Image Studies

Image Studies

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KEYWORDS: Figure, The Family of Man

FIGURE is frequently used to mean the human form or bodily shape, often relating to a representation of the human form in a drawing, painting or sculpture. Although representations of the body can be found in prehistory and are abundant in antiquity, the word figure has 14th century origins, meaning ‘to represent’, to ‘form a likeness’, or to ‘shape into’.

Consistent with its origins, a figure can also be a representation in the form of a diagram or illustration inserted into a text.

THE FAMILY OF MAN is a photography exhibition, curated by Edward Steichen,  that took place at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955 and then toured the world for eight years afterwards.More than 9 million people visited the exhibition across its locations and 2.5 million bought the accompanying catalogue.

Phase One, HMI, ISO 400, 1/15th sec, f11, 150mm lens, b/w photograph Photo paige knightDSC_5919

The exhibition contained 503 photographs from 68 countries (mainly Europe and the US), grouped thematically to offer a view of the human experience. The  collection is archived and displayed at Clervaux Castle, Luxembourg, and, because of its historical significance was added in 2003 to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

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