USA b. 1923 - 1971
American photographer Diane Arbus is famous for her poignant portraits of individuals on the margins of society, such as street people, transvestites, nudists, and carnival performers. Arbus’s work is highly controversial, eliciting in some viewers an overwhelming sense of compassion, while others find her images bizarre and disturbing.
Her practice challenged established conventions dictating the distance between photographer and subject, resulting in the raw psychological intensity that characterizes her photographic portraiture. Arbus's gift for rendering strange those things we consider most familiar continues to challenge our assumptions about the nature of everyday life and compels us to look at the world in a new way. By the same token, her ability to uncover the familiar within the exotic enlarges our understanding of ourselves.
Her devotion to the principles of the art she practiced without deference to any extraneous social, political, or even personal agenda has produced a body of work that is often shocking in its purity, in its bold commitment to the celebration of things as they are.
Work courtesy of Oliver Sears Gallery