In the city of Clervaux in Luxembourg holds one of the most iconic exhibitions of real life, around the world, through a camera lens – Family of Man. A story of 503 photographs, by over 250 artists, from more than 50 countries, compiled by the master, Edward Steichen, was originally created for the MoMA in 1955. The collection travelled worldwide until 1964 when the American government gifted it to the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg as it was Steichen’s wish that “the most important work of his life” permanently reside in Luxembourg. Seen as an expression of equality amongst all people post-war, each photograph holds an understanding of no matter the “wealth” each participant holds we are all one.
“There is only one man in the world and his name is All Men. There is only one woman in the world and her name is All Women. There is only one child in the world and the child’s name is All Children. A camera testament, a drama of the grand canyon of humanity, an epic woven of fun, mystery and holiness – here is the Family of Man.” – Carl Sandburg
The exhibition takes you from birth to death portraying different fashions of how humanity handles each situation, gives insight to human nature, culture, politics and life in a general sense. It’s always difficult to discuss such evocative pieces of art without adding one’s personal beliefs. But, for me, it was a brilliant exposé on how the world has changed and ironically stayed the same in many cases. Grown technologically but slow to advance of justice, poverty and major issues that continue to cause a divide.
The entire exposition was beautifully curated with photographs sectioned off thematically with proverbs or quotes denoting emotion of the images surrounding. “We two form a multitude,” centers images of couples inferring these “two” create more lives in the world continuum.
Featuring works by Robert Capa, Nick de Morgoli, Dorothea Lange, Wayne Miller and dozens more, the collection has garnered over 10 million visitors and been noted in the UNESCO Memory of the World register.