Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2009/05/17

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Subject: [Leica] Arbus revisited
From: robertmeier at (Robert Meier)
Date: Sun, 17 May 2009 23:30:07 -0500 (CDT)
References: <> <>

 From a review of Bosworth's biography by Elsa Dorfman:

The book abounds in what I suspect is improvisation, hearsay and  
undocumented speculation. The standards of language and accuracy (let  
alone interpretation) are very low.

Bosworth keeps on reminding us that Arbus was only interested in the  
aberration, off-beat sexual practices, tortured sexual identities,  
and physical and mental deformities of her subjects. She suggests  
that Arbus was purposely exploitative and sensationalistic.  
Ironically, this is precisely Bosworth's own approach to her subject.  
She is obsessed with real and imagined aberration, speculates about  
what she considers offbeat sexual practices, imagines tortured sexual  
conflicts...Diane Arbus eludes Bosworth completely.

The interesting questions are left unasked, let alone, unanswered:  
How did this woman, brought up in the most constricting, conventional  
environment, come to have such a unique personal vision in which  
style and subject-matter were perfectly matched? How did she produce  
so much valuable work in just eleven years? Why was she so insecure  
and uncomfortable with her talent? Was her insecurity and lack of  
self-esteem (as reported, I suspect accurately, by Studs Terkel)  
related to her narrow, ungenerous vision? Was she afraid of her own  
success? And finally, why did she, like Sylvia Plath before her in  
1963, end her life?

On May 17, 2009, at 5:43 PM, Charcot wrote:

> Robert - if you come up with the discredited parts or Bosworth let  
> us know.  I read it and assume that it's true so anything you come  
> up with I'd be interested.
> ernie nitka
> On May 17, 2009, at 3:13 PM, <photo.forrest at> wrote:
>> That's what I was going to say, why does it really matter what  
>> cameras she used? Contax, Nikon, Leica, Mamiya, whatever. She's  
>> Diane Arbus and her images are some of the most beautiful ever  
>> made. She could have used a Diana & they would have been just as  
>> powerful. Its just a box with a hole on one side and a recording  
>> medium on the other.
>> Phil Forrest
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:  Michiel Fokkema <michiel.fokkema at>
>> Subj:  Re: [Leica] Arbus revisited
>> Date:  Sun 17 May 2009 4:59 pm
>> Size:  1K
>> To:  Leica Users Group <lug at>
>> Who cares? Why a keypoint?
>> It's the image that counts.
>> Cheers,
>> Michiel Fokkema
>> Robert Meier wrote:
>>> I think Bosworth's biography has been discredited on many key  
>>> points,
>>> but I don't know the details.  Needless to say, whether she used  
>>> a Leica
>>> or not would be a very key point.
>>> On May 17, 2009, at 2:21 PM, Tina Manley wrote:
>>>> At 03:00 PM 5/17/2009, you wrote:
>>>>> Found this on photo net:
>>>>> "
>>>>> Diane Arbus never used a Leica for her work.
>>>>> The guy gives off the air of knowing what he's talking about.
>>>>> I mean when you get that specific....
>>>>> Mark William Rabiner
>>>> From her biography by Patricia Bosworth:
>>>> page 108 ?hated the big 8 x 10 camera; she preferred the Leica.
>>>> page 124 ?anyway-she always had a camera, usually a Leica, in?
>>>> page 127 She would still record the sessions with her Leica for?
>>>> page 195 ? Leica for years, but in 1962 she changed to a Rolleif?
>>>> page 231 ?cameras. She still missed the lightness of her Leica,?
>>>> page 246 ... D I A N E A R B U S novative work with a Leica  
>>>> (that sm?
>>>> Searched on Amazon.
>>>> Tina
>>>> Tina Manley
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Leica Users Group.
>>>> See for more  
>>>> information
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Replies: Reply from charcot at (charcot) ([Leica] Arbus revisited)
Reply from mark at (Mark Rabiner) ([Leica] Arbus revisited)
In reply to: Message from photo.forrest at (photo.forrest at ([Leica] Arbus revisited)
Message from charcot at (Charcot) ([Leica] Arbus revisited)