A 16x20 print of this photograph (image area 14.5x14.5 inches), printed by Neil Selkirk in an edition of 75 in 1972, is being offered in the current Artnet auction. There have been three bids so far, to $92, 500, which does not meet the reserve. The estimate is $100,000–150,000 and there are 6 days, 17 hours, and seven minutes left in the auction as I write this.
The filmstrips are out of order. The first frame is the bottom picture of the middle row, going up from there, then to the lower left and going up from there, and finally the lower right and up from there. The famous photograph, at the upper left on the contact sheet, is the eighth shot on this roll.
The Aperture monograph—somewhat curiously, to my mind—has never been out of print and is one of the great evergreen bestsellers amongst all photobooks.
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Featured Comments from:
stanleyk: "I can highly recommend Arthur Lubow's Diane Arbus Portrait of a Photographer biography. He actually interviews the person in this photograph. There are also a lot of interesting technical points made in the book. One of the ones I found fascinating was when she felt like other photographers were copying the dark frames on her photos she started using cardboard pieces from negative sleeve boxes in the negative carrier to give the frames a softer edge. The original borders were the result of the negative carrier being too small. (See page 484). There is also some fascinating insight into her switch to a Pentax 6x7.
"It would help if you had a monograph of her work since there are no photos in the book."
Benjamin Marks: "That kid in the photo is a friend of mine from college. Give me a day or so and I will find you a photo...."
Lynn: "Thanks for highlighting Arbus here. Although comparatively well known amongst photographers with an interest in the history of the medium, very few amateurs let alone the general public seem to have seen her work. Yet once seen, her images draw more interest than almost any other. I've long been fascinated by Arbus's photos and had always thought she had a voyeuristic fascination with freaks. After reading An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus by William Todd Schultz, I realised I had entirely the wrong idea. It paints a convincing psychological profile, with interesting ideas about attachment theory and her work. I can recommend this book if you seek a better understanding of Arbus's background, motivations and working method.
"A photographer friend who's had a long fascination with Arbus also strongly recommended the Lubow book. In Slow Motion there's consensus amongst people interviewed who met Arbus that she made them feel special. Sometimes with sexual undertones. Also that she was persistent with subjects to the point she wore them down into submission, whereupon she could get them to project the image she had conceptualised—a reflection of her internal world. The term commonly used was of 'being Arbused.' According to the book only one subject, I think it was Germaine Greer, had the fortitude not to submit. I can highly recommend the Aperture Monograph for those unfamiliar with her work."
Darlene: "After reading An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus, I decided I had had enough and sold all the Arbus books from my shelves."
Sean: "Arbus knew that there was a great picture in that kid, and that she was the one to capture it. That's what sets photographers like Arbus apart."
V.I. Voltz: "The Neil Selkirk prints of this photo have amazing macro contrast and were obviously made with a very well aligned enlarger with a highly collimated light source—the grain is visible despite the 6x6 negative. But the dodging around where the young Colin Wood's overall strap has fallen off his left shoulder (so on the viewer's right in the photo) is downright amateurish. The Arbus prints of this photo are less technical but compellingly odd, with asymetrical, messy borders, very subtle dodging, and highlights with a very bright contrasty look which speaks strongly of bleach to anyone who spent a lot of time in the darkroom. Auction records suggest that the price would be higher for an Arbus print.
"The Aperture monograph sells because of the way it shows that Diane Arbus knew what it was like to live outside the mainstream, and that there is a little bit of freak in everyone, but that people who won't show it are vicariously titillated by weirdness. Arbus could show plainly, in a life context that was ordinary in its time, that freakishness lived among us and within us. In 2017 the monograph shows how she could see all of this, and ultimately how the awareness of it ate her up from the inside. Voltz (with apologies for the length; I wrote about Arbus a lot in my academic youth)."