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Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph

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really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  15,147 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
When Diane Arbus died in 1971 at the age of 48, she was already a significant influence--even something of a legend--for serious photographers, although only a relatively small number of her most important pictures were widely known at the time. The publication of Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph in 1972--along with a posthumous retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art- ...more
Hardcover, 40th Anniversary Edition, 184 pages
Published September 30th 2011 by Aperture (first published January 1st 1972)
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Bob Carroll
Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, non-fiction
Disturbing, haunting, affecting ... genius. Diane Arbus forces us to look at people we'd rather not look at if given the choice, and to think about 'differentness' we'd rather not think about in polite society. Yet like a car wreck and resulting gaper's block we can't look away. These people, and yes they are people, are today's lepers, shunned and banished from the mainstream - or worse. Her photographs, straight-on and unblinking and in un-flattering light, expose and magnify the flaws, awkwar ...more
Stacie
Her subjects are often unusual (and many times nude). The intensity she captures in people's eyes is so powerful. You can't help but want to delve deeper, better understand their stories. From giants to little people, teen lovers to elderly nudists, the balance, curiosity, emotion, power that she depicts makes her one of the greats.

"For me the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture. And more complicated. I do have a feeling for the print but I don't have a holy feeling
...more
Vanessa
Nov 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
This is the 40th anniversary edition of a collection of Arbus's photos chosen after her death by her daughter Roon and her close friend Marvin Israel. The introduction is by Arbus herself, a pieced-together essay chosen from various sources including an interview with Studs Terkel and audio from a class she taught. The cobbled together origins explain why the text is interesting but fragmentary, yet it suits its subject-you can imagine Diane Arbus jumping from point to point in conversation as h ...more
Maureen
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have the original hardcover edition of this book, which I bought in 1972. Diane Arbus came to Atlanta a year or so before her death and gave a talk at Nexus a photographers' collective, if I remember correctly. Over the years, I have returned to this book time and again, always surprised by the images. The book itself is exceptionally well-made, with beautiful reproductions of the photographs. I saw some of the photographs from this book at an exhibit two years ago, and they and this book have ...more
Steven Miljavac
I have no doubt that Diane Arbus was a tremendously talented photographer. But this collection, and comparable collections by other influential photographers, seem to always have a few gems and then a bunch of filler that just look like simple snapshots. I guess you had to be there or something.
Amy Nicole
Diane Arbus takes pictures of very intriguing subjects, and about five of those pictures actually stand out in this collection. When she gets one of those stand out shots, it's really exceptional. There are some pictures that are striking and jarring and breathtaking.
The rest are just not my cup of tea. Technically, the pictures are over exposed and some are riddled with marks from film development. Others are not composed well and could have been excluded from the collection. I feel like a bo
...more
brian tanabe
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite knowledgeable on photography, but Arbus' work has always haunted me. This is a great monograph of her work. My 3 favorite pictures are: Child With a Toy Handgrenade in Central Park, Teenage Couple on Hudson Street, and A Jewish Giant At Home With His Parents in the Bronx.
Vika Vicky Victoria
This is my favorite photographer. Ever. Check out her work, and you will understand why.
Tristan Goding
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Freaks was a thing I photographed a lot. It was one of the first things I photographed and it had a terrific kind of excitement for me. I just used to adore them. I still do adore some of them. I don't quite mean they're my best friends but they made me feel a mixture of shame and awe. There's a quality of legend about freaks. Like a person in a fairy tale who stops you and demands that you answer a riddle. Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were bo ...more
Jodi Renshaw
I have such mixed feeling about this collection and the way it was published. Firstly, the opening remarks by Arbus are all over the place. There are gems to be sure. But most of her words here were collected in a scrambled way that made little sense at times.

As for the collection, I am torn between being grateful for her ambition to photograph people who were not typically seen and the thought that she seems to have taken advantage of her subjects ... showing them in the harshest of light and
...more
Grace Kao
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sure, we’re gonna count this as “read” because I’m so woefully behind on my reading goals. This book is mainly one conversational essay with Arbus in the beginning and the rest is a photo essay. Many have argued over her choice of subjects, finding her work discomfortingly voyeuristic, but I find that Arbus seems to approach her subjects with generosity and respect. I’m actually eager to read a little more about her life and have picked up a biography as well.
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Diane Arbus looked for life on the fringe. The quality of her photos is unquestionably superior, but her subject matter makes one feel as though they have entered a strange dream. This book is comprised of children with Downs Syndrome, transvestites, and members of a nudist colony. Arbus sought out a side to our reality that most ignore. I believe it was her intention to call the marginalized to our attention.
Yoana
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Yoana by: The Met Breuer
I've never read anything quite like this. Her words sound like they come from an experience that's simultaneously wholly new and peculiar and intimately familiar to me. And it made me excited to start looking through the photos.
Manuel
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: valokuva
Amazing portraits that tell many stories. It is amazing how Diane Arbus manages to master basic rules in order to break them and get really impactful shots.
Jessica
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: Goodreads
Shelves: art
"I don't particularly like dogs. Well, I love stray dogs, dogs who don't like people. And that's the kind of dog picture I would take if I ever took a dog picture."

I think this quote from Arbus sums up her photography. Pictures of people who are/were outcasts. People who you are curious about but social convention doesn't allow you to look at too long. The photographs allow you to linger and to grasp their uniqueness. Arbus' humanity shines through.

Valie
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography
I bought this book in the 1980s in Stuttgart. I found it in a small bookshop and was immediately fascinated - I was a teenager and had no idea about fine art photography but Arbus's photo immediately spoke to me - the freaks, misfits and outsiders. As a teenager I felt like one myself so could relate. Or maybe I felt relieved that there are people out there even stranger than myself. I guess it depends on how charitable I feel towards myself.
Susan
Dec 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: photography lovers, artists, people interested in the second and third layers
Shelves: artsy
I love Dian Arbus photographs. They take what people are afraid to look at and look at them hard. Look at them deep. And you end up with these photographs that make you rethink how you see the world and how you define yourself. Her photographs of mentally challenged people in dance attire on a lawn make me cry, they are so tender, they make me proud to be human which so often, considering our species, I am not.
David Ward
Feb 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Diane Arbus: Monograph by Diane Arbus (Aperture 2005) (770.92). Diane Arbus was a brilliant photographer. She made the viewer look at things he would rather not see. This is a selection of her best photos chosen shortly after her death. The book includes portions of an interview with the photographer as well as some other personal information, but the photos are what make this book shine. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 2007.
Ray Dunsmore
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have a strong love for the outcasts and the disintegrating parts of society. The people and the places that seem like they're about to fall apart at any moment but somehow manage to make it through their lives. That's the thing I love about Arbus, she took the sects of society that nobody wanted to think about and immortalized them in her art. She was a true master of her craft and she really had an eye for the odd.
Susan
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: photographers, people who like freaks
Her photographs are incredible! I love her so much, I'm sad I haven't heard of her until recently (the wacky/awesome movie "Fur" introduced me, it's loosely based on her life). The intro isn't very long, but so much insight into photography is packed into it that it's worth the price of admission alone.
Paula
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview of many of Diane Arbus's key photographs - such as the twins, the Jewish Giant, and the nudist colony photos. After reading this for a second time, and now being more familiar with her work, I enjoyed it a lot more.
Patricia
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's interesting how Arbus managed to capture "normal" and "uncomfortable" in one frame. I'm sure many of her images were even more disturbing back in the 60s and 70s when we weren't used to images of transvestites, nudists, etc.
S.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, women-writers
People are crazy about Diane Arbus and I like her but I'm not crazy about her. Still, as portraiture, she's very interesting. The twins on the cover are among the fabulous, and surely are what expired the Redrum twins in "The Shining."
JZ
Oct 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came to me as an introduction to photographs that were not pretty, nor scenic nor family celebrations, which were all I knew at the time. Quite the eye-opener for me, and an influence on my early b/w photographs. I have the edition printed in 1972, shortly after her death.
Reza
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in photography
Shelves: photography
I first caught a glimpse of this book in a high school english class. I immediately fell in love with it. Love all of her portraits. Eventually I hunted down a copy for my own collection. She has an uncanny ability of making things that are not considered conventionally beautiful beautiful.
Jil
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: portraiture studs
Along with Avedon (who helped edit this book!), one of the Best Portraitists Ever - fascinating subject matter and well-composed; the beginning of the book is quotes from her papers and lectures and it's all interesting and well-worth reading. 100% pro-Arbus.
David Haugen
Jul 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ow! It hurts just thinking about it!
Yarrow
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-books
I went to the exhibit years back- Something about Arbus moves me. The way she captured beauty in untapped places.
Cheryl Schibley
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
My favorite photograph memior. The biography of Diane Arbus is excellent also. She took these pictures which were scandalous in the 60's.
Jeremy Patterson
Sep 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The thing that's important to know is that you never know. You're always sort of feeling your way."
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Diane Arbus was an American photographer, noted for her portraits of people on the fringes of society, such as transvestites, dwarfs, giants, prostitutes, and ordinary citizens in unconventional poses and settings.

Arbus' early work was created using 35mm cameras, but by the 1960s Arbus adopted the Rolleiflex medium format twin-lens reflex. This format provided a square aspect ratio, higher image r
...more
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“Freaks was a thing I photographed a lot. It was one of the first things I photographed and it had a terrific kind of excitement for me. I just used to adore them. I still do adore some of them. I don't quite mean they're my best friends but they made me feel a mixture of shame and awe. There's a quality of legend about freaks. Like a person in a fairy tale who stops you and demands that you riddle. Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats.” 2 likes
“It gets to seem as if way back in the Garden of Eden after the Fall, Adam and Eve had begged the Lord to forgive them and He, in his boundless exasperation had said, "All right, then. Stay. Stay in the Garden. Get civilized. Procreate. Muck it up." And they did.” 1 likes
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