Diane Arbus

Arbus, Diane (ärˈbəs) [key], 1923–71, American photographer, b. New York City. For nearly 20 years Arbus operated a successful fashion photography studio with her husband. She studied with Lisette Model and began, in the late 1950s, to make the intimate and powerful visual record of life on the freakish margins of society, for which she became renowned. Her empathetic acceptance of what she saw set her work apart and gave her access to the usually unapproachable: transvestites, dwarves, prostitutes, nudists, and the everyday ugly. She died a suicide at 48. One of the most acclaimed and influential American photographers of the latter 20th cent., Arbus was the sister of the poet Howard Nemerov.

See biography by P. Bosworth (1984); aperture monograph, Diane Arbus (1972); Doon Arbus, ed., Diane Arbus, Magazine Work (1984), Untitled: Diane Arbus (1995), Diane Arbus Revelations (2003); A. W. Lee and J. Pultz, Diane Arbus: Family Albums (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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