Diane Arbus

In March 2009 I was still living with my parents. One day my mother came home from grocery shopping and came upstairs to tell me to come outside there was a cat hissing at her. I love cats and my mother hates them so I went out to see what was going on. Turns out the cat wasn’t hissing he was merely meowing at her albeit very loudly. He was very friendly and let me pet him which is when I discovered he was a stray. He was so thin I could feel all of his bones and he was covered in dirt. After my mother saw how friendly he was she began to feel sorry for him and we decided we should feed him. Not being a cat household we didn’t have any cat food so I drove to the local Petsmart to get some. My father came home later and commented that there was a cat outside who was trying to sneak into the garage. I told him I had fed the cat and my father’s response was “great now he’ll never leave”. My father has the same opinion of cats as my mother. It was March and rather cold at night so I made the cat a bed outside by the front door so he could sleep there and stay warm. The next day he was still there so a friend and I decided to bathe him and let him into the house. He was so sweet getting a bath. He just sat in the tub didn’t scratch or claw at us. He was so skinny he looked like a drowned rat when we were done and I had to keep him wrapped in a blanket until he dried off. That night he officially moved in with me. The next morning while I was still asleep he ventured downstairs to get breakfast and my father looked up from his paper and thought “oh great now its in the house.” I named him Arbus and he was my cat for the next two years until he passed away in January. He was named after one of my favorite photographers which fits since he was my favorite cat. He was unique in too many ways to list here as was Diane Arbus. My cat Arbus was a stray, and outcast no one wanted. After we took him in the neighbors mentioned they had seen him in their yard but looked away instead of helping him. Diane Arbus took photos of people on the fringes of her 1960’s NYC society. Mental institution patients, transvestites, nudists the list goes on. Her stark B&W photos eliminate all color that could be a distraction forcing you to confront the sometimes uncomfortable imagery she was famous for. Diane Arbus committed suicide in 1971 but her photographs live on resonating with people still. I saw my first Diane Arbus works at a show at the Met in NYC when I was a sophomore in college and I have loved her ever since. In tribute to my favorite cat and one of my favorite photographers I dedicate this first photographer of the week post to Diane Arbus. Click on the link below to view her work. I urge you to click through the entire slide show (about 80 images) because her most powerful images are mixed throughout. http://diane-arbus-photography.com/


Diane Arbus by Allan Arbus (a film test) c. 1949


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