new-york

Alfred Eisenstaedt

International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)

I often think of an exhibition catalogue as being like the souvenir program one buys at a football game or a rock concert. It’s an appendage to the event, a memento. This is an attitude that comes from painting exhibitions, where the point is to see the original. At the International Center of Photography, however, this attitude is sometimes misleading. In the first place, much of the work ICP shows is photojournalism that was originally shot for reproduction, and it looks better in the book than on the wall. In the second place, the book is often not really a catalogue at all. Its publication is the occasion for the show, rather than the other way around. The exhibition is, to speak more plainly, a promotion for the book. There is nothing wrong with this practice. On the contrary, this symbiotic relationship is a healthy one. It permits photography that might not be seen otherwise to

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