ICP Infinity Awards 2017 Honors Harry Benson and Sophie Calle
By Baylee McKeel
Tonight, Monday April 24th, ICP is hosting their 33rd annual ICP Infinity Awards, honoring outstanding achievements in photography and visual arts. Among those being honored are Harry Benson, for Lifetime Achievement, and Sophie Calle for Art.
One of the greatest photojournalists of his generation, Benson came to America in 1964 with the Beatles and began a career, capturing monumental moments in American history. He marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement, captured the Watts Riots, the Gulf War, was next to Robert Kennedy when he was assassinated, and recorded many other iconic moments across the span of his 65-year career. Outlasting many of his contemporaries, Benson’s lengthy photographic career attests to more than his photojournalistic capabilities. He had a gift for the spontaneous, for capturing history in the making. For him, photography was all about immediacy, about capturing living history, a motif evident in his words “a good photograph can never be repeated.” His images are the remnants of the past, his camera lens the witness to a history that lives on through his work.
Sophie Calle, who was featured in our Fantasy issue (vol. 2), explores what creates a person and a society. Instead of repressing her personal issues, Calle puts them on display, discharging her feelings in a conceptually intricate, refreshingly intimate and honest way. Her projects often involve complete strangers, an inclusion that makes her art both incredibly personal and powerfully universal. We can see ourselves in her art, feel her pain, joy, and sadness, because it is not only hers. Through this emotional connection, she comments on the human relationship, on the intricacies of the things that make us human, of the complex paradox that one cannot understand but as an outsider. Through her art she makes us the outsider, letting us understand by looking in.