Pictures of the Week November 2, 2014

PJ students at ICP shoot a variety of different themes for the weekly “Picture Making on the Street” course. This course has students submit a selection of images every week for a group critique lead by each respective instructor.


POW Nov 2-1  New York’s Religions/Sara Frisby

  POW Nov 2-3 POW Nov 2-2
New York’s Religions/Griselda San Martin/Fabiana Sala

POW Nov 2-5 Supporters and some of the eight striking faculty members at the General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church gather for a candlelight vigil outside the campus on Thursday 29th October 2014 at W20th Street, Chelsea, New York. Eight of the ten full-time professors at the seminary were “forcibly resigned” after they walked off the job last month calling for the resignation of the present dean, Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle on allegations of a controlling management style and offensive remarks. New York’s Religions/Gareth Smit

POW Nov 2-4 New York’s Religions/Narisa Ladak

POW Nov 2-6 Environmental Portrait/Soumita Bhattacharya

POW Nov 2-7 Neighborhood/Yolande Daeninck

POW Nov 2-8
Ralph Nader gives a crowd member the “ebola handshake ” at the Howie Hawkins fundraiser on October 25, 2014 at the All Souls Unitarian Church.
Elections/Natasha Srour

POW Nov 2-10 POW Nov 2-9
Portrait/Camila Svenson

Elections Picture MakingElections/Esteban Kuriel

Capture and Release

On the edge of glory (actually somewhere in Delaware)
On the edge of glory (actually somewhere in Delaware). Jackson Couse, Giulia Bianchi, and Valentina Riccardi.

Capture and Release

2010-2011 International Center of Photography Full-Time Student exhibition.

June 25–August 14, 2011

Opening Reception: June 24 | Friday | 6:00–9:00 pm

School at ICP, 1114 Avenue of the Americas


Alison Morley, Chair of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program

Marina Berio, Chair of the General Studies in Photography Program

Only one week left of school.

Why ICP?

Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island in New York, as seen from Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island in New York, as seen from Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Last night, I took a call from a woman in California who had been accepted to the International Center of Photography. She was trying to decide whether she should go for it. She asked me, “is it worth it?”

I was in her position exactly one year ago to the day. It was April 12th, 2010, my birthday. At 8am I went to my government job and gave my two-weeks notice. That afternoon, I returned home to the letter from the ICP accepting my application for the 2010-2011 school year. In the evening we had a birthday BBQ in the backyard.

Until that day, the prospect of moving had been mostly theoretical. It was suddenly real. The tuition alone was a lot of money. Moving cities is hard. And I’d have to stop working for a year, too. It was a big choice. Some people said I should take my money and travel the world. Others questioned why I would want to move from Ottawa at all (although they were very few, and only halfheartedly asked). Most people, though, told me to go, if this was what I really wanted. The decision was complicated by having already been to photography school, not that long ago. I graduated from Algonquin College in 2007 with a diploma in commercial photography. It was a good school, highly technical, and demanding. But I always wanted more. I wanted more from life, more from my city. Most of all, I wanted more from myself.

Midtown Manhattan as seen from the Pulaski Bridge
Midtown Manhattan as seen from the Pulaski Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens, New York

I said yes. I accepted because I wanted to grow, to move up a level, to be truly tested. I wanted to train with the best, to learn how to tell stories from the leaders in photojournalism and documentary photography. In some ways, it was an easy choice. ICP was the only place I had applied and the only place really wanted to go. I said yes to myself.

Life isn’t easy here. School is definitely not easy. There is a lot I miss about my life back home. I miss my family. But, for all the homesickness and frustration of living in New York, it has been worth it so far.

This year is a gift. It is a dream. It is an incredible privilege to spend a year completely focused on my craft. It is amazing to be surrounded by smart and engaged students. The teachers at ICP who I’ve connected with have made an impact on me that will resonate for the rest of my life. ICP was the push I needed, and the push I didn’t know I needed. I’ve grown as an artist and a human. I’ve really jumped off the deep end.

There are ten weeks left in the school year. I want this freedom to go on forever.

This post was originally published at Being There by Jackson Couse.

Privilege and entitlement

Being a photojournalist is a tremendous privilege. People expect, and sometimes even want, you to look at them. Journalism is essential for a functioning democracy, and journalists are empowered by this need. As a photojournalist, you are sanctioned by society and protected by law to do your job.

Working the other night, someone said to me:

“Thank you for coming. You are a great chronicler. Sometimes we take advantage of your presence, but we’re glad you’re here.”

It was funny, because I always feel like I’m intruding when I photograph people. I feel like I’m taking their time, interrupting their life, interjecting. I forget that while this process is normal for me, for a lot of people it will be their only interaction with a journalist. These days, everyone is photographed everywhere they go. If I photograph a stranger, however, it may be the only time in their life that someone has really looked at them. I am a professional.

Being a professional has some big responsibilities. You have to get it right. You have to really look. If someone makes themselves available to you, you have to do your job right. You have to be serious and act like a professional; show up on time, be respectful, be truthful and honest, and take your job and yourself seriously.

Its pretty simple.

I am troubled by the sense of entitlement I see. You, who show up late, talk over others, back talk, do drugs, turn in lazy sub-par performances, and cheat, well, I wonder what the hell you’re doing in this profession. If you’re not going to try, why are you here?  Photojournalism is an entrepreneurial profession. There’s no room for floaters.

Half-baked photojournalists ruin it for us who do try. You give us all a bad name. You really are wasting people’s time. If you’re not in it, you might as well get out.

There are exceptions, of course, and these people give me hope for the future. They are, uniformly, people who have fought hard to be here and who have people backing them. They are responsible. They care about their work, and the people they photograph. They have chosen projects that reflect a deep caring for the world, and an interest in the well-being of other people. I am honoured to know you, and privileged to see your projects.

Originally posted at Being There by Jackson Couse.

Your portfolio doesn’t matter


Your port­fo­lio doesn’t mat­ter. What does mat­ter is mak­ing pic­tures. Like James Starks when he says, “I play this game for the fun of it,” release your­self from the little coach, teacher, or  man­ager in the back of your mind that tells you to worry. There are enough anal people in the world already.

When you take pic­tures, be there. Enjoy it.

You are the cir­cus com­ing to town. The act of pho­to­graphy moves people. You are look­ing at them, really see­ing them, in a way that no human might ever do again. Respect and hon­our that exchange. This doesn’t have any­thing to do with a cam­era. It has everything to do with inten­tion and atten­tion. Be clear in both.

Pho­to­graphy can be a release, for you and for your sub­ject. If you are moved to take a pic­ture, do it. Don’t worry about your port­fo­lio, the pro­ject you’re work­ing on, or any­thing else. When the spirit moves you, when you see someone or some­thing that turns you on, get closer. Enjoy your life, enjoy shar­ing life with oth­ers, and take pic­tures along the way.

Worry about your port­fo­lio later.

this post was originally published at Being There by Jackson Couse

Boxing Day Blizzard

27 Decem­ber 2010 — New York, NY — The fire crew from Hook and Lad­der 115 in Long Island City, Queens attempt to free their fire truck from a snow­bank on 47th Avenue. The truck became stuck on its way back to the fire house dur­ing a storm on Sunday night.

Fifteen to thirty inches fell on boxing day, depending on your borough. The wind was 50 miles an hour, wet, and blinding. The wind pushed snow into every nook and cranny and into large squalls.

At about midnight, I took a walk around the neighborhood. Trucks and cars were stuck and abandoned on almost every street. A taxi blocked one end of my street, and a rental van blocked the other.   Four police cars were stuck by the station, and down at Hook and Ladder 115 one of the pumper trucks was being dragged out of a snow bank by a ladder truck.

I’m really glad that winter has finally arrived.

(This post was originally published on December 28th, 2010 as Biggie Squalls, aka Snowtorious B.I.G. at Being There by Jackson Couse)

Midtown Lunch

Are you a hungry ICP student, current or prospective? Or, just visiting and want to know where the locals go? Read Midtown Lunch and escape the Mid-Manhattan food wasteland (and all those gawking tourists)!

Today’s post is about Trini Paki Cart Boys, directly across from ICP on 43rd between 5th and 6th: Beat the Cold With Jerk and Tikka From Trini Paki Boys

Bon appetit!