Compiled & written by Andrew Nemeth, Australia
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Site last updated:  Sun, 01 Oct 2023

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Family of Man 2

The Project

Initiated, organised and published by Alastair Firkin, FOM2 is an updating of the 1955 Edward Steichen/ MOMA "Family of Man" exhibition, but given a modern Leitz twist in that all the contributed images had to be taken using Leica equipment.

The project ran from October 2000 until December 2005, and only photos taken during that time were accepted. Most of the contributions were by LUG members, but toward the end a few semi-famous photojournalists also got involved.

Every year there were an average of 1500 submissions, which were whittled down to approx. 100 selections in November. The culling was done by a large number of judges, of whom I was one in 2005, 2003 and 2002. (BTW I also contributed about a dozen of the final images.)

The end result is a book and website containing roughly 500 photographs. Yes there is a disappointingly large number of "Kiddie Pix" and "From Behind" shots, but these are overshadowed by a lot of very strong and unique images. I know many potential contributors balked at the "Leica Only" requirement, but most just shrugged, grabbed the appropriate camera and created magic.

The project was mainly Firkin's and the LUG's baby, meaning my involvement was almost non-existent. So imagine my surprise when I ordered the book and noticed my photo of an old woman at Coogee Baths on the back cover!

The Book

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Front and Rear covers
( 128k bytes )
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Sample pages
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Because Firkin couldn't find a publisher (shame Leica and Phaidon Press!), the book is self-published using the "Blurb" system. You can view sample pages and order it online at:


The price (ex shipping) is $US 145. P&H to Australia was an additional $US 31.20.

The print quality is surprisingly good, while the B&W and (most of the) colour photographs look spectacular. (See also photojournalist Ted Grant's remarks in June 2008.) The hardcover binding is pretty good too, although the spine is a bit weak and may fail with heavy use.

The Website

You can view the complete project online at:



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