Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Don’t Look Away: Diane Arbus

What would the world do without Faded + Blurred? Here is another instalment from their Spotlight series, this time Diane Arbus. Her story is as compelling as her pictures. Her life was depicted in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, a movie starring Nicole Kidman. Some call her a photographer of freaks, some called her an artist, and still others call her a photographic genius who was ahead of her time. Although her career was cut short by the tragedy of suicide in 1971, Diane Arbus is often placed among the great photographers of the 20th century. She made a name for herself photographing the people no one really wanted to see, the outcasts of society, the ones who make us uncomfortable. In her images, she dares us not to look away. There is no barrier of comfort or, in some cases, even propriety between us and the subjects of her portraits. Arbus’s career as a photographer seemed to be almost driven by a need to look for the reality she had missed growing up. She needed to see and feel life as it was really lived. Although she was born in 1923, she did not have to suffer through the Great Depression like most. Her parents owned Russeks, an upscale department store on 5th Avenue in New York and she grew up in an upper class Central Park apartment. She was raised with nannies, butlers, maids, and chauffeurs. These other adults in her life almost took the place of her parents, who were rarely there, physically or emotionally. She would often talk of her childhood as having a sense of unreality.  “The family fortune always seemed to me humiliating. It was like being a princess in some loathsome movie set in some kind of Transylvanian obscure Middle European country.”….READ MORE boy-with-hand-grenade arbus-untitled1 socialite Diane Arbus MD 1970, Tattooed man at a carnival diane-arbus-title   Don’t look away, see more here

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