The FarEastFarWest Collection is based in Shanghai and has commission works of art focused on artistic experimentation in China and the rest of Asia since 2009. A majority of the collection to date is housed in the permanent collection at the MoCP on extended loan and is available to students and professionals for workshops, exhibitions and presentations. As FarEastFarWest continues to commission new work the MoCP’s holdings will expand.
One of the largest documentary photography projects ever organized in an American city, the Changing Chicago Project commissioned thirty-three photographers to document life throughout Chicago's diverse urban and suburban neighborhoods. The project was launched in 1987 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography and the 50th anniversary of the Farm Security Administration documentary project, which provides its inspirational model. Sponsored by the Focus/Infinity Fund of Chicago, the project was organized with the support of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Chicago Office of Fine Arts, Chicago Public Library Cultural Center. In the spring of 1989 the five institutions mounted concurrent exhibitions devoted to the project.
The Institute of Design (ID), or New Bauhaus as it was sometimes called, was one of the most important schools of design and photography in America during the twentieth century. Founded in Chicago in 1937 by Laslo Moholy Nagy who had fled the Nazis and their persecution of the German Bauhaus, the New Bauhaus aimed to train “the perfect designer” for art and industry. The photography department at the ID thrived until about 1971 under instructors including Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind and students of these masters including Nathan Lerner, Arthur Siegel, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Kenneth Josephson, Joe Jachna, Barbara Crane, Joseph Sterling, and others became important artists and influential teachers of the next generation. The New Bauhaus embraced a modernist approach to photography that celebrated the camera and photographic materials as having unique capacities and potential distinct from other technologies and art forms. The MoCP has a strong collection of works by artists of the New Bauhaus.