Diane Arbus

Portrait of a Photographer
Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Diane Arbus brings to life the full story of one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century, a visionary who revolutionized photography and altered the course of contemporary art with her striking, now iconic images. Arbus comes startlingly to life here, a strong-minded child of unnerving originality who grew into a formidable artist. Arresting, unsettling, and poignant, her photographs stick in our minds. Why did these people fascinate her? And what was it about her that captivated them?

It is impossible to understand the transfixing power of Arbus's photographs without understanding her life story. Arthur Lubow draws on exclusive interviews with Arbus's friends, lovers, and colleagues to explore her unique perspective. He deftly traces Arbus's development from a wealthy, sexually precocious free spirit into first a successful New York fashion photographer, and then a singular artist who coaxed hidden truths from her subjects. Lubow reveals that Arbus's profound need not only to see her subjects, but to be seen by them, drove her to forge unusually close bonds with these people, helping her discover the fantasies, pain, and heroism within each of them.

©2016 Arthur Lubow (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Lubow sharply captures Arbus' restlessness, pain, and artistic vision." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about Diane Arbus

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Extraordinary!

I loved this book! It is a beautifully written (and narrated) biography of an important artist.

1 person found this helpful

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A portrait of the human shadow

Diane Arbus documented with her photographs the outer margins of our society, those who rejected standard conventions or simply didn't fit into them. I've personally heard people mock the subjects of her work and call them "freaks". She didn't regard them that way. On the contrary, it seems that she felt quite empathetic and identified herself with them in a profound way, which perhaps allowed her to connect with them and produce art that was so alive. I would say that Arbus's photographs focus on the shadow, that part of the human psyche that is mysterious, strange and wild, which shies away from any aspirations to order, wholesomeness or light. Although rich in imagination and creativity, the shadow in its extreme can be destructive (like any form of excess). So on the one hand, Arbus was able to produce from a young age an amazing body of work, which I personally love and which inspired so many others. (One may see some of its influence in director Stanley Kubrick's classic film, The Shining, to name just one example.) But on the other hand, she, who herself couldn't or wouldn't adjust to any kind of "normalcy", finally succumbed to the depths of her emotions and, tragically, took her own life. I was very curious about her story and thanks to Arthur Lubow's excellent biography, I feel like I am able to understand her background and her work a little better. She was definitely an interesting person to learn about. Coleen Marlo's narration suits this audiobook well.

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Thought provoking biography about a revolutionary photographer and person

Heading says it all! Looking forward to chasing down one of her exhibitions in the very near future. This is a well written intricate account of her life read perfectly by and intelligent and soft yet confident voice. Prelude for me was the Power of Different podcast. Both are worth the time!!

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Sad soap opera little substance

This book is awful as it focuses mostly on the mental health problems of relatives and friends of Arbus. We learn very little about her thinking about her work or her techniques. This is painful to listen to and very disappointing. I was interested in learning about her experience as an artist but this book is a soap opera filled with pathetic and repulsive characters.

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Enlightening, Disturbing

I walk away feeling quite sorry for Diane. I'm left wondering if she would have ended things so soon had she been born later in the century. The age of DSLR may have inspired her to keep going. . .

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  • al
  • 11-15-16

Not Enough About Her Photography

I thought I was getting a story about the photo career. However, the book contained WAY too much info about her personal life. Mostly boring. "I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Blast."

2 people found this helpful