The International Center of Photography in New York has revealed the 2019 winners of its ICP Infinity Awards, given annually in recognition of achievements in photography and visual culture. The five awards—for “Art,” “Critical Writing and Research,” “Emerging Photographer,” “Lifetime Achievement,” and “Special Presentation”—will be presented at a gala held by the museum in April.
Rosalind Fox Solomon is the winner of the museum’s lifetime achievement award, in recognition of her black-and-white documentary photographs that capture the ways larger systemic issues, including racism and the AIDS crisis, affect her subjects’ lives.
The special presentation award has gone to Shahidul Alam, who was arrested last summer by Bangladeshi authorities after making “provocative” political statements on Facebook and television, and was subsequently released this past November, in what some saw as a victory in the fight for artistic freedom. Alam’s photojournalistic work has focused on political strife in Bangladesh, the country in which he is based.
Dawoud Bey is the winner in the art category for his photographs that complicate notions related to blackness and histories of racism. His latest series, “Night Coming Tenderly, Black,” is now on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, and a retrospective of his work is set to open at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in 2020.
Zadie Smith is the recipient of the critical writing and research award. Her essays on art have appeared frequently in the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and the award is specifically being given in recognition of Smith’s essay “Deana Lawson’s Kingdom of Restored Glory,” a celebrated piece that addresses the complex interplays between fact and fiction in Lawson’s staged photographic portraits.
Jess T. Dugan is being recognized in the emerging photography category for her portraits of queer woman and men that have appeared in the form of various photobooks, most notably last year’s To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults.
In a statement, Mark Lubell, the executive director of the ICP, said, “As the news cycle continues to churn, and journalists remain under attack, this is the perfect moment to celebrate those who bravely harness the power of images to help inform our understanding of the world.”
The jury that selected the winners for all but the lifetime achievement and special presentation awards included Erin Barnett, the director of exhibitions and collections at the ICP; David Gonzalez, a co-editor the New York Times’s “Lens” blog ; Kristen Joy Watts, the editor of the Instagram account @design; and Rhea L. Combs, a curator of film and photography at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.