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Diane Arbus: Untitled Hardcover – September 30, 2011
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From Library Journal
"The photographs were taken at residences for the mentally retarded between 1966 and 1971, places she kept going back to every few months or so, to picnics, dances, on Halloween," writes Arbus's daughter in the short afterword here. "This is simply information. What is in the pictures lies closer to home." In fact, what is revealed on page after page hits almost too close to home. Best known for her documentary yet wholly empathetic photographs of the human oddities from which polite society averts its gaze, Arbus reached the limits of the medium's possibilities for both truth-telling and identification in this series made in the years and months before her suicide. In those times, anyone choosing the severely handicapped as subject matter would risk accusations of exploitation, but this collection is immune: not simply because the subjects are clearly willing participants, giddily posing for the rare opportunity, but also because the product utterly lacks a voyeuristic dimension. There is no visible attempt to compose an art or to layer the images with the artist's interpretation. These are simply some of the most disturbingly honest photographs ever taken. Essential for all photography collections.?Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In an afterword to this remarkable gathering of her mother's photographs, Doon Arbus insists that the intent of these works "wasn't . . . about who or what she saw, but about the experience of seeing it and the power of her photographs to make that experience visible." Between 1969 and 1971, Diane Arbus focused her lens on residents in homes for the mentally retarded. Her patient eye searches out the individual in an isolated space and time, for instance, a little girl who squeezes a Styrofoam cup in her hands while holding under her arm a shoe box bearing the brand name "Child Life," providing ironic contrast with her face, which looks, somehow, too old. Doon Arbus writes that her mother's photographs remind "us that facts lie at the root of what we're looking at," yet it takes us a moment to realize or even come to terms with those facts. These haunting images, jarring yet magical, arrive from the past to give a lyrical poke at our collective subconscious, to wake us up--and remind us to look. Raul Nino --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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This book represents Dianne's final work, photographs taken of the mentally retarded at a Hallowe'en celebration. An intense body of work but never exploitive, she photographed her subject as kindred spirits as if she recognized in them much of herself. As you go through these photos and imagine Dianne's mindset,these become almost self-portraits.....
There was nowhere for her to go after this, much like dear Ian after recording Closer (spend some time with those lyrics and you'll see he also had come to the end).
Harrowing stuff as much real art is and should be.
As indispensable as her first monograph.
I gave copy to special friend.
In black and white, Diane Arbus captured the essence of these mentally challenged children.
I think it's her best work...She seemed to think so too, at the time. There are no words; no wise explanations;
Each photograph depicts the story of living in a home for the mentally retarded in the early 1970's. Their concerns
speak volumes today in timeless fashion.
This is not a book that most people would wish to have on their coffee table, or anywhere in their homes. The images are grotesque, disturbing, cruel, ugly.
These images were made when Arbus's life was spiraling down, when she was more and more lost in her final depression. They provide an insight into her mind that it would have been better not to publish.