Willis Hartshorn (b.1951) earned his B.A. from the University of Rochester in 1973 and an M.F.A. in Photographic Studies from Rochester’s Visual Studies Workshop in 1979, where he studied under Nathan Lyons. He began showing his photographs in individual and group exhibitions in 1973, and received Photography Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979 and 1986.
Hartshorn worked for the Traveling Exhibitions Program at the Visual Studies Workshop and as Curatorial Assistant at the George Eastman House, Rochester. He joined the Exhibitions Department of the International Center of Photography in 1982, serving as Traveling Exhibitions Coordinator, Director of Exhibitions, and Deputy Director for Programs prior to his appointment as Director of the institution, a post he held from 1994 through 2013. During his tenure, the museum and school went through a major transition, moving to new expanded facilities as well as completing a $25 million capital campaign. The institution has experienced growth in all program areas including their permanent collection, which now holds more than 100,000 photographs. Hartshorn has lectured widely and has curated noteworthy exhibitions in the field of photography, including Two to Tango: Collaboration in Recent American Photography (ICP, 1988); Art & Advertising: Commercial Photography by Artists (ICP, 1986); Czech Modernism: 1918-1945 (Museum of Fine Art, Houston, 1989); Annie Leibovitz: Photographs 1970-1990 (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1990); and Man Ray/Bazaar Years: A Retrospective (1990). Hartshorn is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, such as the Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2013. After many years in New York, he currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.