The Anthropological Imagination: Matti Bunzl, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign & Artist

As an anthropologist, I have long been drawn to artists whose work seems to be guided by an ethnographic sensibility. Photographers have been particularly important for me in this regard.

To me, they are fellow anthropologists, working in a visual rather than textual medium. Curating this selection from the MoCP's collection gave me a chance to highlight some of the practitioners who speak to me most powerfully -- artists whose work seems to be guided by the anthropological impulse to capture an entire culture in a single shot. It's a hopeless task by definition -- but just as I'm drawn to the ethnographers who have attempted to capture cultural totalities in their writings, I feel a kinship with the photographers who seek to represent people as members and exemplars of larger groups, individuals beyond their individuality.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

at Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

(312) 663-5554


  • Monday: 10:00 am — 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 10:00 am — 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 10:00 am — 5:00 pm
  • Thursday: 10:00 am — 8:00 pm
  • Friday: 10:00 am — 5:00 pm
  • Saturday: 10:00 am — 5:00 pm
  • Sunday: 12:00—5:00 pm

The MoCP is CLOSED when Columbia College Chicago is closed, including all major holidays. The MoCP is also closed between exhibitions for installation. Be sure to check our homepage before your visit.

Interior of MoCP

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