works in Paris. In 2014—the same year he set out on a freelance career as a photographer—Yogananthan co-founded the publishing house Chose Commune and published his first book, Piémanson, which was nominated for MACK First Book Award and Kassel Best Book of the Year. In 2015, he received the IdeasTap/Magnum Photos Award (in the international category) to help him fund A Myth of Two Souls—his project on the Ramayana in India, which spans over seven years. That project continues to evolve and will be published into seven books: The first one, Early Times, was published in May 2016; the next chapter, The Promise, will be released in April 2017.  

For Freedoms, co-founded by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, is the first artist-run Super PAC using art to inspire deeper political engagement for citizens who want to have a greater impact on the American political landscape. Thomas is a photo-conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history, and popular culture who has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad. His work can be found in numerous public collections including The Museum of Modern Art New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The High Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Thomas’ co-founder Gottesman photographs, writes, makes videos, teaches, and uses art as a vehicle to engage people in critical conversations about the social structures that surround them and him.  Gottesman is currently a Visiting Associate Professor in Film, Photography, and Video at Hampshire College, a Visiting Professor at Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts, and a Mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Project. His work is in various collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The For Freedoms team is rounded out by photographer Wyatt Gallery; nonprofit arts organization strategic planning and development consultant Dena Muller; art historian and business consultant Michelle Woo; and Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels, a Director at the Jack Shainman Gallery.

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