Diane Arbus – 1923-1971

by richibi

     Diane Arbus, Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J.

                                    “Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J.“, 1967
 
                                                        Diane Arbus  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1923 -1971
                               
                                                          _______
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      with the camera the shutter becomes the brush, the art only a click away, the artistry, the creativity, debatable
 
where is the skill, the ingenuity, indeed the art
 
the snapshot is a picture of an imagination taken on the spot, the art must be in the very brain, not in, as one would expect, the dextrous fingers, the articulation, the prestidigitation, must be already sorted out, already calibrated, technical prowess not required, just able, artful observation
 
the shutter will do the rest
 
can a point of view then, a take, one will reasonably inquire, be art

 
Diane Arbus had been a fashion photographer, gave it up for something, it would appear, more meaningful, became thereby, in my estimation, unforgettable, broke down for me reservations about photography as art 
 
witness
 
Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J., 1967, is not about these twins, these unexceptional twins – otherwise merely a portrait, an indifferent even portrait – but about something much more relevant
 
two little girls in black and white – though this may be itself the kind of photography – look straight into the camera, you look to tell them apart
 
their little dress adorned by each the same white ruffle at the collar, recalling incidentally the Reformation Dutch, a witty touch, give no clue, they could be matching dolls, flat cut-outs, for that matter, given the minimal use of perspective
 
a matching hair band, the same hair, the same nose, the same mouth, don’t either, the eyes do but only just 

they tell though the entire story, their different light, their different incandescence, though even ever so slight, though ever even so elusive, is what finally tells them apart 

but the focus has switched, you’re observing something now immaterial, incorporeal, insubstantial, become simultaneously something mystical, metaphysical, transcendental, some might call God  
 
Michelangelo’s did the same thing for Adam, another much wittier art history touch

 
two other girls, “Untitled“, 1970-71, speak even more clearly perhaps about this 
 
note the angel come through in the girl on the left, in all its magnificent splendour

   

                                           Untitled“, 1970-71
 
                                                   Diane Arbus 

                                                   1923 -1971
                                                 
                                                      _______

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Diane Arbus committed suicide on July 26, 1971, undoubtedly
undone by what she’d sought to witness, perhaps the too bright light
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     psst: why is it that those who are “Untitled” would never think of taking their own life, perhaps they’ve been blessed with an extra measure of courage

                                                                           

                                                                  

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