International Center of Photography Wants Your Images of the Pandemic

By Devi Lockwood

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So far, the images have a range: A woman wearing a mask and blue plastic gloves. Empty streets. A pair of dogs in a misty park. The inside of a deserted subway car. A woman hugging a tree. Two children with their faces pressed against a window.

The International Center of Photography is collecting a virtual archive of images related to the coronavirus pandemic. Photographers, both professional and otherwise, can share images using the hashtag #ICPConcerned on Instagram. Submissions are also accepted via email at Single images, photo sequences, image-text work, video and audio submissions are all welcome.

To date, the I.C.P. has received over 3,000 submissions. I.C.P.’s curatorial team of five is reviewing submissions. They post between three and six images per day on the @ICP account.

The ethos for this project was inspired by Cornell Capa, the center’s founder and first director, who died in 2008. Mr. Capa coined the phrase “concerned photographer,” someone who produces “images in which genuine human feeling predominates over commercial cynicism or disinterested formalism.”

Established in 1974, the I.C.P. has chronicled wars, social movements and disasters to build an historical archive for future generations. This year, it moved to a new home at Essex Crossing, the large new Lower East Side development in Manhattan.

Mr. Lubell contrasted this moment with the September 11th attacks, when there was “something to look at that was quite physical. We could photograph the aftermath of that,” he said. Documenting a virus is more complicated. “How do you photograph something that is not photographable?”

Mr. Lubell pointed to recent submissions that have highlighted a sense of relationships and interconnectedness between people. “We’re photographing what we’re missing,” he said. “It’s really a humanitarian response.”