The Dual Nature of Diana Arbus's Photographic Art

Journal: Journal of Higher Education Research DOI: 10.32629/jher.v4i4.1479

Margaret Ma

New York University, New York, America


Diana Arbus is a photographer to be criticized for unethical practices, yet her unique photographic style has left a lasting imprint on civilization. She's good at capturing marginalized societal groups, confronting the harsh realities and ugliness. Her work influenced people's contemplation of photographic art, while simultaneously subjecting her to significant ethical controversies. Arbus's photographs evoke feelings of terror and discomfort, but at the same time, she shed light on the people and experiences hidden in the shadows, revealing the greatness and sacredness of suffering and its essence. This gave rise to an aesthetic of alienation that contradicts traditional aesthetics. In Arbus's photographic works, there is a juxtaposition and fusion of oppositions between art and morality. Traditional aesthetics pursue happiness, harmony, and beauty, whereas Arbus's photographs present pain, distortion, and ugliness. Consequently, some argue that Arbus violates the moral principles of beauty. However, on the other hand, Arbus's works also bring visibility, attention, and understanding to marginalized groups, achieving a fusion of art and morality in a divergent way.


Diana Arbus, photographic art, duality


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