Were it not for New York street photographer Lisette Model, there may never have been the Diane Arbus we know today. A successful fashion photographer by the time she became Model’s student at the New School in the mid-1950s, Arbus followed her teacher’s advice to focus on personal pictures. From then on, she captured seniors on the street, transvestites, muscle men, midgets, asylum inmates and dominatrixes, as well as children and families. Her subjects range from spooky to bizarre or funny, and most are slightly tragic. All are photographed head-on and often with a flash, yet none of her subjects – even those who are naked – shows any resistance to Arbus’s insistent gaze.
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