Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer

Diane Arbus Portrait of a Photographer The definitive biography of the beguiling Diane Arbus one of the most influential and important photographers of the twentieth century a brilliant and absorbing exposition that links the extraordina

  • Title: Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer
  • Author: Arthur Lubow
  • ISBN: 9780062234322
  • Page: 371
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The definitive biography of the beguiling Diane Arbus, one of the most influential and important photographers of the twentieth century, a brilliant and absorbing exposition that links the extraordinary arc of her life to her iconic photographsDiane Arbus Portrait of a Photographer brings into focus with vividness and immediacy one of the great American artists of the tweThe definitive biography of the beguiling Diane Arbus, one of the most influential and important photographers of the twentieth century, a brilliant and absorbing exposition that links the extraordinary arc of her life to her iconic photographsDiane Arbus Portrait of a Photographer brings into focus with vividness and immediacy one of the great American artists of the twentieth century Arbus comes startlingly to life on these pages, a strong minded child of disconcerting originality who grew into a formidable photographer of unflinching courage Arbus forged an intimacy with her subjects that has inspired generations of artists Arresting, unsettling, and poignant, her photographs stick in our minds Why did these people fascinate her And what was it about her that captivated them It is impossible to understand the transfixing power of Arbus s photographs without exploring her life Lubow draws on exclusive interviews with Arbus s friends, lovers, and colleagues on previously unknown letters and on his own profound critical insights into photography to explore Arbus s unique perspective and to reveal important aspects of her life that were previously unknown or unsubstantiated He deftly traces Arbus s development from a wealthy, sexually precocious free spirit into first, a successful New York fashion photographer and then, a singular artist who coaxed secrets from her subjects Lubow reveals that Arbus s profound need not only to see her subjects but to be seen by them drove her to forge unusually close bonds with these people, helping her discover the fantasies, pain, and heroism within each of them, and leading her to create a new kind of photographic portraiture charged with an unnerving complicity between the subject and the viewer.Diane Arbus Portrait of a Photographer brushes aside the clich s that have long surrounded Arbus and her work It is a magnificently absorbing biography of this unique, hugely influential artist.

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    1 thought on “Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer”

    1. Arthur Lubow has devoted a considerable portion of his life to this book. The well documented details are so thorough that it seems there is not too much left to know. A sad and needy life is portrayed. It began in the home with a depressed mother and distant father. She sought comfort in her brother and this behavior was replicated throughout her life. Lubow documents this in several ways, one of which was shocking to me: Helen Boigon, her psychiatrist. I guess confidentiality does not extend b [...]

    2. Brilliant is a word that aptly describes both Diane Arbus and this bio of her life. I can't begin to imagine the amount of dedication and time Arthur Lubow must have put into researching this book because the detailed account of her life from childhood to its' tragic ending is absolutely mind blowing. A book anyone interested in, not only Arbus, but photography itself, should take the time to read.

    3. This is quite an incredible book. Lubow spent a decade on this book after writing an article about Diane Arbus in the New York Times Sunday magazine. The sheer amount of research and reporting that went into this book is amazing and he provides incredible detail on her relationships with her family, husband, lovers and friends. There was a good Arbus biography that was published in 1984 by Patricia Bosworth, which I think is highly rated. I have not read it and I can not tell you the differences [...]

    4. Not a review of the book itself, which is highly researched, very well-written, all that. Just for my own personal referenceI didn't like Arbus herself. I know she's sensitive and beguiling and brilliant and all that but by the time I'd gotten halfway through she was still nothing more than a selfish, self-absorbed b-hole. Couldn't get any farther.

    5. An extension of Bosworth's excellent biography. Will probably go down as the go to reference for all things Arbus. I can't decide if I like this book because it's about Arbus or because it's good. Either way it's a winner.

    6. Arthur Lubow's biography is the most thorough one of Diane Arbus to date. While crediting Patricia Bosworth's 1984 biography for its valuable original information, his is almost three hundred pages longer.One of the reasons is because archives and information have been released since Bosworth wrote her biography. Lubow took over a decade to write his biography and he had access to many people who were personal friends with Arbus. These friends have also since passed away which may be why Lubow's [...]

    7. Groan--600 pages about a woman who in life must have been a drain on anyone she chose to attach herself to or who felt inclined to be involved with. She is the second prominent New Yorker of Russian Jewish heritage who had no problem with incest--in her case, her brother, in the case of Stella Adler, her father! Throughout her life, from the earliest days of her life it would seem, this woman for whatever reason either felt unappreciated, because of lack of praise or because what praise she rece [...]

    8. Biographies are worth reading when they teach something — otherwise, all we're doing is gawking at the aftermath of someone's life. What this book teaches is useful, though disturbing: vampires are real, though not of the blood-sucking variety, and they tend to flock together.As for the book itself: it could have been made less tedious with an editor's axe; the research that lies behind it, however, was well done.

    9. Why do people including myself have a fascination with the troubled artists, especially those who commit suicide? Diane was a troubled person who made haunting photographs of people on the margins of society,eg. midgets,nudist, sideshow people. The photos made her reputation. She sought out these people because whatever she was seeking wasn't within "normal society". The question Lubow didn't answer for me, which may not have an answer, is whether she was after danger or some kind of truth. Ofte [...]

    10. "The Latin root of secret is the verb 'secretus,' meaning to separate or distinguish, to sift apart. Or to put it another way, to find difference. This is Arbus' power–what she could see, or perhaps more accurately, what she could protect–through her pictures. Her photographs unknot the concept of unity. "She was looking for the opposite," Lubow argues, "a seam that was designed to be hidden, a disparity between two things (or people) that were thought to be identical, 'a gap,' as she put it [...]

    11. This has been called an extension of the Bosworth biography of Arbus which I personally own. I prefered that bio because it was so much more personal. This one is quiet detached even tho Arbus influences are quite interesting ( wee Gee being one and her ex husband marrying the mousy schoolteacher from the Waltons is another interesting fact. The photos are discussed but yet there are no visuals. Another interesting bit of trivia the creepy twins from The Shining were inspired by an Arbus photo.

    12. Well written, thoroughly researched, but I'm not sure if I like any of these people. Which is disappointing, because I enjoy a great deal of Arbus' photography. Her depictions of individuals with intellectual disabilities have always struck me as cold-hearted, though--I've questioned her connection to and empathy for those models. 300 pages in to this book, I'm wondering if she was capable of empathy for anyone, actually.

    13. Wow, what an incredible life. Even though the chapters were shot and bite sized, it took me a solid month to read. Every bit was interesting and engaging. I felt like we are so unalike in personality but as an artist I felt so guided and understood by her. A very cool book and what seemed like a labor of love by the author. Here are some of my favorite excerpts: "She participated in the murder of moments, sometimes with her camera, at other times merely with her talk." pg 117"At this stage in he [...]

    14. I suspect this will end up being the definitive biography of Diane Arbus. I was sooo excited when I saw that this had been released and somehow got lucky enough to reserve a copy from my library. I began devouring it the second I got it and did not stop til I finished. It's exhaustive and very well researched with a lot more information on Diane's photographic techniques and preferences than any other book I have read on Diane, besides the writing her daughter Doon has done to accompany her phot [...]

    15. I loved it! Lubow provides at once a thorough, unflinching peek into Arbus' inner life as presented through the words of those who knew her best and a grand appreciation for her unique perspective on the world through the products of her craft. Are there any more biographies by this guy? Because I would love to read them.

    16. Best bio, best book, I've read in a long time, beautifully written and flawlessly researched, blissfully free of politics (PUBLISHERS take note). I am unfamiliar with the author, but I admire how he refrains from interjecting himself into the story. Accolades to Arthur Lubow, well done, very impressive.

    17. Excellent book very well researched for 12 years and sensitive analysis of this very strange woman who became a photographer of renown. The book discusses Diane Arbus as a person and her family and the men in her life (and women) and her children. It is also about the burgeoning of photography as an art and specifically this is street photography and portraiture. Simply said for me this is a story of a tragedy. How did it happen that this young woman lacked a Self? She never fully developed and [...]

    18. What a superbly researched book. Author really dug deep into subject's life (going as far as reviewing audiotape of photography class she gave just before her death). I also liked structure of book: short chapters which turned into verbal snapshots of Diane's life. Inspire of some tawdry aspects of her messy personal life, the author avoided being judgmental, kind of like a photographer. The lack of access to her photos was no impediment - the brief verbal descriptions of her iconic photos were [...]

    19. A fascinating look at the photographer, but I felt was lacking in visuals of her actual work. I'm fairly familiar with her work, but still found myself looking up images as I was reading because the descriptions simply wouldn't do!Overall, I can tell this is a very well-researched biography. However, I personally had a hard time getting through this book because I find Diane Arbus a very difficult person to read about. She seemed to have a rather awful, unhappy life, and sometimes the depth to w [...]

    20. This is an outstanding piece of work; and enjoyable to read as well. Had read the Bosworth bio years ago, and that by comparison comes off as a 15-second mis-representational advert. Happily read whatever Lubow is working on next.As both a photographer and one who has struggled with depression I connected with Lubow's analysis; his original research pulls the gloss off of the earlier misrepresentations of the artist and her work. Similar to Caro's LBJ, wherein author is up to the task of represe [...]

    21. Devastating, what a life she led. It's sad to think how much she had to struggle to keep a float for her art, but even when she had to compromise in the jobs she took she wisely chose to forgo credit managing to curate her body of work even the commercial work.A true genius and a wild woman to say the least- the incest! the orgies! the nudist camps! There was a chilling similarity to the life of author/writer Dare Wright and each had a tragic end one leaving to soon and the other waiting to long [...]

    22. Whew. This is a great biography; Diane Arbus is a compelling and sometimes infuriating figure who made incredible art, and she came to a sad end. Worth a read for fans of her work (I am), though I found it almost oppressively detailed and was only able to stomach a chapter or two at a time. Lubow is an empathetic, narratively propulsive writer and he clearly has a lot of affection for his subject.

    23. Someone wrote, "the definitive biography on Arbus." I wouldn't go that far. Many good biographies have been written about Diane Arbus, and that's the problem, for me. What is truly left to be said about her or her work unless a missing diary or cache of previously unseen photographs are unearthed. She's been written about and researched to deathd beyond. Nonetheless, I read the book, and I learned nothing that I didn't already know about her.

    24. Very well written. But it was very difficult to read about such an awfully disturbed person from a disturbed family. The book suffers somewhat by describing in detail photos you can't see. Some are iconic and we've all seen them; others are not. Also, there are no clear dates --like the date of her death! Someone at the publishing house should have caught that.

    25. Really loved getting to know Arbus-- her insights, empathy for others, and openness to the world-- especially after seeing her exhibit. I had wished that this biography was more personal and textured allowing the reader to feel so deeply the wayArbus did.

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