Politics

Full Frame: Family of man

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Full Frame features photo essays and conversations with photographers in the field.

This selection of photographs taken by photographer and journalist Paul S. Rockower pays homage to "The Family of Man" exhibition that opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955. The exhibition’s world tour, sponsored by the United States Information Agency — the governmental body responsible for presenting American cultural values to audiences abroad — proved a tremendous public diplomacy success for America.

At a time of Cold War antagonisms and longstanding divisions that segregated mankind by color, caste and creed, "The Family of Man" celebrated, as stated by its curator Edward Steichen, “the daily relationship of man to himself, to his family, to the community and to the world we live in.” Viewed by more than 9 million people in 38 countries over a period of seven years, the exhibition offered a message of unity and a momentary diversion from the perils of modern life.

In the words of Nicholas J. Cull, professor, historian and director the USC Masters of Public Diplomacy program, “Rather than crassly presenting America to the world, America presented the world to the world, and gained credit thereby.” 

On display at the USC Annenberg School for Communication is a 21st-century interpretation of this successful instance of public diplomacy, echoing the richly textured chronicle of the human condition across the globe. On display at GlobalPost is a portion of the overall exhibition. 

About the photographer:

Paul S. Rockower is a student in the USC Masters of Public Diplomacy program. During his undergraduate years as an Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies major at Brandeis University, he studied in Israel, the Czech Republic and Morocco. After a three-year stint as press officer at the Israeli Consulate in Houston, Paul traveled for two years as a journalist and photographer, writing for the Jerusalem Post on Jewish communities in far-flung places. His travels took him from Beijing to Cairo, from Buenos Aires to Tierra del Fuego, and back up to Lima. In all, he has visited nearly 45 countries around the globe. He would like to thank the Annenberg School for Communication for the support in making this exhibition possible.