Re: Diane Arbus's Angst

Maggie Jaffe (
Tue, 30 Jan 1996 12:55:31 -0500

Dear Sixties People:

Diane Arbus's family were Polish-Jewish immigrants who made it BIG in
*Amerika*: they owned a chain of department stores called Russeks. She
grew up in the posh area of Manhattan's Central Park West. She suffered
from depression her entire life. Patricia Bosworth, her biographer,
speculates that the break up of her long-standing marriage with Allan
Arbus, with whom she worked, was largely responsible for her suicide.
Clearly, when Arbus said that "most people go through life dreading they'll
have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They've
already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats," she's describing
her own invisible traumas. Interestingly, she also said: "I never have
taken a picture I've intended. They're always better or worse" *Diane
Arbus,* Aperture Monograph, p. 15.