A world famous photo collection is “hidden” in a castle in Luxembourg
It sure wasn’t the place I would expect to come across such an important collection of photographs – behind thick castle walls in Clervaux, which is a small town in the North of Luxembourg.
But in a way it adds to the whole atmosphere of these captured moments stuck in time, and it sure gives you more quality time (and space) to really take in each of the photos and digest their collective message, compared to if they were found at a high profile gallery in Luxembourg City. Because this is truly a great attraction – and it leaves impressions that will stay with you for a long time, whether you’re a photo enthusiast or not.
The collection is named The Family of Man. It was brought together by Luxembourg-born Edward Steichen and presented back in 1955. The photo collection itself wasn’t born in Luxembourg though – but at the Mueseum of Modern Art in New York, where Steichen, who was a photographer and painter, worked as a Director of the Department of Photography.
Steichen carefully hand-picked 503 black and white photos from a selection of millions. A wide range of motives by 273 different photographers from 68 different countries – both professionals and amateurs.
The collection is divided into 37 different themes that together become a “portrait of mankind”, showing daily life of happiness and tragedy around the world – Including strong topics like birth, love and war. A multicultural mix of race, age and religion, exhibited alongside famous quotes.
After being exposed to millions of visitors in New York, Family of Man went on a world tour and was exhibited in 38 different countries through eight years – making it one of the most viewed photo collections in the world.
Since 1994 The Family of Man has been permanently displayed at Clervaux Castle and in 2003 it was added to UNESCO’s ‘Memory of the World Register”.
Despite being more than 60 years old, the collection definitely still has its relevance today. It’s a a timeless display of humanity, and in fact it just seems to grow more significant as it shows us that our main issues of life are basically the same now as they were back then – now just disguised in vivid colours.
I really enjoyed my time at the exhibition and the chalk white castle is a beauty of its own – set above the River Clerve and the picturesque town of Clervaux, where the Church of Clervaux is another highlight not to be missed.
Find more info at: Steichencollections-cna.lu
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