“I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do – that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse.” Diane Arbus
In this first major retrospective in France, Jeu de Paume will be presenting a selection of 200 photographs that explore the origins, scope and aspirations of Arbus’ photography.
The exhibition, up until February 5th 2012, showcases Diane Arbus unusual anthropology of contemporary life: photographs on display include a lot of her iconic pictures but also some that you’ve probably not seen before, like the portrait of Jorges Luis Borges in Central Park or the one of Susan Sontag sitting on her bed; but celebrities are not exactly what interested her; Arbus was fascinated by the margins of society, by the outcasts: she loved the unusual, the ugly, freaks, transvestites, twins, couples, children, mentally handicapped people, nudists, middle-class families, eccentrics and lost creatures.
Arbus is showing them in their fragility, their vulnerability and struggle.
Arbus committed suicide at the age of 48. Probably she had just seen too much. She had looked into the souls of those she had photographed. And probably too deeply.Emanuela Virago on 12.28.11