Eighty years ago photographers Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler collaborated on "Mannahatta," a short film that integrated still photographs with moving images to form a poetic documentary of New York City.

Strand's famous picture of figures walking past a bank on Wall Street appears in the film, thus providing one of the earliest examples of a relationship between moviemaking and "art" photography.

In recent years, the relationship has been explored further, as much because still photographers were attracted to the spectacle of film as filmmakers had discovered a market in still photography.

Sharon Lockhart, the subject of a traveling retrospective organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, is both a filmmaker and photographer. She exhibited films slightly more often than photographs at the outset of her career, but in the intervening seven years they have been pretty much in balance.

Nevertheless, it's easy to regard Lockhart first as a filmmaker because many of her photographs mimic aspects of film more than they build upon the history of art photography. Print size and format, image scale, composition, color — all have been determined in relation to commercial films since the 1970s rather than examples of color photography during the same period.

Even when they look candid, these are photographs in the directorial mode, which is to say they are staged to look candid so Lockhart can play one set of conventions (from film) against another (from still photography). This kind of play lies at the heart of much of her color work and, in the absence of strong visual gratification — her palette is cool and sense of form often recessive — soon becomes unsatisfying.

These days, however, subject matter frequently counts for more than aesthetics, and here Lockhart is up-to-date, treating the art world triumvirate of the moment — teens, Asians, Hispanics — to her film-versus-photo ruminations.

More neutral subjects such as landscapes and still lifes indicate how ordinary an image maker, as opposed to a conceptualizer, she really is.

"Sharon Lockhart" continues at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., through May 20; four Lockhart films will be screened at 2 p.m. on selected Saturdays and Sundays, and at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. May 11-13.