This video is a natural following to last week’s show on August Sander. Diane Arbus considered Sander to be her biggest influence. There are some really interesting similarities in their work – threads of commonality, though these two photographers both have very distinctive styles.
Diane Arbus was born in 1923 to a very wealthy family in New York. She married her childhood sweetheart, Allan Arbus in 1941 and the two of them ran a successful photography studio together shooting portrait and editorial work for magazines. They were credited a photograph in the Edward Steichen 1955 “Family of Man” exhibit. They separated in 1959 – Allan went on to become an actor most notably the psychiatrist in the TV show MASH.
Diane went on to a prolific and innovative career as a photographer. She worked respected in both the commercial and fine art worlds. Her style is hallmarked by unusual and often unaccepted subjects – redefining beauty and what photography could be. Often known as the “photographer of freaks”, her most iconic images are often of subjects on the fringe of society including transvestites, giants, nudists, circus performers, the mentally challenged, etc.
Though prolific, her career ended with her untimely suicide in 1971. She was only 48. One year later she was the first American photographer to be featured in the Venice Biennale.