Patricia Bosworth Diane Arbus: A Biography

ISBN 13: 9780394504049

Diane Arbus: A Biography

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9780394504049: Diane Arbus: A Biography
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Diane Arbus's startling photographic images of dwarfs, twins, transvestites, and freaks seemed from the first to redefine both the normal and the abnormal in our lives; they were already becoming part of the iconography of the age when Arbus committed suicide in 1971. Arbus herself remained an enigma until the publication of this first full biography. Patricia Bosworth examines the life behind the eerie, mesmerizing photographs: Diane's pampered childhood; her passionate marriage to Allan Arbus and their work together as fashion photographers during the fifties; the emotional upheaval surrounding the end of that marriage; and the radically dark, liberating, and ultimately tragic turn Diane's art took during the sixties. Bosworth's engrossing book is a compassionate portrait of the woman behind some of the most powerful photographs of our time.

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Review:

Opportunities for sensationalism abound in a book about Arbus, who already had a history of severe depressions and a crumbling marriage by the time she began to take the controversial, technically innovative pictures of dwarfs, nudists and drag queens that won her a reputation as "a photographer of freaks." Bosworth balances the lurid details -- rumors that Arbus had sex with her subjects, that she photographed her own suicide in 1971 -- with a nuanced appraisal of an artist whose images captured the uneasy mood of the 1960s by expressing her personal obsessions.

About the Author:

Patricia Bosworth is the author of biographies of Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando. She is a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and has taught writing at Columbia University. She lives in New York.

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