Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus



Diane Arbus is known for her unrelenting direct photographs of people who are considered social deviates. She also portrayed “normal” people in a manner that exposed the cracks in their public masks.Diane Arbus is best known for her stark, documentary style of photography. Her most famous images are those of people outside the boundaries of “proper” society.

Diane Arbus by Beppe Devall


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Diane pursued photography and began to study under Lisette Model. Model quickly recognized her student’s keen instincts as a documentary photographer. Her documentary eye and search for personal, inner wealth created the shocking and intriguing images of asylum inmates, midgets, nudists, drug-addicts and transvestites. She sought the adversity of the people on the “fringes of society”. Arbus recorded these subjects in sharp focus, with their gaze looking directly into the camera. She attracted immediate attention with her “new documents” and was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963 and 1966.

She dared to photograph what people were not willing to look at and acknowledge; she made us look. During the height of her success in 1971, she took her own life. Critics have observed that we see Arbus’ work more with our minds than with our eyes. Her images of society’s outcasts frequently push the boundaries of what is considered “tasteful” and “proper”, and continue to challenge the viewer today.

Mountains 1998, Jane Doe