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In her essay on the photographer Diane Arbus in the January 15 issue of The New York Review Janet Malcolm gets some facts wrong. In Patricia Bosworth’s rich biography Diane Arbus: A Biography (Open Road Media), Bosworth deftly describes the dark side of Arbus, who. Diane Arbus: A Biography. Patricia Bosworth, Author W. W. Norton & Company $ (0p) ISBN Tweet. More By and About This Author.

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Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Portrait of a Photographer. A box of ten photographs. An Emergency in Slow Motion: The Inner Life of Diane Arbus. A Life in Photography.

Books — Patricia Bosworth

Product details Hardcover Publisher: Start reading Diane Arbus: A Biography on your Kindle in under a minute. Don’t patricai a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 51 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Diane Arbus : Patricia Bosworth :

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I thought this was a well written, objective biography of an enigmatic, difficult person. I knew very little arbsu Diane Arbus, and had only seen a few of her most in famous photographs. So I had no preconceived idea of her art or personality. This book gives a terrific insight into the New York City creative scene during the ‘s and ‘s. As an aside, only Hollywood could have cast tall, red-haired Nicole Kidman to play short dark Arbus in the movie about her, “Fur.

I think Bosworth arbuz her subject as an artist. I liked the fact that the focus is on Arbus’ life and work, rather than the more technical aspects of photography. Is this an accurate portrayal of this artist? I don’t know since I don’t have any knowledge of Arbus other than this book.

It is possible Arbus or photography buffs could find fault. Is it a good book?

Yes, it’s well written, well patriciia and a terrific, if tragic, story My recommendation: If you want to read a well written, authoritative book about Diane Arbus, or just want to read an interesting biographyyou’ll enjoy this book. This is an interesting and informative biography of Diane Arbus. It is informative and intelligent about her work without resorting to academic jargon.

It is also pahricia to be long enough to be thorough but not so long that it becomes repetitive. One person found this helpful. Diane Arbus, this biography tells us, threw herself into a world of nudist camps, orgies, one-night stands, and extremely casual sex, completely divorced from psychological or emotional will or fulfillment.


Arbus said she found it boring. Reading this book was something like that for me. Reading about a person who had a chemical imbalance is kind of pointless, I’m beginning to think.

I can never understand such bizarre minds. As a teenager, Diane frequently stripped and masturbated in front of a window while she knew she was being peeped — or at least she said so, but even if it isn’t true, saying so is diaen. She demanded everything of herself and her talent but she wouldn’t do a book or an exhibition presumably because it would be the end in some way, and she turned down a very lucrative film offer because she patricua she wasn’t up to the job. She was patriciz over her last series of photographs of mentally retarded adults because she couldn’t control the subjects or the images.

Well, why didn’t she move on to other subjects? She had had a bad reaction to one type of anti-depressants in combination with the Pill, so she wouldn’t try any other anti-depressants with or without the Pill.

Diane Arbus : A Biography

Then she killed herself. As for her art, I’m not sure I understand her claim that she was not being exploitative or sensationalistic in her photos of circus freaks, transsexuals, and nudists.

Did that series include “normal” people such as the Westchester family in their back yard, the famous twins, the Puerto Rican woman with a birthmark, the woman with pearl earrings and a hat, the Jewish couple dancing, the best friends, the lady bartender, etc? I wish author Bosworth had spent a chapter on that “love” rather than a single sentence. An exploration of Arbus’s feelings about the human condition rather than her feelings about art itself might have yielded much more insight, including an explanation of why she killed herself.

Despair over human fragility and vulnerability?

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Over some cosmic irony that hangs over all of us? Maybe Arbus is simply too elusive for any biographer. Bosworth drops a lot of names and gets Arbus’s contemporaries and friends to talk, but a lot of them are self-conscious blowhards whose descriptions were confusing and therefore forgettable.

I have the feeling that if Bosworth had managed to get one or two friends with tons of insight and an ability to speak plainly — maybe Dick Avedon and Allan Arbus, perhaps Amy Arbus as well — this would have been a more rewarding read.

Or perhaps Bosworth should have just written from the perspective that Arbus was weird and impenetrable and taken us into her life with the plain caveat that we can only watch, not understand. Anyway, I didn’t much like it.

Until someone writes a book about that sentence, “It’s about love,” Arbus is for me yet another artist who’s sufficiently known by a wiki article and collections of her work. Same thing happened to me with Lee Krasner and Frida Kahlo, biographies I also read and reviewed here. This is a beautifully written biography of Diane Arbus, that I highly recommend.


It was very enjoyable for me to learn about Arbus’ relationships with her family members and photographer friends. And, learning about her process in creating photographs, and her relationships with the people she photographs, is extremely interesting. Fans of Diane Arbus’s photography will be moved by this well-documented, well-written account of her life.

Author Bosworth does not shy away from the difficult aspects of one of the finest female artists of the last century. Arbus redefined our eye for others.

A solid bio of a unique photographer. Arbus had an eye for the absurd and her bosdorth subject matter patticia her own unsettled life. Diane Particia was the child of immigrant parents, and grew up exploring her potential set against the backdrop of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Her husband, actor Allan Arbus was also an artist looking for his potential. Hers in photography, his in acting. If there is a down side to the book, it is that it is pretty well factual, with very good and close sources, but the book starts to fade when the author explores Diane’s later years. Was this woman, born into a family where depression had been discovered in her mother really depressed because of a failed marriage?

The author opines to the affirmative. Or was it something more? The book only gives us a glimpse of Allan’s troubled reaction to her depression. I believe a more indepth study into the soul of this woman would have shown dramatically the tragedy of her death. Set in patrica time period, our society was not cognizant or nor able to recognize signals in blsworth depression. There are many examples in the book of how Diane was attempting to overcome the demons.

All in all, I found the book interesting and well written. I was enthralled by this book. It really delves into her as a person and where her head was at during various times of her life. Not very many photos of her work, if that’s what you want this isn’t the book for you. Nobody would ddiane an eye at her work today.

She wouldn’t have had to put up with the disapproval of her parents, husband, friends, neighbors, peers if she had been born years later.

She was very free for a woman in those days and pretty unique. See all 51 reviews. Customers who bought riane item also bought. The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in s Manhattan.

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