Postcard Of A Painting – April Edition

Today I want to look at the work of one of my fave photographers Diane Arbus, the daughter of wealthy New York department store owners who would show the world the lives they often couldn’t see, Arbus would abandon commercial fashion and lifestyle photography to follow her passion for reportage.

“I do feel I have some slight corner on something about the quality of things. I mean it’s very subtle and a little embarrassing to me, but I really believe there are things which nobody would see unless I photographed them.”

I love Arbus for her ability to peer into the world around her and create pieces that were original and beautiful, she always feared that she would become known purely as “a photographer of freaks” however her work shows much more than that, the documenting of life from dance halls to tea in sitting rooms.

“My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been”

Generally framed in a square shot, though not always, she produced vignettes of sub culture and the oddities of life that we miss, continuing the line of photographers using art to document life that stretched from Brandt and Bresson into the modern day with Parr and many more.

“Our whole guise is like giving a sign to the world to think of us in a certain way but there’s a point between what you want people to know about you and what you can’t help people knowing about you. And that has to do with what I’ve always called the gap between intention and effect.”

Full retrospectives of her work have been difficult, Arbus committed suicide in 1971 at the age of 48, her family have since controlled use of images very tightly and whole folios of images have been withdrawn from show, however the legacy she left behind has lived on in her influence on a whole medium.

For me she remains however one of the great American artists who should be celebrated as much a Georgia O’Keefe, Jasper Johns, or Andy Warhol.













About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments


  1. I saw an exhibition of her work at the Nottingham Contemporary a few years ago. Her pictures haunt me, especially that little boy and the twin girls with theatre mask type expressions. At the Nottingham exhibition they chose to show her photographs from the institutions (of children with Down’s syndrome for example) in a separate room, the context of her subjects was a fascinating insight into perceptions of the time.

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