Sunday, July 09, 2006

Diane Arbus Show (at the Walker in Minneapolis)

On vacation with my family last week I was able to see a great photography show (for free)! Diane Arbus was a prominent fashion photographer who worked for magazines like Harper's in the 50s. Later, she developed a singular portrait style by having her subjects look directly at the camera. She became interested in fringe communities—especially circus performers and insane asylum inmates. Arbus committed suicide in 1971.

At the exhibit, one photo so arrested my attention that I couldn't move on for several minutes.

Both disturbing and enthralling, I think the boy for me embodies a kind of dissastisfaction with the world. I have always been fascinated with dystopian children, not necessarily abused or neglected (Arbus photographed the children of the wealthy in New York), but ones that seem unable to enjoy childhood. Why does this happen? It is a small part of the problem of evil, but one that troubles me from time to time. This picture also seems especially relevant given current dissastisfaction with war in our country and and the fanaticism that started it. I recommend the show, which is currently at the Walker

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