One was The Family of Man, which contained the photos from an exhibition (organized by world-famous photographer Edward Steichen) at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955. This book was, in fact, the official book of the exhibition. I don’t know if my parents went to New York to see the exhibit (how I wish I’d asked!) or if they took me (I would have been very young) … but I know that as a child I loved that book.
I still have it. I asked for it when I left home at eighteen.
This book is a dear friend.
And I can tell you that the book influenced me in profound ways, that I looked at it over and over and over. As a kid. As a teen. As a young adult. The people in the photos are, truly, as familiar to me as my own family. (Oh, but hey—they are.)
I have wondered if my travel-lust has its roots in this book. And I have wondered if my anti-racism has its roots in this book. My husband says it is because these people were different from me that I was fascinated and perhaps that is true. But the lesson here is still the same: current thinking to teach anti-racism is that we must see race, not ignore it (as we were taught fifty years ago—to be colorblind).
The softcover, pictured here, has sold 4 million copies and it is still in print—so I can’t be the only one who has a thing for this book.
This article came across my desk a few weeks ago and it got my attention:
As travellers sling their wallets, purses, laptops, smartphones, keys and other valuables into the grey plastic tray heading into an airport security scanner, many have a slight frisson of fear. What if you’re held up and then find on the other side that someone has raided your tray?
There’s a lot going on in the situation cited here, but the most important part is that airport security did not treat this theft as a high priority—which it should have. So be aware that airport security is not keeping an eye on your expensive laptop, and don’t hesitate to speak up if you see something happening.
The security line is a madhouse, for sure.
If you’re traveling with someone, one of you can hang back and wait with the majority of your possessions that need to go through the scanner while the other goes ahead through the body scanner. Now you’ve got one person on each side. If security personnel try to urge you through, remind them about the posted “Don’t let your belongings out of your sight” signs. You’re doing what you should do.
If you’re traveling alone, it will be better to be ahead of your possessions, waiting for them to come through, than behind them. This situation has always made me nervous, and I also almost always am traveling with a laptop. The best advice—and it’s hardly helpful—is to keep a sharp eye out.
That said, there’s one more very important protection that would have made a big difference to the denouement of this particular story: back up your computer before you leave home! The technology exists: use it.