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This review is from: Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph (Hardcover)
Diane Arbus was a little like Nan Goldin in her way of focusing on marginalised people but they were not her friends and the scope is wider, taking in people who don't fit in to society for physical and identity-based reasons, as well as the extravagantly wealthy, and the very 'ordinary' in a few instances. You feel that the tone, while sympathetic, has some kind of ambiguity as well, allowing us to see, in the same image, the person's self-image and the way others might perceive them as well. There is a degree of delusion felt in the photos that makes them quite unique, and the two elements make looking at them a very intense experience and an unforgettable one - has any photographer said so much about humanity? In a world where the proliferation of images has made them largely throwaway, these have a permanence one might more readily associate with bronze sculpture - you feel they are part of the human picture indelibly, and ultimately a great affirmation of our humanity in all its strangeness and contradictions.