This second book the family of man attracted me in a different way. printed in 1955 it was at the time – ”the most ambitious and challenging project with photography that had ever been attempted” (three million photographs were originally collected from amateur and professional photographers (not to mention more than a handful of gems by Henri Cartier Bresson). 10,000 of which were included in the MoMA exhibit while a further 506 photos from 68 countries were chosen for this publication (now that’s a die-hard archiving project!!)
“The Family Of Man” was originally produced for the museum of modern art in new york- not with the intention presenting the photograph as art but to show – ”photography as a dynamic process of giving form to ideas and of explaining man to man.” -to teach man about himself in all his various creeds and shades (this book was much before its time and although it did not have the intention of formenting multicultural acceptance it probably had a great influence and later gave way to books such as the 1968 random house publication The Colour of Man.) in the foreword Edward Steichen explains that his family of man was created in the passionate spirit of devoted love and faith in mankind.”. and this i feel is what drew me to this book. pictures of birth, love, life and death shown with tangible empathy and passion. pictures of every possible ethnicity. tribesmen from papua new guinea, native americans, french peasants, maori. this book although outdated is not without some degree of power still as can be seen by the frequency it has been rented out in recent years by people with a similar curiousity and interest to mine.
rietveld library number - 760.3 / stei / 1