Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism

One-Year Certificate Program
For admissions inquiries, contact [email protected]

ICP's One-Year Certificate programs provide advanced students with an intensive yearlong course of study to strengthen personal vision, teach professional practices, and explore the many disciplines informing media and art today.

About the Program

The Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism program focuses specifically on the investigative skills and technical knowledge necessary to advance in the complex and constantly changing world of visual journalism. With ICP’s long-standing commitment to documentary practice, this program engages faculty who are some of the foremost practitioners in the field today. Visiting photographers discuss new media, business, and methodologies, as well as political, ethical, and social concerns.

The curriculum is student-centered, focusing on class discussions and critiques in a supportive learning atmosphere. Students explore the history of photojournalism; develop new and challenging technical skills in still photography, multimedia, and video; learn strategies for publication; and intern with premier photographers, newspapers, magazines, and agencies located in New York.

Top image © Gareth Smit, PJ '15

The Curriculum

The Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism program provides intermediate to advanced students with an intensive yearlong course of study that strengthens personal vision, teaches professional practices, and explores the many disciplines that inform media and art today. During the first term, many assignments are given to help students move out of their comfort zones and quickly acquire new skills and perspectives; in the winter term, our approach shifts to encourage more self-directed, independent work; and in the spring term, as students’ main projects are solidified and completed, internships and assistance with presentation lead up to the year-end exhibition, a day of portfolio reviews with leading professionals, and graduation.

The academic year is divided into three terms, with an optional intersession in January. Each term, students register for four to five 10-week courses and three to four weekend workshops. Students should expect to spend 18–20 hours in the classroom weekly and to allow ample extra time for shooting, production, and the completion of assignments.

Course requirements for the academic year include three terms of the Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism Seminar, three terms of technical instruction in digital workflow, and one term of photographic history. Lighting and some history of analogue printing are required and highly recommended to complete before entrance in the fall. Students select additional 10-week courses and weekend workshops each term. These creative and technical offerings allow students to shape a sequence of instruction that will strengthen their practice. The Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism program also offers students the opportunity to participate in an internship with a photographer, agency, magazine, or newspaper.

Alumni Work

Camille Zurcher
Camille Zurcher, PJ '12
Jimena Mateo
Jimena Mateo, PJ '14
Yen-Yin Chen, PJ '14
Yen-Yin Chen, PJ '14
The Chair
Alison Morley has been the Chair of the Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism (formerly the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism) Program since 2000. She has been the photography director of The New York Times' Sophisticated Traveler, Audubon, Civilization, Esquire, Mirabella, Elle, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She has received awards for photo editing from American Photography, The Society of Publication Design, and Communication Arts. She is the editor of several major photography publications, including The Ninth Floor by Jessica Dimmock; Blood and Honey: A Balkan War Journal and Afghanistan: The Road to Kabul by Ron Haviv; and I Am Rich Potosí: The Mountain That Eats Men by Stephen Ferry. In Los Angeles, Morley ran her own studio doing editorial portraiture for magazines, and her photographs have been published in several books, including Backstory: Screenwriters of the Golden Age, edited by Patrick McGilligan. Morley has written on photography for magazines and books and has lectured and led workshops in the U.S., Argentina, Bangladesh, Bosnia, China, Hungary, Peru, the Philippines, and Uganda.