Over a week ago we visited Clervaux Castle to see the Edward Steichen collection of The Family of Man, 503 photos by 273 photographers from 68 countries consisting of 37 themes. Steichen brought the collection together for the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) first in 1955 and it has travelled the world and been exposed in over 150 museums before the final integral version was installed in Clervaux Castle in the North of Luxembourg.
Photos by artists such as Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Robert Doisneau, W. Eugene Smith, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank and Ansel Adams and many more. I loved it! The day we visited it was relatively quiet and photography is allowed as long as you don’t use a flash. Duh!
The last photo in the collection is A Walk To The Paradise Garden by W. Eugene Smith, to close on an optimistic note, I guess. I’m a big fan of the photos of W. Eugene Smith, if you do not know his work make sure to check him out today, but although this photo is well executed it also contains little truth to me and the photos of W. Eugene Smith are usually bursting with truth. I’m sure most people would disagree, but I would not have ended the Family of Man exhibition with this photo…
My grandfather from my mother’s side with Ilse van de Kilstroom, his guide-dog, in 1946/1947; my grandfather was the first blind person with a guide dog in the town of Zwolle and was heavily involved in organizing the regional office of the Dutch Blind Union in Zwolle. My grandfather and all his sisters turned blind at a later age of what we believe to be cataract although we are not very sure and it must have run in that generation of the family.
Ilse was a Saarloos wolfdog which is a crossbreed between a German Sheppard dog and an European wolf. The breed was created by Leendert Saarloos in Holland and Saarloos ran a school for guide dogs in Dordrecht.
The dog was a quarter wolf and could not bark but howl; she was afraid of fireworks and at the end of the year my grandfather would arrive home at times, drenched in sweat, as Ilse had pulled him along in a dash to get home. When my father started dating my mother and take the dog for walks, it did happen that they ran into my father’s older brother and if that happened, Ilse would do her best to sink her teeth in the leg of my uncle and she ruined several of his trousers and coats, somehow she had it in for him.
Even though Ilse served my grandfather very well as a guide dog, these family stories do make me wonder how well suited this Saarloos wolfdog really was as a guide dog 🙂
After my grandfather had died, my grandmother from my mother’s side remarried a retired farmer who had a farm in Wapenveld, Holland, see here for the location. The family name was “Warning,” and the farm was worked by the youngest son. The farm building, Hulsbergen, is interesting as it contains remains of a medieval friars’ abbey, the “klooster” to which the local names refer.
Adjacent to the farm is still a forest and a stream, this forest was the main reason for my father to visit the farm as my father was photographing birds and wildlife at the time and the area was quiet like an early bird sanctuary and full of rare species of birds.
Sometime in the early 1960s, my father took a series of photos of life at the farm that I recovered and scanned. I love these photos: the photos of today, are the quaint and vintage photos of tomorrow. With about forty milk cows, at the time this was a decent sized farm and I do wonder what happened to the farm in later years when farms became fewer but larger. As you can see on Google Maps via the link above, the farm is still there and is still in the same family.