Nationality & Life Dates:
A Young Family in Brooklyn Going for a Sunday Outing
Gelatin silver print
15 1/4 x 14 3/4 inches
Purchase with funds from a friend of the Museum
In the mid-1950s Diane Arbus abandoned her career as a fashion photographer and began developing her oeuvre of direct, arresting portraits. Drawn to a wide range of subjects, she often photographed people who stood outside of societal norms; nudists, dwarfs, and the mentally handicapped were the focus of many of her most compelling images.
This photograph of a Brooklyn family on a Sunday outing—one of ten she chose in 1970 to represent her best work—exemplifies Arbus’ uncanny ability to reveal something raw beneath the surface of the people she photographed. Taking the “ordinary” family outing as her subject, she wryly juxtaposed the notion of idyllic family togetherness with a sense of isolation that is conveyed by the disconnected gaze of each subject, the odd appearance of the mother and the young boy, and the quiet haze of their urban environment.