Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus

Portrait of A Photographer

eBook - 2016
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The definitive biography of the beguiling Diane Arbus, one of the most influential and important photographers of the twentieth century, a brilliant and absorbing exposition that links the extraordinary arc of her life to her iconic photographs.

Diane Arbus brings to life the full story of one of the greatest American artists of the twentieth century, a visionary who revolutionized photography and altered the course of contemporary art with her striking, now iconic images. Arbus comes startlingly to life on these pages, a strong-minded child of unnerving originality who grew into a formidable artist and forged an intimacy with her subjects that has inspired generations of artists. Arresting, unsettling, and poignant, her photographs stick in our minds. Why did these people fascinate her? And what was it about her that captivated them?

It is impossible to understand the transfixing power of Arbus's photographs without understanding her life story. Arthur Lubow draws on exclusive interviews with Arbus's friends, lovers, and colleagues, on previously unknown letters, and on his own profound critical understanding of photography, to explore Arbus's unique perspective. He deftly traces Arbus's development from a wealthy, sexually precocious free spirit into first a successful New York fashion photographer, and then a singular artist who coaxed hidden truths from her subjects. Lubow reveals that Arbus's profound need not only to see her subjects but to be seen by them drove her to forge unusually close bonds with these people, helping her discover the fantasies, pain, and heroism within each of them.

Diane Arbus is the definitive biography of this unique, hugely influential artist. This magnificently absorbing, sensitive treatment of a singular personality brushes aside the clichés that have long surrounded Arbus and her work to capture a brilliant portrait of this seminal artist whose work has immeasurably shaped art and modern culture.

Lubow's Diane Arbus finally does justice to Arbus, and brings to life the story and art of one of the greatest American artists in history.

Diane Arbus includes a 16-page black-and-white photo insert.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 2016.
ISBN: 9780062234346
Characteristics: text file
1 online resource.


From Library Staff

If you look at any "edgy" art student's portrait portfolio, Diane Arbus probably did it first. Originally a fashion photographer, she took her camera to places that few ventured during her time. Her subjects were outcasts, the disabled, the sick, the dying, the dead, nudists, and gay me... Read More »

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Apr 07, 2017

Greatly detailed book on Diane Arbus and her work including info on many of her contemporaries. Unfortunately, like many biographies on photographers/artists, there's not one photo of her work shown and this is due to the estate now allowing it. Otherwise, it's a great book with many details. Highly recommend.

Mar 07, 2017

I was really irritated that the title said this was about her work but it had no images that she took. It was all about her psychology and methods but only had descriptions of her photos. Also I thought the author had no clue about how childhood sexual abuse can play out for the victim in later years. He seemed to find her behavior baffling and even repulsive but he didn't even try to understand it. A bad book about a great artist.

Sep 03, 2016

I am most definitely not a photography expert or nor do I have even a rudimentary knowledge of the art, but I do know Arbus's name and was interested in reading about her. However, I didn't expect or want this level of detail - way too much info about her cameras, her technical skills, etc. This book was HUGE and I was overwhelmed by the info I didn't understand or want to know. The info about Diane's personality, family, etc - the usual content of a biography - I liked, but I ended up skipping large sections of the book when it became clear that this was written for a photo disciple or a devotee of Arbus. If you are one or the other, you'll probably love this level of detail - not for me altho I appreciate the author's diligence


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