O’Hagen, S., (2011) Diane Arbus Humanist or Voyeur? [online]. The Guardian. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/jul/26/diane-arbus-photography-sideshow [Accessed on 17th December 2015, at 13:41].
he felt connected to the outsiders she photographed, she felt a part of that group. She also felt guilty pleasure when photographing them “I felt a mixture of shame and awe.”
SUSAN SONTAG on Diane Arbus (book) “Sontag insists Arbus’s’ gaze ‘is based on distance, on privilege, on a feeling that what the viewer is asked to look at is the other”
the other ??
“Here, whatever her intention, the cruel often seems to outweigh the tender.”
“her need to not just photograph but befriend her subjects; her seemingly insatiable fascination with the unusual”
“Arbus’s identification with her subjects has been interpreted not, as Sontag insists, as a kind of prurient voyeurism, but as a way of understanding the world and shedding new light on its fringes.”
She may have empathised with her subjects, but she was not one of them, however much she felt she identified with their outsider status.
As viewers we feel intrusive when we look at her work, we’re given an inside look into lives we possibly weren’t welcome in. “Even though her subjects are tied to a time and place that has all but vanished.”
Even though these people may not even be alive anymore, we still feel that we’re peering into their own personal lives, and their personal hardships.
However, the starkness of the image holds our attention and we become curious about these “outsiders’ that were a bit part of the photographers life, even though we feel we should look away.
“Perhaps her greatest gift is that she understood that conflict instinctively, and did more that anyone to exploit it artistically.”
She would visit the circus tents of Coney Island to see performers, during the 60’s.