When Diane Arbus died in 1971 at the age of 48, she was already a significant influence—even something of a legend—for serious photographers, although only a relatively small number of her most important pictures were widely known at the time. The publication of Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph in 1972—along with the posthumous retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art—offered the general public its first encounter with the breadth and power of her achievements. The response was unprecedented. The monograph, composed of 80 photographs, was edited and designed by the painter Marvin Israel, Diane Arbus' friend and colleague, and by her daughter Doon Arbus. Their goal in producing the book was to remain as faithful as possible to the standards by which Arbus judged her own work and to the ways in which she hoped it would be seen. Universally acknowledged as a photobook classic, Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph is a timeless masterpiece with editions in five languages, and remains the foundation of her international reputation. A quarter of a century has done nothing to diminish the riveting impact of these pictures or the controversy they inspire. Arbus' photographs penetrate the psyche with all the force of a personal encounter and, in doing so, transform the way we see the world and the people in it.
Diane Arbus (1923–1971) revolutionized the terms of the art she practiced. Five volumes of her work have been published posthumously and have remained continuously in print: Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph (1972), Diane Arbus: Magazine Work (1984), Untitled: Diane Arbus (1995), Diane Arbus: A Chronology (2011), and Diane Arbus Revelations (Random House, 2003).
Confronting a major photograph by Arbus, you lose your ability to know―or distinctly to think or feel, and certainly to judge―anything. She turned picture-making inside out. She didn’t gaze at her subjects; she induced them to gaze at her. Selected for their powers of strangeness and confidence, they burst through the camera lens with a presence so intense that whatever attitude she or you or anyone might take toward them disintegrates…You may feel, crazily, that you have never really seen a photograph before. –Peter Schjeldahl The New Yorker
Anniversary edition (Sept. 30 2011)
24.38 x 2.03 x 28.7 cm