Doon Arbus, daughter of the legendary New York photographer Diane Arbus, opens this beautiful 1972 short film on Arbus's images. Doon is phenomenal in her period Afro, her sense of empowerment, and her sharp analysis of work so intimately tied to her personal history. Please watch.
And definitely follow on to Part 2 and the rest. As Doon explains, a Japanese photographer learning English recorded Arbus in class sessions. In the film, an Arbus friend reads Diane's words "over glimpses of Diane's photographs."
Her frank thinking on the moral conundrums of documentary photography is golden. From Part 2 of the film as it appears on YouTube, and my transcript, Arbus on "freaks":
Freaks was a thing I photographed a lot. It was one of the first thing I photographed and it had a terrific kind of excitement for me. I just used to adore them. I still do adore some of them. I don't quite mean they're my best friends, but they made me feel a mixture of shame and awe. There's a quality of legend about freaks, like a person in a fairy tale who stops you and demands that you answer a riddle. I mean, if you've ever spoken to someone with two heads, you know they know they something you don't. 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.
"Freaks," in the words of Lisette Model, who follows in the video, are in the same group as "homosexuals, lesbians, cripples, sick people, dying people, dead people."
Diane Arbus committed suicide in 1971.