Quote of the Week by Diane Arbus


“Some pictures are tentative forays without your even knowing it. They become methods. It’s important to take bad pictures. It’s the bad ones that have to do with what you’ve never done before. They can make you recognize something you hadn’t seen in a way that will make you recognize it when you see it again.” —Diane Arbus (1923 -1971)

Diane Arbus was an American photographer best known for her intimate black-and-white portraits. Arbus often photographed people on the fringes of society. She was raised in a wealthy family, which enabled her to pursue artistic interests from an early age. She first saw the photographs of Mathew Brady, Paul Strand, and Eugène Atget while visiting Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery with her husband Allan Arbus in 1941. During the mid-1940s, the married couple began a commercial photography venture that contributed to Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Burned out on commercial work by the 1950s, Arbus began roaming the streets of New York with her camera, documenting the city through its citizens. These images were later shown alongside those of Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander in The Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition “New Documents” (1967). Having struggled with depressive episodes throughout her life, Arbus died by suicide in 1971 at the age of 48. In 1972, a year after her death, the first major retrospective of Arbus’ work took place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Today, her works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.