Diane Arbus

Dear Readers,

Recently I have been reading and researching a lot on Diane Arbus. She is a American photographer (14th March 1923- 16th July 1971) who is well known for creating strong intense black and white square-format photographs of marginalised people in society — including transgender people, dwarfs, nudists, circus people. She didn’t learn photography from school, instead she learnt it from her husband, actor Allan Arbus.

Diane Arbus with her husband


She is really interesting and a woman with character. I must say, i am very impressed by her. Her work is like Picasso’s painting, where people just can’t stop looking at it. Her raw and unusual photographs of the people she saw while living in New York created a interesting and interesting portrayal of the city. She explored how people live with sameness and difference as well as acceptance and rejection. I feel that this combination creates very interesting art.


She used a TLR medium format camera, its a special camera that take square photographs. She is well known for black and white square photographs of people who are on the edge of acceptance society. She shows their common and recognisable side of these people. She choose her subject very carefully and have deep emotions and feeling for them. Most of the time, her subjects look sad, conflicted or physically abnormally, BUT they do not hide their insecurities.They opening stare at the camera. One art expert said that Diane have turned photography inside out. Instead of looking at her subject, she make them look at her.  She have mixed realistic nature of photography with its expressive possibilities.
A camera could be “a little bit cold and harsh” however, but it revealed the truth; the difference between what people wanted others to see and what they really did see – the flaws.  Diane used to be in the Fashion Industry where she is a art director who contributes to magazines such as Glamour, Seventeen, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other magazines. She used wide angle lenses intentionally to highlight wider perspective which is seeing beyond the traditional beauty. Instead she feel that one should look for and capture authenticity.
Here are some of the photographs that she have taken :
Diane have some advice for street photographs and I feel that it is really useful so I would like to share with you guys! I found it on : http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2012/10/15/11-lessons-diane-arbus-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/
1.  Go to places you never been.
2.  The camera is a license to enter the lives of others
3. Realize you can never truly understand the world from your subjects eyes
4. Take specific photos
5. Adore your subjects
6. Gain inspiration from reading
7. Utilize textures to add meaning to your photographs
8. Take BAD photos
9. Don’t arrange others, arrange yourself
10. Get over the fear of photographing by getting to know your subjects
11. Your subjects are more important than the pictures
Hope that you guys are now as inspired as me! 🙂
Rong Hua

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