A Brain Insights Resource Recommendation: The Family of Man

“A picture is worth a 1,000 words.”  Fred R. Barnard

Do you ever find that a photo creates feelings that words do not adequately express?

Do you ever find a book that just calls to you in some way, but you are not really sure why?

If you have experienced this, I would love to know what books or photos may have impacted you positively in a way that is not easily explained. It might be a book or photo that will then also have a positive influence on someone else because of you sharing.

The Family of Man is a beautiful book of photos that has this type of affect on me. For me it brings an ineffable feeling of both commonality between all of us as humans and at the same time the delight and respect for the uniqueness of each of us throughout the world.

Reviews on the back of the book reflect a similar effect:

“Symbolizes the universality of human emotions.”
– The New York Times
“A fantastically large, rich, and extensive exhibition of human anecdotes.”
– San Francisco Chronicle
“The whole story of humankind.”
– Philadelphia Inquirer
The Family of Man was created by Edward Steichen with a prologue by Carl Sandburg.  
It was published by, The Museum of Modern Art in 1955.



About two years ago I was spending some time simply reflecting on my passion to contribute to children developing optimally. I wondered what made me have such a strong desire for each individual to be recognized and respected as a wonderfully unique individual while at the same time feeling connected to all of humanity. In pondering this, I of course didn’t come up with an answer to what specifically contributed to my life’s work. It is most often a combination of numerous experiences and thoughts that lead us to what we do and what we feel strongly about. But, in that reflection time, I suddenly remembered a book that I checked out from the church library and loved. I was only about 6 years old at the time, but I clearly remember checking out the same book repeatedly. 

It was not a children’s book, it was this book shared here entitled, The Family of Man.  I searched to see if the book was still available and was thrilled to find that it still is. I now own a copy of the book I so enjoyed as a young girl. And now, it is due to the overwhelming need for mankind to feel oneness, that I have shared this book as a valuable resource at this time. Hopefully, just through this post you will gain the feeling of connectedness this book was designed to convey. 


“I believe The Family of Man exhibition, produced and shown first at The Museum of Modern Art in New York and now being circulated throughout the world, is the most ambitious and challenging project photography has ever attempted. 

The exhibition, now permanently presented on the pages of this book, demonstrates that the art of photography is a dynamic process of giving form to ideas and of explaining man to man. It was conceived as a mirror of the universal elements and emotions in the everydayness of life---as a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world.”


“The first cry of a newborn baby in Chicago or Zamboango, in Amsterdam or Rangoon, has the same pitch and key, each saying, “I am! I have come through! I belong! I am a member of the Family.

Many the babies and grownups here from photographs made in sixty-eight nations round our planet earth. You travel and see what the camera saw. The wonder of human mind, heart, wit and instinct, is here. You might catch yourself saying, “I’m not a stranger here.” 

“Here or there you many witness a startling harmony where you say, “This will be haunting me a long time with a loveliness I hope to understand better.” 

“There is only one man in the world and his name is All Men.

There is only one woman in the world and her name is All Women. 

There is only one child in the world and the child’s name is ALL Children. 

A camera testament, a drama of the grand canyon of humanity, an epic woven of fun, mystery and holiness---here is the Family of Man!” 


Throughout the beautiful photos on the pages of this book, the author has interspersed several significant quotes. Below are a sampling of a few of these quotes.

“We shall be one person”
-Pueblo Indian
“The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laugh’d, and all the hills echoed…”
-William Blake
“... Clasp the hands and know the thoughts of men in other lands…”
-John Masefield 
“Every man bearth the whole stamp of the human condition.” -Montaigne 
“Oh wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! And yet again wonderful…”
-William Shakespheare 



This book was created 65 years ago, and it is still relevant and timeless. It is one that I see as a treasure in reflecting the how life as humans can be thrilling, moving, touching, powerful, confusing, poignant, and so much more all happening at the same time in our oneness. 

1 comment

Donna Mavrides

your thoughts are insightful and messages ring true. I will get a copy of the book. Thanks

Donna Mavrides

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