Honore at ICP Career Day
Tuesday July 3rd, 2012
by Honore Brown
I never tire of visiting New York. As a former resident, I was thrilled to have the opportunity last week to head up to my old stomping grounds to participate in International Center of Photography’s Career Day as a portfolio reviewer. The event, held annually for their graduating class, is an excellent opportunity to meet with other photo editors, gallery owners and art buyers, as well as to see lots of interesting work. Clear blue skies and sunshine greeted me when I popped out of Penn Station last week—it was a quick walk and a stroll through Bryant Park from there to get to ICP.
Prior to our review sessions I attended the brief reviewer lunch. There, I had a chance to see a few old friends like Whitney Johnson of The New Yorker, Christina Cahill of Getty Images, and Deborah Dragon of Rolling Stone. I also was able to make some new acquaintances such as Kathy Nguyen of Fast Company who wanted me to send regards to our producer Craig and the gang here at Wonderful Machine.
After a brief orientation in which we were instructed that students might be quite nervous, we were sent off to our respective rooms for our review sessions—six back-to-back, followed by a quick coffee break, and then five more. During my sessions, I found the students to be quite confident, seasoned from an entire morning of reviews. They seemed to anticipate what work would get the strongest response.
Sometimes these events can be a bit of a whirlwind affair. A fellow reviewer sighed after the last session and said, “It’s kind of like speed dating.” I knew what he meant. In each brief encounter you try to find some common language about photography and points of reference. A few things stay with you, and a lot slips away. As I looked back at the cards I had collected over the afternoon, I realized I was particularly struck by the work of a several students. Helena Wolfenson had a beautiful and haunting portrait series of a woman she had met and befriended while living in New York. Juan Lopez had shared a really impressive documentary series on a mariachi group. And Elena Soboleva had a striking series on Russian Orthodox communities. Many students had spent a year far away from friends and family to study in New York, and much of the work reflected a sense of longing for community, familiar places, and a place to call home.
After things wrapped up at ICP, I went out for some wine and snacks at Saju Bistro Bar with Whitney Johnson and Jessie Wender of The New Yorker. We caught up on life in the big city, magazines, family, surfing lessons and anything else that we could cram into a few quick hours together.
It was hard to leave my good friends and the city that still felt like home, but it was time to catch my train. I made a mad dash for the subway and as I ran bumped into a giant, and rather shabby looking Elmo in the bustle of Times Square. Maybe this is why I don’t live in New York anymore? Thankfully, I did catch my train. Thanks for having me, ICP!