These United Nations photos document 70 years of global change

Seventy-three years ago, the branch of the United Nations focused on education, science, and culture — UNESCO — first ratified its constitution.

Since then humans have conquered polio, visited the moon, and made enormous leaps in fighting the spread of infectious disease.

Thanks to a partnership with Obscura Digital, visitors (and anyone watching from home) can check out large-scale projections of UNESCO photographs over the years, which are being thrown onto the face of its Paris headquarters today.

Welcome to the Mosaic of Change.

Tracing the history from 1945-present, the projections will show never-before-seen images from the UNESCO archive.


Chris Lejune, Obscura Digital's CEO, says the archive photos offer a brief history of how the world has changed in that time.


'We've reached such a connected place in human culture, but also a place where we're starting to have environmental issues and ongoing political issues,' he tells Tech Insider.


'All of these different images seen together show a woven fabric of human cultures and human potential, and what these different cultures have done through the years,' Lejune says.


The photos are a testament, Lejune says, to the connections we share as people, even if the borders we draw divide us.

Cristina Mittermeier

Whether that's in a Ghanian classroom, on a lecture about plants ...

Nick Onken

... or outside, under the shade of a tree.

Nick Onken

One of UNESCO's goals is to help deliver education all across the world. Here, the daughter of the head of the ICT Discovery museum at Istanbul Technical University reads about technology in an e-book.

ITU Pictures

In Kenya, girls use the World Reader app -- a tool for finding free stories from around the world -- on their smartphones and e-readers.

World Reader

Others aren't so lucky: Violence in the Middle East has displaced up to 1 million people since earlier this June. UNICEF has been working to meet their needs.

UNICEF Khuzaie

Natural scenes make up a major portion of the projected images.

Colin Finlay

Be they photos of distant relatives ...

Jason Houston

... or a reminder of the ocean's raw power. Below is Natalie Felix Didonato's shot of a winter storm surf breaking off the Na Pali coast, in Kauai, Hawaii.

Mark A. Johnson

Each photo also tries to capture the specific conflicts -- and, hopefully, resolution -- of a particular time period. Below, a photographer captures an image of a Lebanese soldier.

G. Belan

No matter if the wars are fought with guns or with pens -- like this protest in France following the January 2015 shooting inside the offices of the satirical French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.


'There's a lot of work to be done to unify around the importance of being a global citizen,' Lejune says. 'It's important to emotionally connect with different cultures around the world.'

Patricia Willocq

The goal of the photos is to create a cohesive narrative that leaves people with a fuller sense of humanity's progress.

Bryan Denton

Even if it's as simple as bringing solar energy to a family living in a traditional Mongolian 'ger' ...

Eskinder Debebe

... UNESCO's installations reinforce the idea that the most commonplace things -- the sun's rays, photographs on a wall, or a pink flower -- can still be remarkable.

Ariana Delawari

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