On Sunday I visited the Jeu de Paume in the Tuileries on the final day of the Diane Arbus exhibit. I had tried once before to attend with a friend, but we made the mistake of not expecting a line on an evening that was free for students and would never have made it in before closing. Lesson learned. On Sunday I arrived with plenty of time and dutifully stood in line to make it in for the last day of the exhibit. The exhibit consisted of a fascinating collection of 200 of her photographs, both famous and relatively obscure, as well as some description of her life and the chronology of her work. As I have just started taking a beginner's photography course, I was very curious to get a good and close up look at the composition, lighting, and techniques she used in her photographs. However, her subject material is, of course, a major part of what makes her work so intriguing. Her subjects included everything from young families, to transvestites, to aging beauty queens, to circus performers, to war veterans, all shot with a beautiful honesty and clarity. In her own words:
They are proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back, they'll still be there looking at you.
- Diane Arbus
Here are some of my favourite images from the exhibition:
A Family on Their Lawn One Sunday in Westchester, N.Y. 1968
Mother Holding her Child, N.J.,1967
Child in a Nightgown, Wellfleet, Mass., 1957
The King And Queen Of A Senior Citizens Dance, NYC, 1970