The theme for the summer was “What’s My Story.” We went to the ICP Museum to see the Magnum Manifesto show. It was great for the students to see both old and new work on a much larger scale and the importance of visual storytelling. The show taught the students what a photo collective is and how different photographs can collaborate and tell stories that are typically unseen. They learned how the collective helped advance earlier photographers work and ownership over work for publications.
As young budding photographers, it was helpful for them to hear and see what hoops past photographers had to jump through to suceed and to the time, hard work, and skills they needed to become great photographer. One of the students was so moved by the show she set a life’s goal to be the first woman from The Bronx to be a Magnum Photographer. She says it doesn’t matter how long it takes to come true.
This summer, our class had the pleasure of welcoming one of Contact Press’ photographers, Frank Fournier, as our Guest Artist. Frank shared his first experience as a photographer living in a new place and the stories he wanted to tell. We viewed Drop Dead, which is Frank’s first body of work about his time in New York City. It was wonderful for the students to see his work and start to understand the process of building a story. During the slideshow, they discussed making time to photograph, finding a story, and understanding the importance of a story. After the presentation of work, Frank took time to view the students’ work and give feedback on their personal projects.
This spring semester at ICP at THE POINT, the Tuesday preteen class visited Central Park in Manhattan.
The theme of this term’s class is Natural World. The students have been learning different manual settings in their cameras. They exposed images combining the aperture and shutter speed. Through their photography, they have shown interest in capturing moments of urban nature in the city.
At Central Park, the students explored different areas, looking for scenes related to that Natural World: plants, flowers, animals, trees, clouds. We discussed terms of nature and ecology in relation with the parks in the city.
A couple of weeks ago, our advanced photography students had the chance to meet guest artist Gabriel García Román. Gabriel is a queer and Mexican artist living in New York City. His family immigrated to the states when he was a child to live in Chicago.
His portraits are not just a portrait, but a physical object to hold and contemplate. He explained to the students how he is constantly questioning the inherent flatness of photography. Through this process, he has developed unique ways of portraying a person by weaving, folding, cutting, interlacing prints, or collaging.
With the Defining You series he handles the subject’s childhood experiences that were formative or conjure memories to relive. To achieve this meshing of past and present, he weaves photographs from the subject’s childhood together with their portrait, creating intricate patterns that inform distinct and complex personal identities.
In Queer Icons, he decides to portray the many facets of the gender and queer spectrum, a community that is generally under-represented in the art world. He uses the language of Renaissance, Flemish, and Christian Orthodox paintings to elevate these figures to that of an icon. The portraits were prepared using a photogravure and chine-collé technique resulting in a single and unique print.
At the end of the talk, students had the chance to talk one-on-one with the artist. They shared some of their images and contact sheets, and discussed progress on their final projects.
All photos: Roy Baizán
Credit: Richard Burrowes
Since 2004, ICP has partnered with Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center (AHC) teaching young people who attend the Center to re-envision their lives through photography. Working together to meet the needs of the students, the two organizations have designed a curriculum that combines group psychotherapy with creative expression. Each year, the themes of the program are identified by staff and students, and have included pride, strength, family, relationships, transformations, and legacy. While the program is centered around photographic instruction as the primary vehicle of self and community empowerment, writing, public speaking, and ongoing discussions around those themes are also integral components of the curriculum. Class time—spent equally at AHC and ICP—also includes slide presentations, assignments, field trips, and guest artist visits. The program culminates in a presentation and celebration of the students’ photographs and autobiographical writings.
The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center provides comprehensive medical, mental health, family planning, and health education services to young people ages of 10–22.
Copyright: Dominic, student
Credit: Isabel Figueroa
ICP’s Community Partnership with Friends of Island Academy and the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES) provides instruction in the basics of digital photography, writing, and public speaking as integrated into the pre-existing educational goals of Friends and CASES. Working with the themes of self and community empowerment, students work with digital cameras, laptop computers, and journals becoming more comfortable with their possibilities as tools for learning, self-expression, and affecting change. The curriculum includes: theme-based discussions, photography and writing assignments, slide presentations, group critiques/sharings, a guest artist visit, field trips, and time to prepare for the final presentation. The program culminates in a multimedia celebration of the students’ work for staff, family, and friends.
Friends of Island Academy is a youth development center, which anchors and empowers young people newly released from jail in New York City and offers the protective factors necessary to keep them from going back.
CASES is an organization that provides critical support services to predominantly court-involved youth.
Credit: Isabel Figueroa
Credit: Lorin Klaris
ICP at THE POINT is an ongoing collaboration with THE POINT Community Development Corporation in the South Bronx, providing a photography-based program that includes a classroom studio, black-and-white darkroom, and gallery. In a typical year, ICP at The POINT directly serves over 100 students through two tiers of preteen and teen classes, as well as weekly open labs. In four 10-session terms, ICP teaching artists provide instruction in the fundamentals of photography alongside writing and public speaking assignments. In addition to final presentations each term, students are also featured in an annual exhibition of their photographs in the on-site Vantage Point gallery. In 2005, the program received the Coming Up Taller Award, the nation’s highest honor bestowed by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
THE POINT Community Development Corporation is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. We work with our neighbors to celebrate the life and art of our community, an area traditionally defined solely in terms of its poverty, crime rate, poor schools, and substandard housing. They believe the area’s residents, their talents and aspirations, are THE POINT’s greatest assets.
Credit: Roy Baizan, student