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Wednesday, 15 March 2023


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Wow, I could’ve happily called it a day had I created something as good as that painting!

I never cared for her work. Never saw what was alluring or interesting in it. I had the book with the Twins on the cover and disliked it the more I looked at it. Had no problem letting it go.

She had some success during her lifetime, but apparently not enough.
The post mortem fame phenomenon is quite common.
Van Gogh died young, but Vivian Maier never had a single shred of success though she lived to quite a ripe age - it is quite admirable that she continued nevertheless.
But it makes you bitter.
"Es ist viel zu spät." (It is much too late - quote by Austrian writer Franz Grillparzer when he was showered with honours about one year before his death)

Thank you for letting me know about this great artist. I just went over her Monograph. Strong stuff.

Diane was a friend of Stanley Kubrick back in their Greenwich Village days.

At first this might sound off topic but give me a chance. There is a physicist named Brian Cox, Professor Brian Cox. He explains the universe with a certain joy and amazement. He reminds us that despite there being 2 trillion galaxies, each with billions of stars there is only one know spot that harbors conscious life. He theorizes that maybe one or two other advanced civilizations might exist in our own galaxy. Out of the estimated 100 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way maybe other conscious life exists. Maybe though there is zero evidence that it does.

My point? Does anyone actually look at the big picture and realize how awesome and amazing it is to be alive? What a unique experience it is to exist in this tiny bubble where the earth is at the right temperature to support us? We can get bogged down in depression, suffer from anxiety and feel life is not worth living. We might be the most conscious living forms in the galaxy and that to me despite the challenges of Earthy life is worth the effort to survive .

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”--Diane Arbus

I have always admired Arbus's work, and I find the timing of her death to be most unfortunate, as she had really started to come into her own artistically and publicly. Based upon her own description, and that of her husband, it seems pretty clear that she suffered from Bipolar Disorder, for which there was very little effective treatment at the time of her death. She reportedly said, "I go up and down a lot. Maybe I've always been like that. Partly what happens though is I get filled with energy and joy and I begin lots of things or think about what I want to do and get all breathless with excitement and then quite suddenly either through tiredness or a disappointment or something more mysterious the energy vanishes, leaving me harassed, swamped, distraught, frightened by the very things I thought I was so eager for! I'm sure this is quite classic." It is sad that more effective treatment wasn't available to her. She was a wonderful artist.

If you, or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts please reach out for help. You are not alone. In the U.S., anyone needing help can call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat. Services are free and confidential.

Mike, you are a treasure. I have followed your website for nearly 20 years now if my memory is anywhere near accurate. Articles like this one on Diane Arbus keep my interest in photography fresh. We started our photographic careers about the same time, me maybe tens years prior to you, but have both served our time in a B&W darkroom breathing the aroma of D-76 and Dektol, not to mention the sweet acidic smell of stopbath.

T.O.P. and the NYT's start my day, along with the best espresso I can brew. Sorry I just can't make the switch to tea.

The kid with the hand grenade (the image Arbus is holding in your last post) is a friend from college. I know I have some current photos of him around somewhere. He's an interesting fellow and my six-degrees (actually two degrees) of separation with Diane Arbus.

[Hey Ben, I did link to our article about that! Did you forget? I confess I did, until I searched the archives for Arbus. Here's the link again:



I saw the sizeable retrospective show in Toronto a few years back (AGO, I guess). It included a fair bit of her earlier stuff when she was shooting relatively conventional, 35mm street photos, only hinting at what was to come.

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