1960 –
Age of Post-Colonialism

Photography post 1960:
Diane Arbus' Boy with a Toy Hand Grenade

Diane Arbus, Boy with a Toy Grenade, 1962, gelatin silver print,
15-1/2 x 15-1/16 inches or 39.4 x 38.3 cm
(
Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris, Dr. Shana Gallagher-Lindsay

Your Comments (2)

Previous Comments

Widoki wrote on Monday, January 03, 2011

This photo is terrifying. Even though it is posed, it reminds us of war and all those children indocrinated in hate ideology.

Sarah C wrote on Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Diane Arbus is a brilliant photographer who has always inspired my own work. I find her work intriguing, exciting, horrific, and beautiful. I think I am specifimcally drawn to the characters that she captures. In this case, Arbus captures a young boy playing with a grenade. However, it is not the grenade that captures my attention, but the boy’s gruesomely clenched left hand. Unfortunately, I do not agree with Widoki’s comment that this photograph is terrifying. I think this photograph has an absolutely beautiful composition and subject matter.There are certainly different ways in which a portrait can be read. The artist can choose the sitter in order to show their importance, in a way, to pay homage to their character. On the contrary, an artist can take advantage of their sitter, and portray him/her however the artist likes with the result being that the portrait is left for public consumption. There is certainly a push and pull relationship happening with the boy, he is not passively gazed upon by the viewer. Instead he stares out playfully at the viewer, the light coming in from behind his head creating a halo effect. Thus, Arbus creates an interesting relationship between elevating the subject, while also humanizing them.

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Where and When

Photography<br>Diane Arbus
New York, USA
1962

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