Diane Arbus "Identical Twins" Discuss

Rick Waldroup

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It seems as though Arbus was very good at snapshots.:wink:

The thing about this photo, is that the more you look at it, the more you start to realize how different these identical twins are.

Arbus was a master at taking unusual subjects and subject matter and somehow producing snapshots that captured their uniqueness, and more importantly, their humanity, in relationship to their surroundings and place in time.

Also, Arbus had a supreme sense of humor, which shines through in much of her street and documentary photography. A lot of her work makes a person think, and that is always a good thing.
 

shundaroni

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Perfect snapshot for art-school over-analysis. :wink:

Honestly, though, it's a prime example of opportunity. Two striking young twins were in the right place at the right time. The composition is boring. The poses look intentional, but uninteresting. In all truth, it's one of those shots I wish the photographer would have put more work in to.

But any ol' shat can pass as profound in art school. :greenpbl:
 
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bapp

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It is interesting to see what people think of the image, snapshot, well composed, lucky shot, right place right time and one for the art school etc.

Personally Arbus for me is one of the all time greats and this image is a great representation of what she specialized in. With a little research we see how this image is anything but a "snapshot" nor did she just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

The title is Identical Twins, as mentioned above it is a comment on how different these two twins are, different smiles, hair arm position etc. The title is ironic and many believe that it is a comment on the individuality of each of us. They are shot on a totally white background therefore not linking them with any place or time.

One of the most interesting and most discussed elements with this image is the path running behind them. It is not straight but running at an angle, the thoughts are that this is how Arbus viewed them and the world, a little askew things not quite perfect etc.

No matter what I write here I guess some people will come back and say things like, thats over analyzed, finding things that are not actually there blah blah.

The fact of the matter is that Arbus placed many different subtle idiosyncrasies into her almost all her images in order to convey a thought process. It was this ability and attention to detail that placed her in with the great photographers of the time.

Oh and this was taken at a Twin and Triplet convention that she planned to go to!
 
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bapp

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But any ol' shat can pass as profound in art school. :greenpbl:

I assume then you have been to Art school and seen this "ol shat" for your self?

Photographs with substance are anything but "ol shat". I understand that there is plenty of pretentious Art out there with little or no substance. That is what we are here to sift through. Arbus however is most defiantly not in the ol shat category.

I am also interested in who or what images you believe are a cut above the rest and why.
 

jols

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i have dozens of pics like this in my grans photo box.

nothing special at all
 
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It's hard to judge this image on its own. Arbus worked in a serial way, she created images that together form a way of looking at her world.

It is in that context that this image is fun. Two girls in their Sunday best, one a lot more mischievious than the other.
 

ThomThomsk

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Compared with some of her other work, this seems quite conventional and 'safe'. Sometimes with Arbus I feel like I'm in a freak show and that by looking at her subjects I am in some way contributing to their exploitation, and it is hard to separate this image from those other photos and the way they make me feel. I'm sure that is the whole point, the reason why her work is important, because it challenges you to consider whether her subject matter is right and proper, or whether it is exploitative.

Taken on its own I can see how people think they're being kidded by Identical Twins - it's the Emperor's new clothes, isn't it? I don't yet feel confident enough of my own critical abilities, 'taste', call it what you will, to be sure that I wouldn't think the same if I hadn't seen other Arbus pictures, and this isn't as obviously an important image as some of them, but I feel a tension there because as I said the dwarves and the Down's people and all the rest seem to be part of the reason why her work is so much more than snapshots. There is plenty more in this image, about individuality and perception of sameness, a slightly creepy sense of the American Gothic about their eye contact, straight on to the camera. Thanks for raising this bapp.
 

Trenton Romulox

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How come the uglier twin is sad, and the less ugly twin is happy?

I wonder if that's part of the purpose?

But in all seriousness, the shot is good. But I mean, I don't see anything splendid about it. It's certainly not a snapshot to me, but it's not exactly an earth-shattering image we should all stare at forever. It's good. I like it. No emotions really being drawn out of me by it.
 

abraxas

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I like it. Provocative. Makes me think of how Robert Frost's poetry may be/is more than what it appears to be on the surface. Layered.

Some can see it. Some like to eat candy all day. I've looked through plenty of a$$-ugly kid photos right here on TPF. This shot is intriguing- Nana's box of crap snaps is torture.
 

Trenton Romulox

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I like it. Provocative. Makes me think of how Robert Frost's poetry may be/is more than what it appears to be on the surface. Layered.

Some can see it. Some like to eat candy all day. I've looked through plenty of a$$-ugly kid photos right here on TPF. This shot is intriguing- Nana's box of crap snaps is torture.

Ass-ugly, HAHA. Yeah, check out 'A Dozen Self-Portraits' on the General Gallery, damn, that Trenton Romulox be ass-ugly.

This shot, the more I come back to it, the more I like it...it's weird, why do I keep coming back...
 

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