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Diane Arbus Biography

Diane Arbus was one of the most distinctive photographers of the 20th century.
She was an American photographer notable for her strange black and white
photographs. She was born on 14 March 1923 in New York City and died on 26
July 1971 at the age of 48. She was the second of the three children. Both
Diane and her siblings were educated at Ethical Culture School and the
Fieldston School in Manhattan. Since her family was rich, they were unaffected
by the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Arbus brought out revolution in black and white photography by taking pictures
of abnormal people, eccentrics, and street performers. She moved closely with
the people whom she decided to photograph, so that she could make them
pose the exact expression that she wanted. She belonged to an affluent family,
but she looked for a different aspect in life and was captivated by uncommon
people with weird outlook or behavior and by people who belonged to the lower
strata of society.


Her husband Allan was her first teacher to teach photography. In 1946, she
started her career as a photographer and worked in the advertisement section
of her father’s store along with her husband. Later along with her husband, she
started her own commercial photography business and started undertaking
assignments for clothing fashions. Diane took care of the costume and makeup
of the model whereas Allan photographed. Their unconventional style of
photography attracted the people and they gained fame as fashion


When a copy of the photograph was auctioned in 2005.000. and identical twin girls revolutionized the photographic style. Achievements Her pictures of a couple on a park bench. In late 1960s. she became the art director of Harper’s Bazaar and also started to publish her pictures. she won the Robert Levitt Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers for outstanding achievement. This made her move from 35mm camera to a specialized one producing square shaped images. Esquire. In 1970. Even after their separation their friendship continued but Diane was depressed and sick. who became the curator of photography at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). In 1962.photographers. Simultaneously. and Rhode Island School of Design. Cooper Union. In 1958. where she learnt professional photography. Her photograph of the identical twins was chosen as the cover image of the photography book Diane Arbus published in 1972. 2 . Major Works Her photograph of a child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park captivated the viewers. she started taking photographic classes. Impressed by her photographs. she taught photography in Parsons School of Design. it was sold for $408." Diane was not happy with her secondary role and she wanted to learn professional photography. she was influenced by the work of John Szarkowski. she published her pictures in magazines like Sunday Times Magazine. In 1969. In 1961. a young Republican. she was legally separated from her husband Allan. The book made a record sale as one of the best-selling photography books. She was offered Guggenheim Fellowships in 1963 and three years later the fellowship was renewed. They got assignments from renowned fashion magazines like "Harper's Bazaar" and "Vogue. and Harper’s Bazaar. The Esquire magazine entrusted her with a photo assignment on the nightlife of New York.

she got acquainted to Allan Arbus who was nineteen years old and fell in love with him. her private life remained a subject of interest and resulted in the filming of her life in which Nicole Kidman played the role of Arbus. In 1972. They lived separately for some years and were divorced in 1969. but inwardly she found it hard to battle over the solitude and her health issues. Allan was working in the advertisement department of her family store. She continued her friendly relations with her husband even after their separation.Personal Life & Legacy While she was thirteen. 3 . Later Doon became famous as a writer and Amy as a fashion photographer. The couple was blessed with two daughters named Doon and Amy who were interested in fashion photography. her monograph titled. Diane became depressed due to illness and loneliness. "Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph" edited and designed by her friend and painter Marvin Israel and daughter Doon Arbus was published. This was published in five languages. Just like her personality.