Fred Ritchin

Adjunct Instructor

Fred Ritchin is Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography (ICP) School, where previously he had founded the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program which he directed it from 1983–86. He was appointed Dean in 2014 and Dean Emeritus in 2017.

Immediately prior to joining ICP, Fred Ritchin 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. He also taught in the Interactive Telecommunications Program from 1991-2002.  

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 such as the global effort to end polio and to further the Millennium Development Goals with organizations such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, Rotary International, Crimes of War, and UNFPA.

He has written and lectured internationally about the challenges and possibilities of the digital media revolution, including in 1984 the first major article predicting the large-scale digital manipulation of photography that he wrote for the New York Times Magazine. He has since published three books on the future of imaging: In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography (Aperture, 1990); After Photography (W. W. Norton, 2008, published in seven languages); and Bending the Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen (Aperture, 2013). He has also contributed essays to dozens of books on photography and media.

Ritchin has also been curator of numerous exhibitions on subjects ranging from Latin American photography to alternative image strategies for social change. He created the first multimedia version of the New York Times in 1994–95 as well as the website “Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace” (1996) that he made with photographer Gilles Peress for the New York Times that was then nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in public service.  

More recently he created the Four Corners Project, an innovative strategy to provide more context and ethical grounding for the photograph online (, and helped to create, a site for new kinds of image-based projects from around the world. He also launched, a site containing many of his own writings and talks meant as a resource for photographers and others to help provoke a discussion leading to a paradigm shift in image-making.

Ritchin continues to teach and lecture widely on issues concerning the reinvention of image-based media, including courses in the International Center of Photography, the Screen Arts School, and the Magnum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice Program. He is also president of the Catherine Leroy Fund, an international organization dedicated to the life and work of this under-recognized French conflict photographer who extensively covered the Vietnam War.  

Among other honors, he has been presented with a lifetime achievement award from the Argentinian Documentary Photography Festival as well as the John Long Ethics Award from the National Press Photographers Association. He lives both in New York and in Paris.