Diane Arbus (1923–1971) was an American photographer known for her intimate portraits of outsiders—tattooed, handicapped, and LGBT people, burlesque performers, dwarves, nudists.
Arbus was self-conscious of her privileged upbringing as the daughter of a successful New York department-store owner. A formative experience as a child was stumbling upon the inhabitants of a shanty town with her nanny. Going to a place where she had never been, seeing a different world, was something that she would repeat again and again, and document in her work. According to the book Emergency in Slow Motion by William Schultz, Arbus would adventure through New York City neighborhoods, seducing her subjects (up to, and including, sleeping with them), to get her revealing pictures.
Arbus killed herself in 1971 at 48. Her popularity in the fine-art world in the 1970s helped make critics take photography more seriously as an artform.