Full Exposure. Female impersonators, midgets, hermaphrodites, tattooed (all over) men, an albino sword swallower, a human pincushion, a Jewish giant: “Characters in a Fairy Tale for Grown Ups” is the way Diane Arbus once described her subjects—“people who appear like metaphors somewhere further out than we do,” she also said, “invented by belief.”
Yet Arbus could produce the same sense of dire enchantment in photographs of the most ordinary people: Fifth Avenue matrons, Coney Island bathers, even children. Other photographers focussed on the passing human comedy, but obliquely, snapping shots with a concealed camera, on the sly. Arbus started out that way, too, but soon changed tactics. She needed to get closer, physically and emotionally. So she asked permission, got to know people, listened to their stories; some relationships went on for years. Arbus herself had to learn to have the courage.
The more startling the image, the more need for persuasive detail. DIANE ARBUS: "Notes from the Margin of Spoiled Identity" (1988)ASX. By Gerry Badger, Originally Published in Phototexts, 1988 The principal issue raised by the remarkable photographs of Diane Arbus seems not to be their remarkableness, which few would dispute, but their morality.
The very potency of her images, their dangerous, disturbing allure, demands an almost instantaneous moral judgement on the part of the viewer. Her pictures call forth an immediate stance which, it would seem, just cannot remain equivocal, yet which in many cases is tinged with uneasy contradiction. To some, Arbus is seen as the prime exemplar of the fundamental baseness of the photographic act, that act which caters ineffably to the disinterested voyeur lurking in us all. Arbus Reconsidered. 'Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like giving a hand grenade to a baby,'' Norman Mailer said after seeing how she had captured him, leaning back in a velvet armchair with his legs splayed cockily.
The quip was funny, but a little off base. A camera for Arbus was like a latchkey. With one around her neck, she could open almost any door. Fearless, tenacious, vulnerable -- the combination conquered resistance. In an eye-opening sequence in ''Revelations,'' the compendious new book that is being published in tandem with a full-scale retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, you discover with a start the behind-the-scenes drama that produced her famous photograph of ''A Naked Man Being a Woman.'' Diane Arbus: humanist or voyeur? Diane Arbus killed herself, aged 48, on 26 July 1971.
On the 40th anniversary of her death, it's worth reconsidering her artistic legacy. Her work remains problematic for many viewers because she transgressed the traditional boundaries of portraiture, making pictures of circus and sideshow "freaks", many of whom she formed lasting friendships with. If Arbus undoubtedly felt at home among the outsiders she photographed, she also experienced a frisson of guilty pleasure when photographing them.
"There's some thrill in going to a sideshow," she once confessed of her nocturnal visits to the circus tents of Coney Island, where performers were still earning a living in the 1960s. "I felt a mixture of shame and awe. " Her works make us question not just her motives for looking at what the critic Susan Sontag – with typical hauteur – called "people who are pathetic, pitiable, as well as repulsive", but also our own. The "other" is not what it used to be. Arbus, Boy with a Toy Grenade, 1962. Notes on Arbus. Double Exposure. NEW YORK They remember none of it.
Not the lady with the camera, arranging them by a wall at the Knights of Columbus hall in their home town of Roselle, N.J. Not the chocolate cake they had just finished, which is very faintly visible in the picture at the creases of their lips. The Wade sisters, as they were known before they each married, recall nothing about the day they gazed into the lens of Diane Arbus and became part of American photographic history.
Unless you count the dresses. "We still have them," says Colleen. "Our mother made them," says Cathleen. They were 7 years old in 1967, when Arbus found the girls at a Christmas party for local twins and triplets. It would become one of the most famous photographs of the era's most compelling photographer. They've been handed a peculiar kind of celebrity, the kind you don't ask for and certainly don't expect. What's it like to land in this hallowed collection of "freaks," as Arbus once referred to her subjects?
Photographer_week.pdf. DIANE ARBUS - THE PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK. Diane Arbus at Foam. DIANE ARBUS: "Flirt, Flash & Mirror" (2013) A husband and wife in the woods at a nudist camp, N.J., 1963 By Anna Solal Translated by Chris Farmer, 2013 I saw this show a few months ago in Berlin but it took some time to fully digest it.
This dense retrospective of Diane Arbus’ photographs is a fine occasion for the appreciation of her work. It is confusingly commonplace to like this artist and with there being such an abundance of writing concerning her work, it is quite risky to write about her. The photographs find their equilibrium between the brutality of their documentary nature and the presence of an almost romantic fiber; here the two approaches are combined in the same gesture: the photograph and therefore the encounter.
As with all great photography, discipline combines with chance, a most appreciated quality, provided it remains neither fully tamed nor untamed. Even though we identify ourselves with them, the stranger has first been part of a conscious selection of models. (All rights reserved. Diane Arbus. Diane Arbus. Diane Arbus. Diane Arbus (/diːˈæn ˈɑrbəs/; March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer and writer noted for black-and-white square photographs of "deviant and marginal people (dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers) or of people whose normality seems ugly or surreal". Arbus believed that a camera could be "a little bit cold, a little bit harsh" but its scrutiny revealed the truth; the difference between what people wanted others to see and what they really did see – the flaws. A friend said that Arbus said that she was "afraid ... that she would be known simply as 'the photographer of freaks'", and that phrase has been used repeatedly to describe her. Personal life Diane and Allan Arbus separated in 1958, and were divorced in 1969. Photographic career Death Notable photographs