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Extending the standards of 'beauty'

Posted September. 26, 2022 07:37,   

Updated September. 26, 2022 07:37


“Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They’ve already passed their test in life. They’re aristocrats.” (excerpt from Diane Arbus' “Photographer fascinated to the Prohibited World”)

I was walking by when I stopped looking at an old lady. She had an umbrella in one hand and a cane in the other hand. As if she had polio when she was young, the old lady swayed left and right quite a lot as she took every step. She would usually hold only the cane, but she also brought out the umbrella because of the rainy weather forecast. Depending on the umbrella and cane, the old lady took difficult steps to the subway station entrance. I looked at the back of the old lady for quite a while and felt deeply moved, a feeling which I had not felt before.

Diane Arbus (1923-1971) is an American photographer who featured a wide range of American people. People with disabilities, teen couples, nudist families, a clown with tattooed face… the extraordinary subjects she photographed somewhat make people a little nervous. However, if looked at carefully, the subjects of the photographs exhibit their own beauty and throw a little more fundamental question about life, such as “The standards of beauty, shouldn't it be extended further?” “How solid is the reality of what I believe to be reasonable amid the familiarity?”

As with the figures in Diane Arbus’ pictures, the old lady we ran into on the street may offer us an exceptional opportunity to ask ourselves what life is.