International Center of Photography

The International Center of Photography was founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa. The location for this school was originally the "historic Willard Straight House." But a satellite facility was opened in 1985 "to accommodate growth."

The official address of the center is now 1114 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street in New York City.

Staff members and administrators have a number of specific ideas about photography presentation and education, including the use of "exhibitions, collections and education for the general public."

Here it's possible to learn about photographic technique, of course, but the center also emphasizes the contribution photography has made to society and its role in affecting social change.

This emphasis on the history and evolution of photography doesn't keep the International Center of Photography from being an up-to-date place to learn about the art and craft.

The center has presented more than 500 exhibitions to date, with more than 3,000 photographers participating. Classes and workshops have "enriched thousands of students" as well.

An expanded gallery facility was constructed with state-of-the-art lighting, climate control and digital presentation capabilities. The 17,000-square-foot site was re-opened in 2000, with an expanded store and cafe onsite. As if that wasn't enough, listen to what took place the next year:

"The expansion of the School of the International Center of Photography in the fall of 2001 created an exciting Midtown campus diagonally across from the Museum in the Grace Building at 1114 Avenue of the Americas.

Designed by the architecture firm Gensler, the new, 27,000-square-foot school facility doubled ICP's teaching space and allowed ICP to expand both its programming and community outreach."

Quality Education

The International Center of Photography now offers a range of courses, with the current list topping 400 workshops, seminars and formal classes in such areas as traditional film, darkroom practice and digital technique.

The courses include training in both black-and-white and color. Multimedia and digital video training is also offered, along with a professional-grade studio facility.

Students travel from around the world to learn from the professionals at the International Center of Photography. Many of these students enroll in the center's one-year certificate programs, some of which focus on providing

"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."

One of the premier learning plans at the center is the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program that focuses on "investigative skills and technical knowledge necessary to succeed in the complex and constantly changing world of visual journalism."


Fall-term instruction focuses on digital skills and the workflow process, while the winter term puts emphasis on a student's primary project. Students are exposed to ideas and techniques from a number of visiting professionals.

Programs at the center are set up in three terms, with students taking part in four or five courses of 10 weeks length and three or four courses on the weekends. Classroom hours usually total 16 to 20, with weekend workshops taking in a full day. Course requirements include:

  • Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Seminar - three terms

  • Digital Workflow: Technical Instruction - three terms

  • Photographic History - one term

Students also study lighting and the history of analog printing. "Students are encouraged to participate in an internship as well". Dozens of the best photographers and instructors in the world have a place on the International Center of Photography staff. Alison Morley has headed the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program for the past 10 years.

Students should be prepared to submit a quality portfolio and resume along with other application materials. A one-page statement of purpose is also required. It is important for prospective students to know that they can apply for undergraduate degree credit once they successfully complete the program.

There is a fee for this in addition to the International Center of Photography tuition. A full term of photography study at the center can be expensive, especially with livings costs in one of the world's major cities.

The center provides an estimate for tuition and living expenses of about $60,000. But the education and the experience an individual gets from this great facility will probably be worth it.


Contact Details

1114 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Phone: 212.857.0001
Fax: 212.857.0091
Website: icp.org