Family of Man
In a direct response to the horrors of World War II, Museum of Modern Art Director of Photography Edward Steichen, curated a photographic exhibit called Family of Man to portray the human experience in all of its iterations across nations. Universal in its approach Family of Man was a show of global accord and was funded, in part, by the United States Information Agency, an arm of the American government created to propagandize American life worldwide.
Meant to explore life from birth to death, the exhibit featured the work of photographers from the United States, Canada, South and Central America, India, Japan and Europe. The show was divided into 42 sections including “Revolt,” “Faces,” “Government,” “Childhood Magic,” “Pregnancy,” “Nursing Mothers” and more.
In many ways, Family of Man seemed made for Nell Dorr’s work which featured prosaic daily subjects as exemplars for the larger human experience. Dorr contributed an image of Tasha Tudor as a “Nursing Mother” as well as images to Mothers & Babies, Aspirations, and Childhood Magic sections of the exhibit. Her pictures hung in the company of the works of legendary photographers like Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith and Magnum photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and war photographer Robert Capa, who was known for his World War II images.
Family of Man toured the world for eight years during which nine million visitors saw the show.