Assignment 2: Diane Arbus and the others final thoughts! – 150MC

So after looking more into Sally Mann and Elinor Carucci, I have certainly began to see the similarities and differences between the three of them.

Starting off with Sally Mann, I believe her work is more exploitive than Arbus’ on a completely different level. Now, this may be because the nature of her pictures (naked children in pictures could be seen a child pornography by some) is different from Arbus. But still. There is a line, and Mann does cross it with her pictures, where Arbus doesn’t even come close. But that’s from a view of today. When Arbus was alive, it’s most likely her pictures did cross the line.

Diane 2 [1]Sally Mann 2 [2]
But looking more specifically at ‘A naked man being a woman, N.Y.C, 1965′ and ‘Virginia at 4, 1989’, a question comes to mind. Is there a difference between seeing a grown adult, who knows more about the body, naked on a picture compared to a child, with no knowledge of the body and is quite carefree, naked? Where is the line in both pictures??

So we then move onto Carucci, a more modern-day example of exploitation. Her work is very similar in the theme of exploitation but this time its more on a personal level. Her pictures are quite intimate and, to some extent, push the boundaries of modern-day society as well.
But what makes Carucci differ from Arbus slightly is that the pictures are from her family only, so she has more control over what happens. But if we keep on the idea of exploitation… well it’s interesting, because Carucci photographs things which we see on a day-to-day basis. So we tend not to be shocked by these things at all, whereas Arbus was taking pictures of those that society wasn’t used to be seeing and not accepting off. So there is a big difference between things, but that could be down to how society has changed over the years massively, where thoughts and other issues have been addressed and accepted.

At the end of the day though, I think Arbus has definitely changed photography slightly. She has allowed photographers to venture into the unknown and that which we are scared off, and I think it’s now widely accepted in the community. This is why Carucci has not faced that much criticism with her work at all, because we have come to expecting these sorts of pictures really, whereas in the days of Arbus and Mann, it wasn’t so much expected at all.
But an interesting point to raise is that if Arbus never took her photographs in the first place…would of Mann and Carucci received the same praise like they did with her work, or would they have received the same criticism as Arbus? Food for thought there!

[1] Arbus, D, ‘A naked man being a woman, N.Y.C, 1965’, Revelations 2003-06, pg. 98
[2] ‘Virginia at 4, 1989’


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