Russian Midget Friends in a Living Room on 100th Street, New York City
Average: 5 (2 votes)
ajardini's picture

Sr. Editor

Diane Arbus is an American photographer who made a living seeking out and snapping pictures of the so-called “outcasts” of society. 

Now, I know the ‘60s were a long time ago, but I find a lot her work to be a bit exploitative. Sort of a “check out this weirdo” kindof a vibe. This photograph however, despite the title, (little person is the preferred term for an individual with dwarfism) strikes me as less of a spectacle. 

Where some of Arbus’ work can seem like you’re being encouraged to gawk at some non-normative difference, here I find myself thinking more about the bonds formed in a community.  We know that they are connected by living as immigrants in New York City and living life as little people.  I imagine both labels were especially hard in this time and place, but there’s something heartwarming about the way they hold hands in their home.  Let’s call this one a testament to friendship instead of the Arbus “freak show” and praise the photo for helping us think about experiences outside our own realm of knowledge.