By: Leonardo Malaguti

Translated by: Nicole Silvya Bouris

 

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“My favourite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”(D. Arbus)

 

The other side of normality is what you would usually look at while standing behind mannequins in those big family department stores where probably Diane Nemerov grew up, where at fourteen years old she met Allan Arbus, who became her husband at eighteen and where in that same exact famous Fifth Avenue department store her husband and her obtained their first job as photographers right after marrying each other. The other side of normality is what stays out of reach of the Nikon 35 mm lens of the “Diane & Allan Arbus” studio. Between 1945 and 1956, the same studio depicted the American way of life for magazines like Glamour, Seventeen and Vogue up to exposing one of their pictures (a father who reads the newspaper to his son) at the monumental show The Family of man by Edward Steichen. For years Diane embodies the role of the perfect committed wife who takes care of the children; this until she finally found the courage to get involved in what she loved. Thanks to Lisette Model’s help she realized this dream of hers in between 1956 and 1957: “Until I didn’t get to study with Lisette I dreamed of taking pictures, but I didn’t actually do it. Lisette told me that I had to have fun in doing them…” and that was what she needed to get the energy of going to dig in the other side of normality. That same normality of which she had explored only the bright side.

 

Diane Arbus became famous because of her unusual subjects: freaks, transsexuals, handicapped, misfits, grotesque characters and niche humanity gaining the nickname of  “monster photographer”, but the truth is that she, more than anyone else, was able to represent real man and women, no filters nor forgery. She literarily demolished the fourth wall in her pictures and she created a sort of contact between reality and both sides of the lens, she was not scared of dirtying her hands, of be in touch with the subjects of her pictures and their world nor of creating sentimental relationships with them that can be seen in every single one of her shutter click. Her squared pictures, so rough, crude, non-caring of any type of formality, are just so true and immediate: they show a different type of daily life in which she also got involved.

 

Between 1959, the year she divorced from her husband, and 1969, she was able to earn a discrete success: she worked with Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Art Forum and Sunday Times; her shows were hosted by the MoMa, she met Richard Avedon and took picture of stars like Mia Farrow and Mae West (who did not actually like the result). On the one side her works were worshiped by the new generations, on the other, though, they continue to cause scandals and disapproval. Either in positive or in negative, no one remained emotionless in front of her works. During the last years of her life, as much as her work is still very active, she began to feel the effects of her depression illness and of the progressive loss of inspiration.  In 1971 she committed suicide by swallowing a big dose of barbiturates and by cutting her veins.

 

Since the second year after her death, when her pictures are shown at the Venice Biennale, she is defined as one of the greatest photographers of the nineteenth century.

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Spring contest rules:

 

0)      To participate you have to like the Revolart page.

( https://www.facebook.com/revolart?fref=ts )

 

1)      The contest is promoted by revolart.it and it will last one month: from April 7th at 12:00 until May 7th at 12:00.

 

2)      The theme of this edition is DIANE ARBUS: THE OTHER SIDE OF NORMALITY. The pictures you send us will have to show some type of thematic, subject, technical, connection with Diane Arbus type of photography.

 

 

3)      When you send us the email with your picture, please attach one or two description lines, and a title if you please, which describe the contact points with Diane Arbus works.

 

4)      You can freely choose the subjects of the picture, with the only obligation associated with 2).

 

5)      Pictures have to be squared.

 

6)      The black&white format is not obligatory, but we do advise that you use it.

 

7)      Photoshop (and similar programs) is authorized only to improve formal details of the pictures (format, dimensions, color-b/w, shadows, saturation). Whereas any type of plastic modification of the subjects is not allowed.

 

8)      Any type of photographic support can be used (Reflex, phones).

 

9)      Every Sunday we will publish the pictures you sent us on our page and the number of likes and shares of the picture can be taken into consideration as a benchmark in proclaiming the winning picture (for instance to decide in case of a tie). The winning picture will be declared considering a) rule compliance b) originality and creativity. The decision is unquestionable.

 

10)  The names of the 3rd and 2nd classified will be communicated on the 10th of May 2014. The name of the winner will be communicated on the 11th of May 2014.

 

11)  The first three classified will receive a printed version of their picture and their pictures will be published on a dedicated gallery on www.revolart.it . The first will receive a photography book on Diane Arbus.

 

12)  During the month, we will publish on www.revolart.it pictures, articles, quotes so to let you learn more about the author and her works and to stimulate your creativity

 

13)  You have to send your picture to revolart.scouting@gmail.com . Please use ‘PHOTO CONTEST REVOLART’ as the subject of your email.

 

14)  HAVE FUN!

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