When scrolling through our reading list I noticed a link related to a photographer I had heard of but never bothered to explore their work. The link directed me to a page with information about an exhibit of Diane Arbus’ work in Kirkcaldy. With a free weekend I decided to take a look.
When walking around I noticed in most of the photographs the subjects were very candid. The ones that were not seemed to be in contrast, up close and posed but in a way that wasn’t false. The subjects looked genuine. It seems as though Arbus captures a vulnerability in that one shot. They looked as though they were looking right into your eyes and asking for a piece of you back.
I feel that through her photography she challenges the concepts of identity and beauty. Some photos were completely unflattering, but to me that’s life. They are probably truer representations of that person than a glossed up, edited and posed photo would be.
I feel she raises a very startling issue with her subjects and technique. By photographing unusual characters and in a genuine way she promoted individuality and unique identity. Today all we see plastered over billboards are images of perfect blondes in bikinis advertising Tom Ford or some other fashion label. Even brands like coca-cola know that by using pretty people in their ads they will get more attention. I personally feel that these images and promotions are about as real as the tooth fairy. I want more personality and identity in the images I see every day. I want to look at a photograph and feel curious about the subjects life. I don’t want to be surrounded by mass produced identities and ideas.