Photography and Diane Arbus Essay

Submitted By declanwilliams
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Comparison of Diane Arbus and Robert Capa

Diane Arbus and Robert Capa share desired and favoured elements in photography, with either photographing the world in a different light, reality as seen through their eyes and lens. Robert Capa, whom was a war time photographer, differed from the mainstream photography of the time, which was more centred around propaganda; troops in uniform, marches, frames of leaders and heroes. Capa was more a realist, he shot a more gritty and violent battle, targeting individuals rather than battlefields, to convey a sense of loneliness within war, his photo 'The Falling Solider', perfectly illustrates this, with a lone soldier, evidently falling to his death, being surrounded by nothing but sky and sand. Diane Arbus shares a similar ideology in photography, she looked at non exposed areas of society, exploited, yes, but not exposed. She photographed freaks, some calling her a voyeur of some sort, regardless, her photos of such expertise as the photograph of Eddie Carmel, a black haze surrounding the ceiling, implying a sense of entrapment for this young giant. Arbus was always quick to find a gritty underlying to her surroundings, she too captured this sense through targeting individuals, rather than a collection of people, through this, she expressed a sense of isolation.

Diane Arbus was born into relative riches, she was the daughter of a successful store owner, from an early age she took interest in photography. Early in her career, she mostly shot for glamour magazines, which she despised. As the world was coming out of WW2, the rise of liberalism sieged the Western World, the Beatles took hold of popular charts, the hippy movement began and freedom was to prevail against the East’s oppression. With this, people began to think differently, new forms of art were embraced and thus Diane Arbus began her venture. She would take photographs that either reflected symbolic messages or exposed and gave voice to a forgotten people. The symbolism can be seen in her photograph Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, the frame shows a boy holding a hand grenade, looking almost psychopathic and tense. The image reflects the Vietnamese conflict, and the message of children caught in the conflict, the exasperated young boy shows the tension within the youth of the world now caught in war. Arbus moved to the ‘freaks’, of which she arguably gave the scrutinised members of the ‘freak’ community a voice, through black and white stills, taken with a 35mm Nikon camera, that only produced square images. This was somewhat a trademark…