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Diane Arbus: Magazine Work Paperback – June 15, 2005
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[In Diane Arbus: Magazine Work] her works are subtler, finer and more explosive than anything else she did.– Photography magazine
About the Author
Diane Arbus(1923–1971) revolutionized the terms of the art she practiced. Five volumes of her work have been published posthumously and have remained continuously in print: Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph (1972), Diane Arbus: Magazine Work (1984), Untitled: Diane Arbus (1995), Diane Arbus: A Chronology (2011), and Diane Arbus Revelations (Random House, 2003).
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In a sense, Arbus photographed the uncool side of the Sixties. She wasn't afraid to record the tackier side of the decade, or reveal how working-class people really lived during the psychedelic days. Even though the hairstyles and clothing are now terribly dated, Arbus' gritty vision still rings true, and in her portraits we see the combination of absurdity and tragedy that characterizes many of our lives.
As these are photos that were published in mainstream magazines, there's little of the trademark surreal darkness that characterizes Arbus' best work. I don't think many people would find the photos here to be disturbing in the way that her later work (which focused on circus sideshow performers, freaks, and the mentally retarded) touches uncomfortable chords inside the viewer. So, while the reader will probably get the sense that Arbus is "holding back" somewhat, the very accessibility of the imagery presented here will lure many into a deeper examination of Arbus' work. If you've never seen Arbus' photography and would like to know what the fuss is all about, this is a great place to start.
As a side note, I recently saw many of the photos reproduced here in person at an exhibition in New York. The reproductions in this book are excellent.