Thursday, May 12, 2005

Diane Arbus follow-up via the New Yorker

If you haven't read your Talk of the Town yet this week, there's an item about the subjects of Diane Arbus' photographs and how some of them are sopping up the fringe fame from her latest retrospective at the Met. The writer of the piece speaks to the subject of "A Young Waitress at a Nudist Camp, N.J., 1963," and I must correct myself: The girl was not wearing shoes, but only a hairband and apron. Reading the item, I was reminded of how nudist colonies were supposed to be these really family-friendly places, populated by upstanding but open-minded people who just happened to think it was fun to run around without any (or many) clothes on. Still, there's always been something a little strange about it all. (For a real laugh, read the section in David Sedaris' book Naked where he visits such a colony.)

Some of the more notable Arbus shots are available online: the identical twins, the Christmas tree that's too big for the living room, the Brooklyn family, the giant at home with his parents, the boy with the toy grenade. They're scary and haunting without being gruesome or gory.

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