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The Family Of Man [Paperback]

Carl Sandburg , Edward Steichen
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 2 2002
Hailed as the most successful exhibition of photography ever assembled, The Family of Man opened at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in January 1955. This book, the permanent embodiment of Edward Steichen's monumental exhibition, reproduces all of the 503 images that Steichen described as "a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world. Photographs made in all parts of the world, of the gamut of life from birth to death." A classic and inspiring work, The Family of Man has been in print for more than 40 years. The New York Times once wrote that it "symbolizes the universality of human emotions." First produced by a magazine publisher and sold by the hundreds of thousands on newsstands and in airport shops, The Family of Man has been in more recent years published by the Museum. It has been continuously in print since 1955; the present thirtieth-anniversary edition was prepared from original photographs with all new duotone plates in 1986.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Most wonderful wonderful and yet again wonderful April 14 2004
First time I saw the pictures collected by Edward Steichen was in the permanent museum of the exhibition, Clervaux in Luxembourg.
I was keeped almost in silence from entering to exiting and the message of the pictures was striking to me then - and 15 years later it still is.
This is a collection of pictures from all the world, picked between Thousands to be the best pictures to describe the family of man as we ALL are. No matter of colour, religion, origin or political believe we are all sons, fathers, lovers, hungry, thirsty, at times fearful and at times playful - WE ARE ALL ALIKE!
This message is as important now as it was in the 50` and looking at extreemist and the war of terror, you can only wonder how come we have learned nothing in 50 years.
The book brings me back to Clervaux and the thoughts about life, and each time I stop at a different picture or text, that captures the essence of where I am at that time of life. The book is universal not only to man but also to moods.
However happy I am to own the book it is nothing compared with the exhibition in Luxembourg. I can only say that I returned and will return again, and for the full experience of these pictures I will recommend it to all.
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By A Customer
In the same way an infant is captivated by a human face, so is the receptive reader drawn to the pages of this book, over and over again. In photographs taken around the world, the images remind us of the overwhelming preciousness of our all-too-short lives, the mystery of the universe, and the inherent potential of humankind to choose its own way.
Making us aware of our responsibility to cherish life, to handle it tenderly and respectfully, for our own sake and for the benefit of our children, is its clear intent.
I discovered this book on my parents' bookshelf at the age of six. It was my introduction to the world, as expressed through the images of others. Thanks to The Family of Man, I began to understand the vastness of the world, in contrast to my own small one.
I saw more in those images with every passing year. The aphorisms from the world's great literature, printed alongside the photographs, became comprehensible to me as I learned to read words as I had been taught by this book to read human faces. I was impressed by our vast differences, and touched and comforted by the common humanity that we share with one another.
The messages contained within this work are timeless and relevent. If I had the power to do so,I would place a copy of this book in every classroom of every grade of all the schools in the world. In my opinion, there is no one of any age for whom this book is not appropriate.
I believe from the beginning we all want to be the best we can be; somehow along the way too many of us lose hope. This book reminds us of the worthiness of the pursuit of the meaning of life. Though as individual members of the global community we may be quite different, we nonetheless see in these pictures the implications of choices made for, and against life--and we are inspired to consider thoughtfully the implications of our everyday thoughts and acts.
This may well be the first and greatest lesson in life.
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By A Customer
When I was a child, I stumbled on this book, The Family of Man. I read it cover to cover. I wondered at the pictures of human interaction I barely understood, such as men and women falling in love. I smiled at the photographs that I recognized myself in; children playing and laughing, even fighting. I grew angry when I saw a girl who looked a lot like me fighting back against a bully that looked remarkably like a boy I had to contend with at school. I cried at the pictures that frightened or saddened me. The first time I saw the picture of the SS soldier making eye contact with the child who was marching with her parents and neighbors to the Nazi death camps, I didn't know the history it was depicting. I was later to learn my own relatives were part of that dark history. The picture made me uneasy. I came back to the book year after year. Each time understanding it more. Each time I brought more life experience to the book, I got more from it. But right from the first I got it's powerful message: we are all part of one family ...the human family. It probably was the book with the most profound influence on my life. I am happily surprised that they are reissuing it and I can now give my children a copy that isn't falling apart from 40 years of being loved too much.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great look at the human spirit Jan. 3 2000
Ingrid Sischy, the editor of Interview Magazine, once taught her creative director the art of shutting up and just looking at a photo. It's a simple technique - yet it works. If you take 15 minutes to just look at a photo, eventually the photo will begin to speak to you. This lesson is even more profound when you allow the photos of "The Family of Man" to speak to you. Each photo encapsulates a tiny portion of the human experience and serves as a vivid mirror of our own spirit. As we journey from birth to death we see all the flaws and fascinating qualities that make the human being a beautiful work in progress. And while the book is only 5% words I've yet to complete it. Why? Because I've found myself watching closely each photo for the amount of time it takes to finish the chapter of a book. And each "chapter" that I've seen tells me several things: That we are all bonded by love, struggle, survival, passion, pain, fears, dreams, belief and hope.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for everyone
I have owned the photo collection The Family of Man since its original printing, and finally had to discard my old worn copy, which had fallen to pieces. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Carol M. Takyi
5.0 out of 5 stars Note that all (but one) customer reviews are 5 stars!!!
This is simply the best collections of photographs that I have ever seen. The book dates from the 50's, but the subject matter... humans... are the same today. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003 by Dan G
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Thoughtful
I have given this book as a gift many times over the years, and can't recommend it enough. The photographs are beautiful, giving the viewer a sense of what is common in the... Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2002 by Patty K.
5.0 out of 5 stars The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It seems I've owned this book forever and never tire of browsing through it. The beautiful black and white photos are timeless and just as applicable to the stages of life in 2001... Read more
Published on Dec 14 2001 by Theresa Douglass
5.0 out of 5 stars Words do not do this book justice
Edward Steichen's 1955 exhibition preserved in book form. The Family of Man is a touching, beautiful, horrifying, funny, tragic, poignant collection of photos. Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2001 by W. Weinstein
5.0 out of 5 stars The Human Condition in the Global Village
While vacationing in Germany we decided to take a daytrip to Luxembourg. The collection of these photos were kept in a castle on a hill there. Read more
Published on May 5 2001 by J. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Still packs a punch!
I recently purchased this book, after having grown up with it in the 50s and 60s. The photographs are as stunning, vibrant and moving as I recall, and I realized that I had... Read more
Published on March 28 2001 by middlemoo
5.0 out of 5 stars Still packs a punch!
I recently purchased this book, after having grown up with it in the 50s and 60s. The photographs are as stunning, vibrant and moving as I recall, and I realized that I had... Read more
Published on March 28 2001 by middlemoo
3.0 out of 5 stars The Nuclear Family
In American we are centered in our universe. This book, and it's re-printed edition, supposes a scientific norm of "family" for the world. Read more
Published on June 28 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Have loved this book since I was a child
The photos are top notch. The organization and message of the book are wonderful. I've always had this book in my home as an adult. Read more
Published on May 10 2000
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