There it was, just buried on the shelf, waiting to change my life.
[photopress:books_fom.jpg,full,alignright] When I was about 8 years old, the bookcase in the hall had tons of books, from odd shaped art annuals to paperback novels. But there was one book that was waiting for me to discover it:
The Family of Man.
I know I discussed the impact this book has on me, and those who have been the recipient of this.( a favorite book to give away). There was something in Paris that brought back the same emotional impact of the first viewing of that collection. More in a moment…….
Some of the great things about Paris-Photo, are not at the fair. They are at the galleries and halls around the city. When the crowd that attends Paris-Photo are in town, it’s proper to step up your game. Man, the photographic community in Paris kicks it up,big time.
At the Jeu de Paume, there is an Edward Steichen exhibit, brilliantly curated by William Ewing,Todd Brandow, and Nathalie Herschdorfer, that is called “Lives in Photography” as it traverses the many photographic lives of Edward Steichen, photographer, designer, promoter of modern art, and brilliant curator.
From his very first photograph of his sister playing piano, through his picturialist period, you will see images of a young man fully engulfed in the life of an artist. His association with Steiglitz and Camera Work Magazine, still considered one of the best photographic publications ever made, is laid out in a visual path that will touch you like no other exhibit.
Courtesy LaSalle Bank Photography Collection, LaSalle Bank et ABN AMRO, Chicago
Â© Joanna T. Steichen
Courtesy The Richard and Jackie Hollander Collection, Los Angeles
Â© 1935, CondÃ© Nast Publications
Fred Astaire dans le film Top Hat
New York, 1927
Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
Â© 1927, CondÃ© Nast Publications
In this show, you’ll see a heavy representation of his Vanity Fair and portrait series, heretofore not generally seen. As he approaches each subject with a completely fresh canvas from lighting, scenario, location, proppage, this may be the most extensive revelation of the show. PLUS you get to see rare footage of him actually shooting. OK, he hams it up a bit, but watching the master light and work is a treat. Thanks to The George Eastman House for supplying this.
Matches and Match Boxes, fabric design for Stehli Silks, by Edward Steichen, 1926
As his life changed personally, you watch the transition to his more commercial design work, with patterns photographed for a silk company using ordinary objects, lit and arranged to achieve a fabric design like no other.
But wait there’s more.
After his years of photographing celebrities and advertising, he turns his attention to a more humanitarian and world view stance, as he becomes the curator of an exhibit of of the war effort, leading to his piece de’ resistance: The Family of Man exhibit at Museum of Modern Art.
First opened in 1955, over 11 million people viewed this exhibition. As represented by over 270 photographers from around the world, the human condition from life to death was laid out through the eyes of many varied cultures. The overall vision confirming what we already knew: we are all very much the same, with similar needs and desires.
The unique layout and display of the images included curved walls, photos, mounted perpendicular to the wall, his brother in law poet Carl Sandburg contributed words to the visual statement.
Now, I said that as a young boy I found this book in my house. Changed my life. Made me want to be a photographer. If these still images could make me feel these emotions, I wanted to do that. when I grew up.
Well the show happened before my time. I’d never get the experience of truly walking through that show. I mean, think about it: 11 million people saw this. they have to keep bringing King Tut back in new shows to get close.
That’s when there was a surprise in store for me at the end of the show. After a year of work, these folks have created a virtual tour of the exhibit. As it was originally. With images not included in the book.
I was blown away and I have to tell you, it wasn’t sex, but it was darn close. I was floored as I sat there and watched the walk through like I would never have been able to do.
Here was a book that changed my life, from an exhibit that I would never experience, in front of me on a big screen.
Right after that, I ran into the curators of the show, and probably embarrassed myself with praise for their work. Who cares. I’m happy I was able to say thank you to the people that did the work.
This full retrospective will travel to 3 other countries in Europe and then there will be a Fashion exhibit coming to NYC.
AND the virtual tour of the Family of Man exhibit should be available on DVD at some point.Oh, we’ll be giving those away for sure
You may have seen the Steichen show at the Whitney in NYC some years back.Now that was great, and they recreated a tiny portion of the Family of Man Exhibit.
But this….this is one of the most incredible photographic experiences of my life.
if you will be in Paris, this is not to be missed.
And after you can go to Angelinas for some of the best hot chocolate you ever had. Yes, the Mount-Blanc pastry is killer.
Jeu De Paume>
1, place de la Concorde
information: 01 47 03 12 50
Tuesday: 12:00 – 21:00
Wednesday – Friday: 12:00 – 19:00
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 – 19:00