” A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know ”
– Diane Arbus
Arbus got married at 18 to Allan Arbus, who later became an actor. During the 1940s and 50s they worked together as a successful photography team within the fashion and advertising world, before divorcing in 1959. They had two daughters, Doon and Amy. In parallel, Diane Arbus continued with her own photographic practice. And it was after meeting Lisette Model in 1956, and taking a course run by her, that Arbus developed her personal artistic style.
In 1963 and 1966 the Guggenheim Foundation awarded her a fellowship for her non-commercial images, and in 1967 the same museum curated her first museum exhibition.
In July 1971 Diane Arbus took her own life, aged 48. By the following year, MoMA in New York was already putting on a retrospective exhibition of her work. That same year, 1972, Arbus became the first American photographer to represent the USA at the Venice Biennale. Arbus had a close collaboration with Neil Selkirk, who printed her work. He is the only one who is authorized to make posthumous prints of her photographs. All the images that have been developed and sold after Arbus’ death are signed by her daughter Doon Arbus and printed by Selkirk.