Diane Arbus

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I finally heard the other shoe fall. I was wondering why the big push regarding Photographer Diane Arbus. The front page on the B&W magazine, my local art museum (Portland, OR) has a show and a lecture on her. Plus lots of other galleries and art critiques pushing her.
I just read that Nicole Kidman is going to be the lead actor in a Diane Arbus bio movie.
Now, I'm wondering if this was all a fluke or has all this been by design by a media studio? Whats your thoughts?
 

Nicole

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Robert, that is interesting, but does it really matter? Please excuse my ignorance. Either way... I admire her wonderful work!!!
Publicity is always good and I look forward to seeing the movie - if the bio/film sticks to the truth without all the Hollywood hoohaa, which I'm so over.
 
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Actually, we should be thankful that a photographer - any photographer - is deemed of such importance to warrant a movie. I am looking forward to it and Nicole Kidman will do a good job, I'm sure. Next, I'm hoping for Dustin Hoffman to play Edward Weston.
 

noblebeast

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GaussianNoise said:
Has Diane Arbus ever been a stranger to the popular press?

Yeah, pretty much right up to the moment of her death. There's nothing quite like a controversial demise to suddenly make the press sit up and take notice.

Joe
 

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I'm a pop culture whore anyway but, I did see the exhibit in Lawrence Kansas and I was truly blown away.....
 

ann

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The press is certainly slow, she died a long time ago
 

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Diane Arbus was very well known in publishing before her death, and she had a MOMA show too, alongside Winogrand and Friedlander.

The movie deal is based on the unapproved biography.

The media attention is due to REVELATIONS going on tour after opening here in SF.

Also on deck: a Robert Capa biopic.
 

djklmnop

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Nicole Kidman is too "glamour glamour goodie tissue" to play Diane Arbus. I would expect someone more gritty. Charlize Theron did a great job with Monster. I bet she would be awesome for this role!
 

Bill Mitchell

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Diane Arbus came from a wealthy family. I wonder why she apparently always had severe financial problems.
 

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Bill Mitchell said:
Diane Arbus came from a wealthy family. I wonder why she apparently always had severe financial problems.

Good point Bill. Maybe all was not rosy in Camelot.

Please excuse my skepticism, but I'm one that never really thought that much of what she did. There's a good thread going right now on the LF Forum on photgraphic exploitation that touches on Arbus. IMO, she was highly exploitive of her subjects. What would she have been without the wealthy family and social connections? What was her motivation? To take photos of people her friends wouldn't even acknowledge existed and sell them as art? I wonder if the movie will explore those questions?

By the way, anyone remember the story behind her suicide? I don't and would be interested in hearing it.
 

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Me too. I never really 'got' her work. I didn't like looking at her images and I don't think that takes talent. A lot of people take pictures that I don't like to look at<g>.
Her and Robert Adams and Lee Friedlander and some of those other guys. Just don't get it.

I think Dustin Hoffman can only play himself, just like Al Pacino. I'd like to see John Malkovich play EW. Diane Keaton as CW? Or Susan Sarandon for the nudes!

-Mike
 

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Alex Hawley said:
Good point Bill. Maybe all was not rosy in Camelot.

Please excuse my skepticism, but I'm one that never really thought that much of what she did. There's a good thread going right now on the LF Forum on photgraphic exploitation that touches on Arbus. IMO, she was highly exploitive of her subjects. What would she have been without the wealthy family and social connections? What was her motivation? To take photos of people her friends wouldn't even acknowledge existed and sell them as art? I wonder if the movie will explore those questions?

By the way, anyone remember the story behind her suicide? I don't and would be interested in hearing it.
You guys need to read her bio to answer these questions. Also there was an excellent article about her in the New York Times a good while back that covered many of the questions you have asked.

Diane had high regard and empathy for her subjects and never regarded her photographs to be lurid or explotive. She took the time to point her camera at individuals that are often disregarded or over looked by society and photographers which showed a unique insight into their lives as well as our own.

What a photographer photographs tells us as much about the subject as it does about the photographer. What we see in photographs and how we react to them tell us much about ourselves. Arbus wasn't attempting to chronicle a collection of freaks or misfits. The fact that many of her photographs give us pause and make us a bit uncomfortable is a tribute to her personal vision and her sympathy with her subjects.

Susan Sontag wrote about Arbus' work in her book 'On Photography.' If you have not read it yet, it is worth reading not only to read about Diane's work but other photographers such as August Sander and Walker Evans. Two photographers that can also be accused of explotation of their subjects, though in reality that wasn't their aim at all.

What I find also interesting is the fact that she only used a TLR (a Rollei perhaps.) With it she had the freedom to manage her images and engage herself and the viewer with her subjects. Not having to manage equipment was a big plus in this regard. A result of this approach is that the prescence of the photographer is felt but not in an overt obvious way.

Don Bryant
 
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I'm not against Diane's work. I'm just so shocked by the big (Really big)publicity push going on? I was watching the CBS Sunday Morning program and they had a piece about Diane Arbus. It's like everywhere, I turn another Arbus article ad. It's a well organized campaign. Its covered the newsprint, the airwaves and other public communications.
What bothers me is the selling or Blasting into the pubilc of psyche. The hard sell always turns me off.
 

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Arbus used a Mamiya most of the time, along with a Nikon F. She carried a flash gun. Later she borrowed a Pentax 6x7 from Hiro and her anxiety about buying one was apparently prominent during her last few months. She and Alan did magazine work from the 1940's on, so I'm sure she was at least familiar with a lot of various gear. She was friends with Avedon, Marvin Israel of course, Lisette Model,others -- the core of the NYC photo scene at the time. And Walker Evans sent her work, and she adored Sanders.

People who complain about her being exploitative have usually, in my experience, seen only a half-dozen prints or less of her work, upon which they base this allegation. But Arbus was not exploiting people -- and unlike the viewer of the photograph, she was there with them, immediate and engaged. My own impression is that she was the super master of photographer-subject connection. There are dozens of stories about it.
 

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Those that are interested, I suggest Revelations. It's a big ass book that has a bunch of photos and biographical information about Arbus. One of the really neat things is that it also includes sketches, contact sheets, and polaroids.
 

donbga

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Robert8x10 said:
I'm not against Diane's work. I'm just so shocked by the big (Really big)publicity push going on? I was watching the CBS Sunday Morning program and they had a piece about Diane Arbus. It's like everywhere, I turn another Arbus article ad. It's a well organized campaign. Its covered the newsprint, the airwaves and other public communications.
What bothers me is the selling or Blasting into the pubilc of psyche. The hard sell always turns me off.
Robert,

Why are you shocked? She is recognized as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. Her recognition and promotion now is no worse or better than what has occured in the past with other seminal photogrphers such as Avedon or Adams.

Don Bryant
 

Lee Shively

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The current media interest has little to do with Diane Arbus' photography. It has to do with however they can sensationalize the subject matter and the artist for the "Fear Factor" audiences.

I've admired her work for a long time. The most worn book I own is the Arbus Aperture monograph. I don't read her work as being exploitation any more than Nachteway exploits war or Salgado exploits poverty or Adams exploited the national parks.
 

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The question was asked about her suicide. Without getting to graphic, she was found in a bathtub and had bled to death. She was found to have taken a good amount of barbituites. This was in 1971.

Although, not my favorite photographer, I admired the hell out her ability to become connected with people and photograph them.
 

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Nicole Kidman will be an excellent choice for this part. She is an avid, and good, photographer with a strong interest in historical photographers. Having met her at a Museum of Photographic Art dinner for Ruth Bernhart I have to say she is astounding in her knowledge of photographers of the 20th Century. I am looking forward to seeing her in this part.
Jim
 

papagene

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Isn't Nicole Kidman a little too tall to play Arbus, who was of small stature?
Concerning Arbus' suicide... she suffured from depression for many years. Her mother also had this affliction as well as her brother (I think).
If you haven't read her biography, some of her work may appear explotive. But she was an extemely shy person and to approach some of her subjects, she had to really dig deep to get the courage to do so.

gene
 
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