Friday, March 14, 2008

Funky Cold Medina

Today, on Diane Arbus' birthday (1923-1971), I had a perfect snapshot for our times -- only without a camera. In Detroit, it felt almost springy today, and I saw a couple walking side by side, oh wasn't it romantic and sweet, until I got closer and saw the truth: each one separately jawing on a cellphone to completely different people, their heads tilted violently away from each other. What a moment!

Ideally, a photographer of people would be invisible. Arbus achieved what she wanted by befriending the people she wanted to photograph and then -- POW -- got them with their guard down. Or she tormented them into some soul-baring gesture. Evil, fearless, mad, brilliant. She paid in blood, though, for what she got from the sum of her encounters.

As Arbus approached her relatively early end, German director Werner Herzog (b. 1942) was gearing up. Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen / Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970-1971) seems to pick up right where Arbus left off. Herzog seems as evil, fearless, mad, and brilliant as her but he prefers pictures in motion, i.e. movies with memorable (often eerie or creepy) soundtracks.

Today's Rune: Harvest.

Happy Birthday, Diane Arbus!

1 comment:

Johnny Yen said...

Arbus was a fascinating, talented, dark and tragic person, wasn't she?

Did you ever watch the television show MASH? The recurring character, psychiatrist Sydney Friedman was played by the actor Alan Arbus, who was her husband.