Diane Arbus: Family Albums, an exhibition focusing on the work of one of the most controversial and acclaimed American photographers, is on view at the Georgia Museum of Art through Aug. 14.
The exhibition’s title refers to the late Diane Arbus’s desire to produce an extraordinary family album. Arbus was interested in compiling metaphorical images of the 1960s American family, and she spent the decade gathering pictures from different individuals with the ultimate goal of preserving a mixture of modern American lifestyles. The photo above is Blaze Starr at Home.
Born in New York in 1923, Arbus began an early partnership in photography with her husband, Allan. The two trained in a makeshift darkroom in their own bathroom, with Allan bringing home the expertise he gained in the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps photography school in New Jersey. Following the conclusion of World War II, the two launched a joint career in fashion photography. Arbus also studied photography with Alexey Brodovitch in 1954 and with Lisette Model from 1955 to 1957. The latter encouraged Arbus to pursue her artistic talent, especially as a portrait photographer.
The Arbuses separated in 1959, and Diane Arbus sought to explore new avenues in her work. She embraced a more documentary approach to photography and began to focus on those who were on the edge of societal acceptance, thus beginning her quest to develop an American photo album. She was twice a Guggenheim Fellow and, in 1967, exhibited her work at the controversial and influential New Documents show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.