"A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know."
- Diane Arbus
I am trying getting my head around this quote of Diane’s. I don’t think I understood it until now. If I do. Perhaps I only have just decided on a meaning for me.
An Emergency in Slow Motion is a fantastic read about her life from the perspective of a psychologist. She spiralled down in her life and eventually ended it herself. The title reminds me of Emily.
It is well known that Diane put her own secrets into her work. Her work is clearly about her. Like all photographs, it is always about the artist, thier agenda, their story. The secret is that it’s about her, and the other secret is her secrets that she was continually exploring.
Her work on twins is a great case in point. You can read subsequent interviews with some of the twins she photographed. “We never argued, Diane pushed us so much, until we did, just to get a photograph of us with tension between us.”
That’s one secret, the other is that Diane was obsessed with Twins.
A secret within a secret.
Nude study. Photograph copyright © Len Metcalf 2018