Oct 3, 2007

The human pincushion at a carnival in his silk shirt, N.J., 1961

The human pincushion at a carnival in his silk shirt, N.J., 1961


Diane Arbus

(American, 1923–1971)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 28.4 x 19.2 cm (11 3/16 x 7 9/16 in.); Paper: 35.3 x 27.9 cm (13 7/8 x 11 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Mann 1987.179



Diane Arbus was attracted to the bizarre aspects of human existence. She documented the underside of contemporary life, but always allowed her subjects—usually considered too strange and disturbing for mainstream society—to retain their dignity. Created intuitively, her images were also revelations of the intimate relationship between photographer and subject. Arbus was exceptionally sensitive to nuances of expression and gesture. In this image she captured the intensity of the sitter's gaze as he looks toward the camera.

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