Diane Arbus – Photos and Artwork

About Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus was an American photographer known for her distinctive style and approach to capturing her subjects. Born on March 14, 1923, in New York City, she grew up in a wealthy family but was drawn to less conventional aspects of society. Arbus is best remembered for her powerful black-and-white photographs of individuals and groups on the fringes of society, such as circus performers, transgender people, dwarfs, and people with various physical anomalies, showcasing them in a manner that was both stark and deeply humanizing.

Arbus began her career in photography working alongside her husband, Allan Arbus, in fashion photography, contributing significantly to the family’s fashion photography business. However, she eventually ventured into her own path, seeking subjects that intrigued her and reflected her fascination with the diversity of humanity. Her work challenges traditional perceptions of beauty and normality, inviting viewers to confront their prejudices and assumptions.

Her photography style is characterized by its directness, often using a square format and employing a flash to highlight her subjects against their environments. This technique created a sense of intimacy between the subject and the viewer, making her photographs deeply compelling and sometimes unsettling.

Arbus’s career took a tragic turn when she took her own life in 1971. Despite her relatively brief career, her influence on photography is profound. She opened new avenues in portraiture, questioning societal norms and the nature of identity and difference. Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums around the world and continues to be a subject of study and admiration for both its aesthetic qualities and its compassionate, unflinching exploration of humanity.

Photographs from Diane Arbus

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