Monday, April 12, 2010

Give A Hand Grenade To A Baby

This weekend I was reminded by my friend and photographer Josh Yospyn of Worn Magazine about what Norman Mailer had to say about Diane Arbus. Mailer said that "Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like giving a hand grenade to a baby." Arthur Lubow, in an article for the NYT writes that Mailer said that "after seeing how she had captured him, leaning back in a velvet armchair with his legs splayed cockily." I think Mailer was having a laugh. The most famous Arbus photo, "Child With Toy Hand Grenade, 1962", was shot the year before the Mailer portrait.

Norman Mailer at home, 1963. © Diane Arbus

Child with Toy Hand Grenade, 1962 © Diane Arbus


  1. I love both these photographs. That quote is mentioned in her biography, but in context to photographing Mailer in bed (not a chair). She climbed on top of him and (metaphorically) assaulted him with her camera. Just imagine what it took to intimidate Norman Mailer. But I think she did.

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  3. I really like the two photographs. The portrait of Mailer shows how comfortable he is with the shooter.

  4. Very nice, thanks for sharing.