Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus Quotes

  • ''I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do—that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse.''
    Diane Arbus (1923-1971), U.S. photographer. As quoted in On Photography, ch. 1, by Susan Sontag (1977). Arbus was known for rather emotionless, objectifying photographs of people who were physically abnormal or somehow grotesque; her style was sometimes described as voyeuristic.
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  • ''It gets to seem as if way back in the Garden of Eden after the Fall, Adam and Eve had begged the Lord to forgive them and He, in his boundless exasperation, had said, "All right, then. Stay. Stay in the Garden. Get civilized. Procreate. Muck it up." And they did.''
    Diane Arbus (1923-1971), U.S. photographer. Remarks on a nudist camp, from classes given in 1971. Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph (1972).
  • ''There's a quality of legend about freaks. Like a person in a fairy tale who stops you and demands that you answer a riddle. Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats.''
    Diane Arbus (1923-1971), U.S. photographer. Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph (1972). From class lectures given in 1971.
  • ''A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.''
    Diane Arbus (1923-1971), U.S. photographer. Quoted in Patricia Bosworth, Diane Arbus: A Biography, Preface (1985).

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