Diane Arbus (; March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer noted for photographs of marginalized people—dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers—and others whose normality was perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal. Her work has been described as consisting of formal manipulation characterized by blatant sensationalism.In 1972, a year after she died by suicide (there exists a popular cliche of her being the Sylvia Plath of photographers), Arbus became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale. Millions viewed traveling exhibitions of her work in 1972–1979. The book accompanying the exhibition, Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, edited by Doon Arbus and Marvin Israel and first published in 1972 was still in print in 2006, having become the best selling photography monograph ever. Between 2003 and 2006, Arbus and her work were the subjects of another major traveling exhibition, Diane Arbus Revelations. In 2006, the motion picture Fur, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus, presented a fictional version of her life story.
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Born into a prominent New York Jewish family; her brother was poet Howard Nemerov. She worked with her husband on fashion photography. Later she separated from him and began her own career. Arbus' best known work investigates societies' frailties in portraits of outsiders, notably circus freaks, the mentally handicapped, transvestites, and nudists. She is noted for expanding notions of acceptable subject matter and violates canons of the appropriate distance between photographer and subject. By befriending, not objectifying her subjects, she was able to capture in her work a rare psychological intensity. She was troubled by depression throughout her life and committed suicide in 1971.
Artist, Photographer
Diane Arbus, Diane Nemerov Arbus, Diane Nemerov, Diane née Nemerov
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