Art We Love

14 Photographs Arbus Would Appreciate

March 14th marks the birth of documentarian and artist Diane Arbus, whose earliest art photographs are currently on exhibition at SFMOMA, through the end of April 2017.

Arbus is legendary for her New York street photography, and intimate portraits of families, children, and people living outside convention in Fifties and Sixties America.  She boldly expanded her comfort zone and regularly took risks to capture her images, documenting people that were often avoided or overlooked, as well as portraying everyday life in a different light. Her career as an independent artist was brief but powerful; Arbus was the first American to have their photography included in the Venice Biennale in 1972, a year after she committed suicide at the age of 48.

In celebration of her exceptional point of view, please enjoy some street art photography and contemporary photo portraits from Saatchi Art artists that we think Diane Arbus would appreciate… You can also discover what’s catching our curator’s eye in our featured Contemporary Photography Collection


(Image: rain |rān| Edition 6/10, a black and white photo portrait by Saatchi Art artist Richard Brocken)


(Image: The Lucks, at Wolfie’s Deli, Miami Beach, a color photo portrait shot on Kodachrome by Saatchi Art artist Jeffrey Knee)


Masked portraits were a frequent theme in Arbus’s artwork. (Image: The Hare I (edition #2 of 15), a black and white photo portrait of a masked man by Saatchi Art artist Laurence Winram)


(Image: ‘Comfort Zone’ – Image #15; Print 4 of 20, an unstaged full length color beach portrait by Saatchi Art One to Watch artist TADAO CERN. Visit One to Watch to learn more about Tadao and his photographic art.


(Image: dangerous selfie (limited edition 1 of 10 signed and numbered photographs), by Saatchi Art artist angelo dorigo)


(Image: Jesse at the Pool, 2016, FRAMED – Limited Edition 1 of 20, a sexy Seventies style male portrait by Saatchi Art artist stephanie vovas. You can read more about Stephanie on CANVAS)


(Image: Table Twins, a limited edition minimal nude photographic portrait by Saatchi Art artist Katarina Ivanenko)


Before fully devoting herself to her personal work in the late 1950’s, Arbus worked with her husband Allan to style the fashion spreads he shot for Glamour and Vogue. (Image: Quita With Hatbox / #3 of 15surreal patterned fashion art photography by Saatchi Art artist David Mendelsohn)


(Image: Untitled #41, a street photography portrait by Saatchi Art artist Bil Zelman)


(Image: Diving from the pier, a hand-colored photographic print shot in Coney Island, by Saatchi Art artist Harvey Zipkin)


(Image: BAD MILKY MOUSE | limited edition print 2 of 25, by Saatchi Art artist Erik Bont)


(Image: Venezia #9 / Edition of 20, street photography by Saatchi Art artist Constantinos Andronis)


(Image: Lucas / Limited Edition 1 of 7, original art photography by Saatchi Art artist Jakub Skokan)


(Image: Bunny II, a photographic portrait by Saatchi Art artist Artūrs Kondrāts)

For more about Diane Arbus, check out this article in The Cut or this piece about the current exhibit featuring her early work from The New York Times.

About the Author

Daryl Gammons-Jones is a contributor to Saatchi Art's blog. In addition to writing about art and design, she specializes in collecting, creating, and producing images for a diversity of creative endeavors.