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Representing but a tiny fraction of Korab's oeuvre, the collection held at the Bentley Library will nevertheless appeal to a broad range of researchers. Especially in a collective sense, Korab photographs are not only about architecture and architectural photography, but also about art, technology, modernism, photography's history, the environment, urbanism, ruralism, and the creative process itself. They also document one individual's spirited commitment to a life's work -- work expressed both analytically and emotionally.
The essence of the collection is a Korab portfolio entitled Man's Presence, a study of Michigan's man-made environment that drew him to dozens of towns, cities and rural areas in the upper and lower peninsulas. Photographs capture the quiet magnificence of silos and barns, the elegance of 19th century mansions, the utilitarian architecture of iron foundries and grain elevators. There are also pictures depicting ways man has wasted resources (an abandoned lumber mill, a barren tract of bulldozed land. A superb example of Korab's lifelong fascination with vernacular architecture, Man's Presence is a deliberate effort to capture on film Michigan worlds that otherwise might go unnoticed or become lost to future generations.
The collection is comprised of three series: Biographical Materials; Man's Presence Contact Sheets; and Man's Presence Copy Prints and Copy Negatives.