The XIIIs Take a Visit to the International Center of Photography

Memories (Me), by Sheng Qi, Displayed at ICP

Last Friday, the XIIIs took a trip to the International Center of Photography to learn about how photography has been used over the years. They saw several exhibits, such as Unwavering Vision, an installation, Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection, and For Freedom.

The XIIIs took a nice long walk over to the museum. After a quick rest stop at Whole Foods next door, they entered the museum. Grouped at a table, our guide, Karen Lindsay, explained what the XIIIs would be seeing. Finally, we got in. The students entered the first gallery.

Your Mirror: Portraits from ICP’s permanent collection is the first and largest exhibit in the museum, daguerreotypes to twenty-first-century selfies, The exhibition shows many years of portraiture through photography. According to the ICP website, “The exhibition surveys the nuanced ways people present themselves for the camera; how and by whom they are represented, and who is deemed worthy of commemoration. This selection includes studio portraits, snapshots, and documentary photographs. every portrait serves a different purpose. Each one offers the opportunity to investigate the ways photography shapes our ideas about ourselves and others. Curated by Erin Barnett, director of exhibitions and collections, and Claartje van Dijk, assistant curator of collections.” The XIIIs, through photography, witnessed the conditions of war, the severity of aids, how people seem themselves

“The Images were very powerful and showed a complete overview of all of the topics they were representing.” Said Max.

“I thought it was really well organized, and it was the first I really thought about the curator's role in setting up photography,” Said Roly Levy. “It was clear that there was real thought put into each gallery, and one of my favorite parts was a lot of colored photos were black and white (I am unclear whether the photos are b/w or color), which gave it a timeless quality, which made the viewer focus more on the photo itself than when it was taken.”

Founded in 2016 by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms is an artist-led platform that investigates how art and artists can help deepen public discourse and political awareness in the United States. The two partnered with ICP in September of 2018. The Also according to the website on For Freedoms, “exhibition at the museum features a series of photographs that re-envision American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of the "Four Freedoms" articulated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union Address. Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear are embodied in stylized scenes of every day that reference Rockwell’s iconic style while bringing new, more inclusive representations of the country to the discussion of our core values”.

“What stood out to me was how the photographer put together sixteen different photos, and for the artist to go out of their way to be so inclusive was inspiring.” Said Bryan.

“When I first saw the original photos of people praying to Jesus, it just reminded me of the stereotypical American photos I would see, and I really liked seeing how they re-represented the photos with modern ideas.” Said Daisy Bishop.

After that, the XIIIs were assigned to find three photos in the museum to explore beyond just looking at the photo. They were to write down when the photo was created andwho created it, what the photo is about, and what the viewer believed the photo represents. The XIIIs then returned to the museum lobby, where they returned to the school.

When asked why he wanted to bring the XIIIs to ICP, Tyrone Brown-Osborne, C&C Photography teacher and orchestrator of the ICP trip, said “For me, going to the International Center of Photography ends the year in very much the same way we began it, since we went to Photoville. We think about these trips in terms of their impact on your studies; in terms of impact on journalism, activism, and advocacy. The XIIIs also went to the Newseum, which ties the three trips together. The point of these trips is to inspire you to think of things in your own life. When you take pictures now, you can take them with more depth.”

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