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Revisioning the World Through Non-Male Eyes

About The Family of No Man

The Family of No Man will be one of the main curatorial events at Arles Cosmos 2018. It will consist of an open call to female and inter-gender artists working in the medium of photography. The call will result to a series of outdoor & indoor installations and activities that will take place during the six days of the fair. The aim of this radical curatorial proposition is to revisit Edward Steichen’s original Family of Man exhibition (1955), which, in its time, was described “as one of the most ambitious undertakings in an art museum”. The Family of No Man will seek to replace the visual register of white male dominance inherent in the original project with an inclusive visual platform of how the world is seen today through non-male eyes.

What winners receive

All participants are guaranteed one image of the curators choice that will be included in the exhibition.

Historical context and referents

The Family of Man referenced in this proposal is a landmark curatorial and editorial project in the history of photography. The ambitious exhibition, which opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) in 1955, brought together 503 pictures by 273 photographers from 68 countries. Its ambition was to provide a comprehensive exploration of photography’s capacity to record human relations, showcasing the universality of human experience and to serve as a forthright declaration of human solidarity in the decade following World War II. The featured material was selected and edited by Edward Steichen and his assistant Wayne Miller over 2,000,000 photographs, with the conviction that photography could capture “the gamut of life from birth to death”. The exhibition took the form of a photo-essay that celebrated all aspects of human experience. It toured the world for eight years attracting more than nine million visitors. Its final complete version was permanently installed in Clervaux Castle (Luxemburg) in 1994. Likewise, the visual essay book that accompanied it –MoMA’s most popular publication ever with more than 300,000 copies sold– turned into a foundational volume in the culture of photography, familiar to pretty much any photographer working in the latter half of the 20th century. But it also had had tremendous popular appeal. Its layout brought together 503 images by 273 photographers. Edited in a similar way by Steichen, as a symphony of voices, it showed people around the world working, playing, fighting and loving. The images of the greatest exponents of humanist photography of the time were accompanied by literary quotes, orchestrating a grand visual and emotional vision of humanity. This project seeks to expand on the book and its narratives.

How to enter

Judging criteria

Juror information

Brad FEUERHELM (b. 1977, America) is a photography collector, artist, curator, dealer, and writer on photography. He has published several books on his work and has written for different magazines both in print and on-line. He is the Managing Editor of American Suburb X.

Natasha CHRISTIA (b. 1976, Greece) is an independent writer, curator and educator based in Barcelona. She is also a collection consultant and a dealer specialized in fine art photography and photobooks.

Jurors

Brad
Brad Feuerhelm
Natasha
Natasha Christia

Timeline

Call For Entries Open
23 April 2018
Submission Deadline
3 June 2018
Exhibition Start
2 July 2018
Exhibtion End
8 July 2018

Requirements

Submission Requirements

  • Up to 10 photos (single photo or series)
  • Image size: min. 4000px, max. 7000px on the long side, sRGB
  • Project description with up to 1500 characters
  • Biography & CV

Special Requirements

  • The call is addressed to non-male photographers
  • Images should relate to one ore more of the following categories:
  • Death/Trauma
  • Economy
  • Ecology
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Labor
  • Sexuality
  • Politics
  • Technology

Entrance Fees

  • 25€ fee, with the proviso that at least one image will be used in the exhibition as a guarantee

Curatorial approach

The Family of No Man will attempt a critical revision of Steichen’s seminal exhibition and publication that has raised both appraisal and controversy for its lack of anti-war rhetoric after the bloodshed of World War II and for involuntarily encouraging a US view propaganda amidst Cold War apocalyptic scenario. Following the patterns of the original project, our proposition will be to offer a platform of how the world today is seen through non-male eyes. The visual discourse of the project will be informed by the contemporary visual languages/media and technologies, and will respond to the ongoing public debate on gender equality. At the same time it will tackle how photography distanced from male narratives can be a conveyor of an open-ended identity status, suggesting a re-examination of the meta-narratives proposed in the original. If the male sign usually operates as a solid narrative object, here the word will belong to the non-male “Other” in the need and right of privilege and reinvigoration.

The content elements through which the curatorial project will be developed are the following ones: