Thursday, March 30, 2006

Vulnerability and Sadness...the pure photography of Diane Arbus

"A photograph,is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know." -Diane Arbus

-Teenage couple on Hudson str.,1963

Diane Nemerov was born in New York to wealthy store owners. She grew up rich, isolated and protected. Her brother was the poet Howard Nemerov.
At the age of 13 she fell in love with the actor Allan Arbus and at 18 (despite parents objections) married him.

For twenty years Diane and Allan ran a successful fashion photography studio.
In 1959 at the age of 36 with two daughters and seperated from Allan whom she had known for 22 years she began to form her own vision. She studied with Richard Avedon and important to her evolution was a class she took with Lisette Model.

Woman in Her Negligee, NYC, 1966

Diane Arbus worked hard, she didn't like things easy. She photographed people on the margins and prefered to photograph them in their bedroom because she believed that was where we are most ourselves.

girl on bed

While l was going to college l was in awe of Diane Arbus. I would take a big 4x5 camera and tripod downtown (Calgary) and stop people, asking them if l could take their picture.

I was struck by Diane Arbus's sadness and insight into universally shared fears, insecurities and aloneness we all feel.

man at parade on sixth avenue, 1969

Sadly Diane Arbus committed suicide in 1971 at the age of 48, at the height of her success, perhaps because of her success...

"Nothing is ever the same as they said it was." -Diane Arbus