Photography and Social Justice Seminar: Enroll to Study with Our Fellows in June at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism

Billy H.C. Kwok

Billy H.C. Kwok

Students at the undergraduate and graduate level are invited to register for a seminar to study alongside our nine 2019 Photography and Social Justice Fellows at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. The course is taught by Fred Ritchin, Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography (ICP) School and will run from June 4–25. Please contact Yahaira Castro at with any questions or to register.


Course Description JOUR76007.1

In a moment of diminished media credibility in which photographic imagery is no longer the same powerful societal referent that it once was, how can an image-maker still have a significant impact on the ways in which people view the world? What are some of the innovative contemporary image strategies that have been helpful in preserving the environment, safeguarding people’s health, and fighting racism, among other issues? What is some of the work being done with alternative media to explore the world utilizing community resources? How have new technologies such as virtual and augmented realities been of help? What are some of the ethical issues that emerge for image-makers who try to straddle both journalism and advocacy? And what are the immanent challenges to the credibility of journalistic recording media that arise from rapid advances in artificial intelligence and synthetic imagery?

Students in this class will engage in a number of short experiments to expand their range as image-makers, including the creation of digital interactive portraits in which the subject collaborates on their own representation, the use of Four Corners software for greater contextualization of the photograph, and the curation of images found on social media as an exploration of culture and place.

There will be intensive discussions of potential image strategies that may be effective in exploring contemporary issues, as well as of the ethics of such strategies from a human rights perspective. We will also have several guests showing their own work and discussing its impact. The class will culminate in a final project in which students will have the choice to produce an image-based project on a subject relating to social justice in New York City, or a curatorial or research project on the same theme. The primary text will be Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen (Aperture, 2013), written by the professor.

This seminar is affiliated with the Magnum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice Fellowship. Since 2010, this program has supported a diverse group of image-makers each year who are passionate about challenging injustice, pursuing social equality, and advancing human rights through photography and related media. Students in this seminar will be studying alongside the nine 2019 Photography and Social Justice Fellows.

About the Professor

Fred Ritchin is Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography (ICP) School. Previously, Ritchin founded the Documentary Photography and Visual Journalism Program at the ICP School and directed it from 1983–86. He was appointed Dean in 2014 and Dean Emeritus in 2017.

Immediately prior to joining ICP, Fred was professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts from 1991–2014, where he co-directed the NYU/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights educational program. Ritchin has been picture editor of the New York Times Magazine (1978–82) and executive editor of Camera Arts magazine (1982–83). In 1999 he co-founded and directed PixelPress, an online publication and a collaborator on human rights initiatives with organizations such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, Rotary International, Crimes of War, and UNFPA.


This is a 2 credit course.

For currently enrolled CUNY students and New York State residents, tuition is $295/credit for undergraduate students; $455/credit for graduate students.

For out-of-state and international students, tuition is $600/credit for undergraduate students; $830/credit for graduate students.


There are no formal prerequisites, but students should have intermediate photography skills and have done coursework or have an equivalent background in media studies and/or visual criticism.


WEEK 1: Tuesday, June 4 & Wednesday, June 5 | 10:00 AM–12:50 PM; 2:00–3:20 PM

WEEK 2: Tuesday, June 11 & Thursday, June 13 | 10:00 AM–12:50 PM; 2:00–3:20 PM

WEEK 3: Tuesday, June 18 & Thursday, June 20 | 10:00 AM–12:50 PM; 2:00–3:20 PM

WEEK 4: Tuesday, June 25 | 10:00 AM–12:50 PM


Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
219 West 40th Street, Room 442
New York, NY

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Please contact Yahaira Castro at to register or to ask any questions.

Simone Salvo