Response to Diane Arbus


CC Flickr: gnackgnackgnack

In a documentary about Diane Arbus titled “Masters of Photography”, someone mentioned that she likes to “work from awkwardness”. This captured my attention. Apparently, she said that she does not like to arrange things (this, amongst other things reminded me of Henri Cartier-Bresson). When standing in front of something, she prefers to move herself rather than arrange the object. I think that this is what she means by saying that she works from awkwardness. There is that notion of a natural order- even though there may be something awkward about it. By not disrupting it, the image seems less staged and more real, which in turn provides a more believable experience for whoever is viewing the image.
She also talked about feeling safe behind the camera. She said that when she looks at the world through a lens, she rarely gets scared, even when someone is angrily approaching her. This again reminded me of Henri Cartier-Bresson, who talked about the camera being a machine-gun, a weapon. Cartier-Bresson said that a photograph is a way of shouting how you feel. –Now that I think about it, there is a difference. Diane believes that when you have a camera, everybody knows you have the edge. You are holding some sort of magic. It is hard for me to interpret this, maybe because nowadays everybody has a camera in their phone, so it is not as atypical as it was back then.


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  1. Week In Review | ThirstyTony - April 15, 2013

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