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Definition: Arbus, Diane from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(är'bӘs), 1923–71, American photographer, b. New York City. For nearly 20 years Arbus operated a successful fashion photography studio with her husband, Allan Arbus. She studied with Lisette Model and began, in the late 1950s, to make the intimate and powerful visual record of life on the freakish margins of society for which she became renowned. Her empathetic acceptance of what she saw set her work apart and gave her access to the usually unapproachable: transvestites, dwarves, prostitutes, nudists, giants, carnival sideshow performers, the mentally impaired, and the everyday strange or ugly. Arbus, who battled depression throughout her life, died a suicide at 48. One of the most acclaimed and influential American photographers of the latter 20th cent., Arbus was the sister of the poet Howard Nemerov.

  • See collections of work the aperture monograph Diane Arbus (1972), Diane Arbus, Magazine Work (1984), Diane Arbus: Untitled (1995), and Diane Arbus: Revelations (2003) biographies by P. Bosworth (1984) and A. Lubow (2016).

Summary Article: Arbus, Diane
From Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

(born March 14, 1923, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died July 26, 1971, New York City) U.S. photographer. The sister of the poet and critic Howard Nemerov, she worked as a fashion photographer in the 1950s. From about 1955 to 1957 she studied with documentary photographer Lisette Model. She published her first photo-essay, for Esquire, in 1960. In the 1960s she began to explore the subjects that would occupy her for much of her career: individuals living on the outskirts of society and “normalcy,” such as nudists, transvestites, dwarfs, and the mentally or physically handicapped. Her own evident intimacy with the subjects of her photos resulted in images that engage the sympathy and collusion of the viewer and elicit a strong response. During this period she mastered her technique of using a square format and flash lighting, which gives her work a sense of theatricality and surrealism. In 1971 Arbus committed suicide.

Birth Place: New York City, New York, United States

Death Place: New York City, New York, United States

Name: Arbus, Diane or Diane Arbus

Gender: female

Nationality: American

Activity: American photographer

Keywords: street photography, photography, American, Diane Arbus, suicide, “Diane Arbus: Portfolio”, portraiture, documentary photography, New York City, Arbus, Diane, photojournalism, New York

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Copyright 1994-2017 Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc

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