Analysis of Diane Arbus’ work

The piece of art under analysis for this paper is a portrait by DianeArbus called identical twins, taken in 1967. Diane Arbus was born asDiane Nemerov to Jewish parents living in New York on March 14, 1923(Arbus 23). Diane was born to a wealthy family but the greatdepression of 1930 took a toll on the family’s wealth. Her fatherwent from being a prominent businessperson to a painter. Her oldersiblings ventured into various fields of art for which they hadinterest. At the age of 18, she married her childhood sweetheart whoalso happened to have interest in photography. His name was AllanArbus. Together, they travelled to different art galleries takingpictures of whatever interested. Diane happened to be alive when theblack and white photography movement had taken over. The movementcreated more interest in photography.

Diane Arbus had a passion in taking the pictures of people who wereconsidered surreal and ugly during those ages (Arbus 34). ‘Identicaltwins’ was picture taken at the Christmas party for twins in theneighborhood. The twins were Cathleen and Colleen Wade. Everybody,including their parents, was amazed by their striking similarity.Another notable photograph by the artist displaying an unusualindividual is that of a Jewish Giant with his family. Other picturesthat Diane took include those of the disabled, mentally unstable, andstreet children. She began to take photos of freaks- as they werecalled during those ages- after her bitter divorce.

I choose to compare Diane’s work with mine because we both haveinterest in photography. Photography was a form of therapy to Dianeafter she went through a painful divorce. Photography is my solacewhenever I feel down. The serenity that comes with photography issimply appalling.

The subject matter of the portrait is the similarity of the identicaltwins and the fact that they are rare in the society. Therelationship between the artist and the portrait is that the artistis interested in surreal people in the society and the identicaltwins happen to fall in that category because they are a rareoccurrence. The artwork is related to its audience in that it cartersfor the interests of people who like to see pictures of unfamiliarhuman beings. Diane’s audience primarily comprises of people whofind interest in seeing other people with surreal features. Theportrait of the identical twins falls under the category of surrealhence attractive to such people.

A portrait to me is the type of photography that displays the mood,personality and expression of the subject (Leslie 38). I likeportrait photography because I can tell the mood of the subject eventhough I was not present during the shooting. I also use portraitphotography to tell the mood of my subjects when reviewing theirphotographs later. Portrait photography is also important in tellingthe personality of people we have never met before but have only seentheir photograph.

Light is a very important factor when portraying personality in blackand white photography. The HIGHLIGHT of a black and white portraitwill determine the personality of the subjects (Goldstone et al 476).For instance, minimizing the light and shadows could help portray aserious personality. Capturing the subjects in their natural state isalso important in portraying personality. Asking one’s subjects tosay ‘Cheese’ will not bring out the personality in the portrait.In order to portray the personality of my subjects through my images,I avoid the effect of CAST SHADOW. Cast shadow can have a negativeimpact on the LOCAL VALUE of the portrait in that it will increasethe ratio of darkness to light.

VALUE in Black and white portraits is important in determining thecharacteristic of the color of the subjects by comparing the degreeof light and darkness and how it is reflected on the color (Shalom176). TEXTURE on the other hand is important in distinguishing theminute details of black and white portraits. Texture creates moredetail in the portrait hence increasing its level of attractiveness.

When I transformed my photograph to a collage medium, the personalityof the subjects changed. The photograph portrayed the personality ofthe subjects to be jovial and fun- loving based on their facialexpressions. The DECORATIVE that enhances the attractiveness of thephoto changed in the collage medium. The SILHOUETTE is also lost inthe collage medium.

In conclusion, what inspires me about Diane’s work is that she wentout of her comfort zone to find people who were different in order totake photos of them. She also took time to interact with them beforetaking their photos. My goals and those of Diane are similar in thatwe both aspire to take masterpiece portraits. However, we differ inthat she concentrated on “freaks” while my interests are inpeople and nature. While taking the photograph, I used the techniqueof capturing my subjects in their natural state. The collage mediumis made of newspaper cutouts. The artwork relates to me in that it isa portrait and portraits are one of my interests. The artwork relatesto my audience by portraying the images of subjects in their naturalstate. The relationship between my artwork to the audience differsfrom that of Diane in that it appeals to many and not a narrowaudience.

Works Cited

Arbus, Diane. Diane Arbus. New York: Aperture, 1972.

Goldstone, Robert L., Franco Pestilli, and Katy Börner.&quotSelf-portraits of the brain: cognitive science, datavisualization, and communicating brain structure and function.&quotTrends in cognitive sciences 19.8 (2015): 462-474.

Marchand, Leslie. Byron: a portrait. Random House, 2013.

Schwartz, Shalom H. &quotValue orientations: Measurement,antecedents and consequences across nations.&quot Measuringattitudes cross-nationally: Lessons from the European Social Survey(2007): 161-193.