One of Chicago's great cultural achievements, the Institute of Design was among the most important schools of photography in 20th-century America. It began as an outpost of experimental Bauhaus education and was home to an astonishing group of influential teachers and students, including Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. To date, however, the ID's enormous contributions to the art and practice of photography have gone largely unexplored. "Taken by Design" is the first publication to examine thoroughly this remarkable institution and its lasting impact. With nearly 300 illustrations, inlcuding many never-before-published photographs, "Taken by Design" examines how the ID change the nature of photography over this critical period in America's midcentury. It starts by documenting the experimental nature of Moholy's Bauhaus approach and photography's new and enhanced role in training the "complete designer". Next it traces the formal and abstract camera experiments under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, which aimed at achieving a new kind of photographic subjectivity.
Finally, it highlights the ID's focus on conscious references to the processes of the photographic medium itself. In addition to photographs by Moholy, Callahan and Siskind, the book showcases works by Barbara Crane, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Joseph Jachna, Kenneth Josephson, Gyorgy Kepes, Nathan Lerner, Ray K. Metzker, Richard Nickel, Arthur Siegel, Art Sinsabaugh, and many others. Also included are major esays from experts in the field, biographies, a chronology and reprints of critical essays, making "Taken by Design" a valuable work for anyone interested in the history of American photography.