DMH Spotlight - Cornell Capa: memories of the International Center of Photography Back

Diana Mara Henry first entered the doors of the first home of the International Center of Photography in 1974, before the opening of the museum at Fifth Avenue and 94th Street. She began by working as a volunteer in the bookstore, then was hired to work under the bewitching Via Wynroth in registration for the education program. Within a couple of years, Cornell Capa asked her to start a Community Workshop Program "so we can get grants." When she asked him what he wanted in that program, he said: "Just DO it!" She taught black and white photography and then Cibachrome printing for three sessions before quitting the unventilated basement darkroom. Before she left the ICP, in 1979, she asked Cornell to sponsor her for membership in the ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers.) He stunned her by refusing, saying, "You'd have to charge the day rate." When she said she already did, he further stunned her by asking, "Why would anyone hire you when they could hire ME?" He did recommend young men to the ASMP from among the ranks of his ICP entourage, even when they did not teach there. However, Diana Mara Henry received a warm recommendation from Berenice Abbott, so she was well consoled and honored.

Still, she has fond memories of Cornell's love for his dog Yoffi, his wife Edie, the friendships she made and keeps with ICP's former and current staffers and volunteers, and of the many masters of photography from whom she learned by being able to attend their lectures there - Arnold Newman, W. Eugene Smith, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Bea Nettles, Peter Beard, and Harold Edgerton, among so many others. Here Cornell holds up the famous image Edgerton made of the milkdrop. his enthusiasm and connection with the medium clearly evident and for ever inspirational.


Holography opening at the ICP, photo by Diana Mara Henry for Popular Photography, 1976. All photographs Copyright © Diana Mara Henry. Contact us for permission to reproduce them or to schedule an illustrated lecture.

Other personalities photographed at the ICP: Richard Avedon, Louise Dahl-Wolfe,Alfred Eisenstaedt,Larry Fink,Peter Galassi, Susan Meiselas, Ruth Orkin,Arthur Tress, Gjon Mili, Fred McDarrah, Gene Thornton.


Showing her portfolio to Ernst Haas, circa 1976: Haas was so excited about the photo they are viewing, of the Harvard Student-Faculty meeting discussing divestment of South Africa, he ran down the hall to Cornell's office, shouting: "Cornell, Cornell, come see this photo!" HArvard's President Pusey at left, and front row, from right: Martin Peretz,Stanley Hoffmann, Erik Erikson.Lowell House Common Room, 1969.

All images Diana Mara Henry. All rights reserved. Terms of Use