In honor of Diane Arbus' 90th birthday, we are revisiting a post originally published last year honoring the late photographer's life and work.
There's no denying that Diane Arbus was born into a creative family. Her father would later become a painter while her sister a sculptor and her brother a United States Poet Laureate, but Diane Nemerov would make the biggest splash with her controversial career in photography. "Giving a camera to Diane Arbus," Norman Mailer once famously said, "is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child."
Indeed, Arbus' style became incendiary after finally leaving the world of fashion photography after years of being unsatisfied, photographing "freaks" and outsiders. Her signature square-cropped images were second in importance only to the way in which she dealt with her subjects. Arbus was known for establishing close relationships, even checking in from time to time and photographing people again later in life.
A year after taking her own life in 1971 at the age of 48, Arbus became the first American photographer to be exhibited the Venice Biennale, making a huge impact on the global scene. Arbus' distinct style and uncompromising approach to subjects ignored by the mainstream made her an icon of emerging photographic styles, paving the way for free spirits like Nan Goldin and Dash Snow to practice their own forms of photographic exploration.
Happy Birthday, Ms. Arbus. You are missed.
All images in the slideshow below are courtesy of Fotomuseum Winterthur.