Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus is an extremely influential photographer to look at when discussing ‘The Other’ as she arguably, more than any other photographer really breaks the boundaries of what is ‘socially acceptable’ and the stereotypes of photographing individuals. Her now famous black-and-white photographs made supposedly normal people look like freaks and supposed freaks look altogether normal. She snapped middle-class families with the same truthful eye that she photographed dwarfs, nudists and transvestites. Through her portrayals of strange neighbors in the city she lived in and loved, Arbus captured the liminal space between appearance and reality.

I would love to explore ‘the other’ in my photography as I feel Arbus’s images are extremely interesting to look at. They really make the viewer think as they push moral boundaries by so explicitly revealing ‘the other’, something that we as individuals in the 21st century are not use to due to the bombardment of models etc.

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Arbus’ photos are most unsettling when they are the most ordinary, for the viewer feels ill at ease without knowing exactly why. One of her most well-known works, “Identical Twins,” presents two little girls in the same dress, one with a frown and the other a foreboding smile. They both seem to know something the viewer does not, which is likely why the disconcerting image was later reproduced in movies like “The Shining.”

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Diane Arbus

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