Sometimes, you just have to learn from the masters. This documentary from 1972 is an exploration of Diane Arbus — her photography, her outlook, and her philosophy. She was born as Diane Nemerov in 1923 and passed away in 1971 after she tragically took her own life, and, though her career was short, her grasp of the surreal and the unusual lives on. She spent her entire career scrutinizing, seeing things that others missed. From looking at the every day to the abnormal, she created unyielding images that shone a light on the world around her. And listening to this documentary, released the year after her death, gives amazing insight into her view of the world and what drove Arbus to shoot. Experts say that she was driven to be different and to be unique — it worked.
She wasn’t interested in famous people or even famous subject matter, instead, she was drawn to either the utterly pedestrian or what she referred to as “freaks’. She thrived off of the “mixture of shame and awe” she would get from someone so completely different from her experience, from most people’s experiences. Marginalized people and groups were put center stage — and seen in a new light.
This documentary about Arbus explores her own words alongside the way experts and contemporaries viewed her, to give a multidimensional experience. You can see the whole thing here:
A constant explorer, experimenter, and a true master, Arbus took photography and made it new again. Though her battle with depression meant that she was not long for this world, her work and her philosophies live on. And she’s right — there are so many things that would have never been seen without her photographs.