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A much overlooked or under-rated catalog in my opinion, is the 1998 catalog Photography’s Multiple Roles published by the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois.

The cover illustrated above is a photo by Aaron Siskind, untitled number 99 from the series “Pleasures and terror of Levitation” done between 1954-1965.

The catalog which illustrates the collection of the Museum and the exhibition by the same name is divided into different sections with well written essays. Some of these essays discuss photography’s role as art, it’s place in the commercial market place, the use of photography in and as science, as well as, my favorite topic: photography as a document or the role of documentary photography in society.

The softcover catalog has 254 pages, numerous black and white as well as color photographs throughout and was distributed by DAP Publishers (also available in a hardbound version).

There are two photographs I like very much, the first one shown above, because it shows “tongue in cheek” a situation we all know so well: Eelection time.  If you have not seen the movie 2016 you will miss out on the most important information of your life if you live in the USA! The second photograph shown below, I like, especially, because of the storyline it illustrates.

The book refers to numerous photo books throughout the entire text. It offers a different perspective on the usual “best” lists of collectable photo books. A great aid for those of us who collect books!

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