21st Century Family of Man: A Photo Exhibition

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is hosting a photo exhibition by Paul S. Rockower, a student in the USC Master of Public Diplomacy program. According to the brochure,

(1) thumb This selection of photographs by Paul S. Rockower pays homage to The Family of Man exhibition that opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955. Born into an age of Cold War antagonisms, as well as longstanding divisions segregating mankind by color, caste and creed, the brilliance of The Family of Man was that it reflected the world as one. The messages were universal, the images timeless–it connected with humanity everywhere it was seen. The Family of Man exhibited the fundamental values that mankind shares: birth, life, death, and all experiences in between.

The photos are visually stunning and draw you in. They are well worth viewing. To me, the title was a bit misleading, however. With the exception of one of the city photos, it’s not clear – to me at least – that this "21st Century" edition of The Family of Man captures a world any different than what was potentially captured in 1955, except that instead of the original’s focus on Americans ("crassly" in the words of USC professor Nick Cull), Paul Rockower focused on worldly locations with people as props.

If you’re near USC, do check out the photos in person. If not, the second best option is to view some of them on the website.

A longer review by someone a bit more artistic than me can be found here.