Diane Arbus Lauren Weese

Diane was born on March 14, 1923 in New York City, New York. She ended her life on July 26, 1971 in her New York City apartment by committing suicide due to depression. Living in America all of her life, she saw the diversity of the population which greatly influenced her work.

Skyline of New York City from the 1960's

Diane started her photographic career with her husband, Allan Arbus, in fashion and advertising shoots. Their work was successful and often ended up in Vogue Magazine.

Left to Right: Vogue December 1950, Vogue May 1953

In order to further her own work, she decided to split off from working with her husband and learn off of Lisette Model. Their work mirrored each others in regards to the theme and subjects of the images.

Left to Right: Lisette Model herself (San Francisco 1949), The Murray Hill Hotel New York, Sailor and Girl at Sammy's Bar.

Diane's work was often perturbing to most, if not all viewers. But the mind behind everything explained how she felt about them. Many a time she would venture out into the street to get inspiration; moreover, her images portrayed groups of the marginalized of society. Street people, transvestites, nudists, and circus performers ended up in her work.

Left to Right: Max Maxwell Landar, Uncle Sam, N.Y.C., 1961; Ruth St. Denis (alternate), Cal., 1964; Seated female impersonator with arms crossed on her bare chest, N.Y.C., 1960.

Diane Arbus' work exemplifies the peculiarity of people. She wanted to express the commonality of all people, even though many of the subjects in her work were regarded as outcasts.

Famous work

Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967

Historical TImeline

During the late 1950's and early 1960's, the US was a very scary place to live in considering the unresting Civil Rights problems and the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Martin Luther King gave his famous "I have A Dream Speech" in 1963.


Reed Buchanan, N.Y.C., 1964

Incorporated in the image is a woman posing on top of a well worn in couch. The focal point is on the woman's entire body. The placement of her leg and the position of her arm act as leading lines to the upper body and face of the woman. Black and white are the colors used. D. Arbus is trying to communicate the beauty in simplicity.

Female impersonator holding long gloves, Hempstead, L.I., 1959

Inside this photograph, a male is standing in what looks like a preparation room wearing makeup. The focal point is set on the face of the man, which is also lying on Rules of Thirds. I see black and white. D. Arbus hopes to communicate that we should appreciate all forms of beauty, male or female and however they want to portray it they should.

A family on their lawn one Sunday in Westchester, N.Y., 1968

In this image, there is are parents resting on lawn chairs while a child plays in a small pool in the background. The focal point is on the two parents that are both setting on Rules of Thirds. Black and white are the only colors present. D. Arbus is communicating that family time should still exist.

Brenda Diana Duff Frazier, 1938 Debutante of the Year, At Home, 1966

In this image, an older woman is holding a cigarette while dressed in luxurious clothing. The focal point of this image is on the woman herself. The leading lines of the headboard guide the viewer towards her body. The colors in the image are black and white. The message D. Arbus intends to portray is that even in elderly age, a woman still has beauty.

Albino sword swallower at a carnival, M.D., 1970

In this image, a woman is shown swallowing a sword behind a circus tent. The focal point is on the face and the sword. Her arms act as leading lines, along with the top of the tent. I see black and white colors. D. Arbus is trying to communicate the peculiarity of circus performers.

Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C., 1962

In this image is a skinny boy holding a hand grenade in a park. The focal point is set on the boy which is in the foreground of the image. The colors that I see are black and white. The message that D. Arbus is trying to get across is that children should not get ahold of dangerous weapons such as a grenade, because of the potential threat it can have.

Overall Impression of Diane Arbus' Work

The images and overall style in which Diane Arbus photographed is surely intriguing and peculiar. She strives to relay the message that no one, no matter who or what they are, should be outcasted or tossed aside and treated as someone lower. Her work gives a greater message, rather than just an ordinary image which does indeed interest me in her work.


Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967
Triplets in Their Bedroom, 1963
Toddler being held in garden, N.J., 1968
A Boy with Straw Hat and Flag About to March in a Pro-War Parade, New York
Woman in a Rose Hat, N.Y.C.
Two ladies at the automat, N.Y.C. 1966, 1966
Blonde girl with shiny lipstick, NYC, 1967
Woman with eyeliner, NYC, 1967
Girl with a pointy hood and white schoolbag at the curb, N.Y.C., 1957.
A young man with curlers at home on West 20th Street, N.Y.C., 1966

"A photograph is a secret about a secret. the more it tells you the less you know"

-Diane Arbus

Works Cited

http://rebloggy.com/post/vintage-new-york-1960s-60s-vw-beetle/9140896312 https://www.pinterest.com/silvicc/paul-himmel/ https://www.pinterest.com/adamlgraser/diane-arbus-photographer/ http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.com/2011/11/lisette-model.html https://www.icp.org/browse/archive/objects/the-murray-hill-hotel-new-york-0 https://www.1stdibs.com/art/photography/black-white-photography/lisette-model-sailor-girl-sammys-bar/id-a_87116/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/53128470573937844/

https://www.artsy.net/artwork/diane-arbus-ruth-st-denis-alternate-cal http://www.artnet.com/artists/diane-arbus/seated-female-impersonator-with-arms-crossed-on-Q_lcwHdTbiI7WSA3bdg34Q2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identical_Twins,_Roselle,_New_Jersey,_1967 https://www.artsy.net/artwork/diane-arbus-child-with-a-toy-hand-grenade-in-central-park-nychttps://www.artsy.net/artwork/diane-arbus-reed-buchanan-nyc http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/651806 https://www.artsy.net/artwork/diane-arbus-a-family-on-their-lawn-one-sunday-in-westchester-ny-1969




Created with images by ChristopherPluta - "old newspaper newspaper the 1960s"

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