Best Photography Exhibition - 2012
"Artist Unknown/The Free World"
In 1955, photographer and curator Edward Steichen organized more than 500 images into "The Family of Man," which traveled to 37 countries and reached about 10 million people. In 2008, New York-based teacher and photographer Oliver Wasow and South Carolina painter John D. Monteith began assembling a collection of "found" or vernacular photography that now includes roughly 20,000 pictures. The sampling of their vast archive that was on display at Hollywood's Art and Culture Center represents a world in which an estimated 750 million people upload and share something like 100 million photos on their Facebook pages daily. What a difference half a century or so makes. The point of Wasow and Monteith's enterprise is that we are bombarded by so much imagery on a continuing basis that it's almost impossible to keep track of it, much less make sense of it. And yet they take on the daunting challenge of doing so, combing the internet for photographs — portraiture, mostly — that, taken together, form their own variation on "The Family of Man," one that speaks volumes about life in that long-ago time, the 20th Century.