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Diane Arbus, American, (March 14, 1923–July 26, 1971)
Young Couple on a Bench, 1965
Silver gelatin print on paper
15 13/16 in. x 19 1/2 in. (40.13 cm x 49.53 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of C. Jane Hurley Wilson '64 and Michael G. Wilson, Wilson Centre for Photography, London, UK
Accession Number: 2008.4.1

"[Arbus's] photographs have a distinctive, direct style and, though they explore the theme of “otherness” in society, the viewer does not take on the role voyeur, due to the directness of the gaze of the subject. There is a sense of openness and intimacy present in her photographs that counteracts the claim that her photography is exploitative of her subjects.

This mysterious yet direct style is evident in Young Couple on a Bench. The photograph captures a young woman staring directly at the camera while the young man seated next to her looks away nonchalantly. They both have equally bleak expressions, which present visual ambiguity for the viewer. Although the photograph does not specifically belong to a series, it can easily be included with the numerous photographs that Diane Arbus took in Washington Square Park. Arbus also enjoyed taking portraits of couples: young couples, unmarried couples, and transvestite couples. Even though the couple in this photograph appears to be a man and a woman, their androgynous features make the viewer question whether or not it may be a trans-gendered couple."

Bosworth, Patricia. Diane Arbus. New York: W.W Norton & Company, 2005.

Written by Amy Vasquez (SC '09) 2008-2009 Wilson Intern.

Object Description
Woman with long hair her arm around a man dressed in jeans and denim jacket both sitting on a park bench in Washington Square Park, NYC, 1965. Printed by Neil Selkirk. Edition 8/75. Signed, titled, dated and numbered by Diane Arbus with copyright and estate ink, hand stamps on the verso of the photograph. TO BE DONATED TO SCRIPPS COLLEGE"

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