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ICP Spotlights
Lauren Greenfield
Mark Lubell, Lauren Greenfield, and Jessica Bennett
Helena Skarstedt, Elizabeth Mayhew, and Avantika Madan
Silent Auction
Silent Auction
Peggy Anderson, Mark Lubell, and Debby Hymowitz
ICP Spotlights
Lifestyle

ICP’s Fifth-Annual Spotlights Luncheon Honors Lauren Greenfield

By Charlotte Boutboul

January 25, 2016

The International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York celebrated the polemical photographer and documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, through an onstage discussion engaging the artist with New York Times journalist Jessica Bennett, during its fifth annual Spotlights luncheon at 583 Park Avenue last Tuesday.

The occasion offered a retrospective contemplation of Greenfield’s life work and introduced glimpses of her new upcoming documentary Magic City. “Lauren is an artist who truly has her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in our culture and is able to communicate it powerfully through both still and moving images,” said ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell.

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ICP Spotlights

The event also announced ICP’s new Mary Ellen Mark scholarship (the photographer passed away in May of 2015) as well as the center’s new location at 250 Bowery planned to open 2016.

The relevance of Greenfields’ work today, known for being attentive to the themes of gender, body image, and affluence, resonated profoundly across the room. Excerpts of the award winning films THIN (2006), Kids+money (2009), Beauty CULTure (2011), Queen of Versailles (2012) were screened and assiduously discussed onstage by Greenfield and Bennett.

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Lauren Greenfield

The filmmaker mentioned that her ad campaign #Likeagirl (2014), produced for the feminine protection brand Always, had been her most rewarding work thus far. “It was this thing that very unexpectedly captured the public’s imagination and became shared like crazy. It was exciting to have something not about photography or about film but just about empowering girls and every day life. It just shows what can happen through social media today and how a short film can provoke change,” Greenfield said.

The company did a study which showed that only 17-19% of girls had initially a positive association with the phrase “like a girl,” and six months after the video’s release, the association rose to being perceived as 76% positive, while two out of three men who watched said they would stop or think twice before using the phrase “like a girl” as an insult.

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Mark Lubell, Lauren Greenfield, and Jessica Bennett

“It was also interesting to see how it started underground, turned into an online ad and then went to the largest spot that exists, the Super Bowl,” pointed out Benett. The advertisement won a 2015 Emmy award for Outstanding Commercial, and got Greenfield to be the first woman named the “Most Awarded Director in 2015” by AdAge.

Clips of Greenfield’s new project Magic City (nominated for an Asme award) was screened last week, as well, showing images of a mythical Atlanta stripper club where female workers were dancing in a crawling position, while rappers were pouring dollar bills on their backs. An ideal backdrop to what Greenfield referred to as a post-crash tale, “It was this microcosm of the American Dream in a very raw but honest form. It’s a place where some of the biggest rappers of today have gone from poverty to riches and it’s a place where the strippers are high class socialites in Atlanta because of how much money they can earn and of their association with powerful men. It is money as the great equalizer. And a post-crash tale that represents, for me, dancing on the deck of the titanic and the fall of the empire.”

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Helena Skarstedt, Elizabeth Mayhew, and Avantika Madan

The luncheon also included a special tribute to award-winning documentary photographer Mark, along with the announcement of the scholarship in her name. Over the years, ICP produced two exhibitions of her work, including the 1991 exhibition “Mary Ellen Mark – 25 Years” and, in 2001, “Mary Ellen Mark: An American Odyssey.” Mark was also a long-time ICP faculty member who taught workshops, master critiques, and travel programs in Mexico. She joined the first ICP Spotlights program as a respected panel member of celebrated women documentary photographers.

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Silent Auction

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Silent Auction

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ICPInternational Center of PhotograpyJessica BennetJessica BennettLauren GreenfieldMary Ellen Mark

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