Anke Reitz, UNESCO memory keeper of the exhibition: The Family of Man

It’s inside the enchanting setting of the castle of Clervaux that Anke Reitz, curator of the Edward Steichen’s collection for the national audiovisual center of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, works. True UNESCO memory keeper, passionate about photography and art history, she is today the 504th face of this incredible humanist collection The Family of Man.


"Did you ever learn about the Koulechov effect? This theory explains that by combining several images next to each other, you can create a specific feeling in the mind of the spectator. Among other things based on this theory, the exhibition of Edward Steichen, The Family of Man, will not leave you indifferent."

Anke Reitz - Visit Clervaux

It’s been 15 years that photographs have daily rubbed shoulders with Anke Reitz.  However, the emotions passed on by the images to the curator are constantly changing. Throughout the encounters, life experiences, certain details seem to one day take more importance than the previous one. Visitors also bring their own stories with them. This permeates the photographs and loads them with raw feelings.

It is true that our life experiences, always evolving over time, allow us to have, with each visit, a new look at the images on display. As if we were turning the pages of the great book of our life, feelings from the past reemerge. Sometimes with laughs, sometimes with sadness or melancholy. This is the story of humanity that everyone draws inspiration from. It’s powerful and beautifully simple at the same time.

For this reason, the photos have not been captioned. This allows the visitor to take their own look at the images and make them accessible to everyone. It should not be forgotten that this exhibition traveled the whole world, from New York in 1955, to arrive in Clervaux, as its creator Edward Steichen wanted. So, humans from different cultures had to be able to appreciate the work of the photographers.

As she honestly puts it, it was a combination of coincidence, hard work, luck and passion that led Anke to manage this exhibition at just 24 years old after graduating. Graduated in audiovisual communication from Liège and Paris, supplemented by the history of art in the United Kingdom. Today, her daily life is divided between administrative work, constant historical research, contacts with researchers or students, national or international collaborations, communication, conservation and development of new products, among other educational methods.

The future challenges are there. We must ensure the sustainability of these artistic works. And deliver, to as many people as possible, the magnificent message of humanity left 65 years ago by Edward Steichen. And for that, it was essential for the exhibition to have an altruistic guardian of this collective memory, the memory of the post-war period and of a world that nothing seemed to be able to stop.

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