Diane Arbus (born March 14, 1923 in New York City – July 26, 1971) was one of the top 20 photographers of all time and the most compelling, unique and consistent photographers of the 20th century. She came from a wealthy New York family but Diane suffered from bouts of hepatitis which left her depressed and she committed suicide at the age of 48. To Diane Arbus her subjects were always more important than the picture.
Style Fashion and Documentary Photography
Beginnings Diane Arbus was born under the name Diane Nemerov and was the daughter of a wealthy New York family that owned Russeks Department Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. She married her high school sweetheart Allan Arbus at age 18. Diane attended Fieldstone School and became interested in photography. Diane and Allan had 2 daughters but divorced in 1960.
Career Diane Arbus and her husband Allen teamed up as fashion photographers for Bonwit Teller and Russeks. Glamour magazine was the beginning of a long association with Conde Nast Publishing, which was their first magazine assignment in May 1947. Later she decided she wanted to photograph normal people in the real world.
Diane also taught in Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island and Parsons School of Design in New York City. Because she photographs real people she was criticized for her work.
1962 to 1964 were very productive fo Diane Arbus. She was among many of the first photographers to win a fellowship at the Guggenheim.
Legacy After her death Diane Arbus became the first American photographer to have her photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale in mid 1972. In 1972 the Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective of her work that traveled around the world. In North America alone 7 million people viewed her exhibition. And in 2001-2004 a book published in 1953 that immediately sold out became one of the most important photo books in the our history.
Patricia Bosworth wrote the book “Diane Arbus” a Biography”. Nicole Kidman played her in the movie “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus” which was released in 2006.
Today In 2007 the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased 20 of Diane Arbus’s photographs which are valued at millions of dollars and her photographs today can easily sell well over $100,000.