It’s a photo of a burlesque actress in her dressing room. Sat on a chair with her legs crossed, she is in a rather sexy position and locking at the photographer. Moreover, she has a lot of make-up on her face and she is dressed with feathers and sequins. But there is something weird about her, we can see her breasts out of her dress which is in contrast with her natural position.
The way she is dressed reminds me of Jacky Kennedy and women of the 60’s. There are plenty of costumes beside her. I think that this moment represents the time when the actress is turning into somebody else, she recovers a mask and takes on the role.
However, Diane Arbus thought that everyone was a character who played a role on Earth; each day corresponded to a scene of the life where everyone was a player. So that, we can say that this woman played many roles, including hers, everyday.
I think Diane Arbus asked this woman to pose for her and to dress and have make-up as if she was going on stage. It was maybe to show the sexy aspect of the woman that she asked her to take her breasts out of her dress. When we look at that, we obviously think about a prostitute and not an actress. The goal of this picture is perhaps to denounce that actresses of this era had to be sexy and arouse desire in their work. “Be sexy or you won’t succeed”, could be the title of this photo. It shows that women were considered as sexual objects. Incidentally, equality between men and women is still a taboo subject nowadays.
In my opinion, the artist also wanted to show that we can easily turn into someone else. If I was in this photo, I would feel surprised, skeptical and a little embarrassed to stand beside an actress with her breasts out of her dress and looking to Diane Arbus as natural as possible. I would question Diane Arbus about the meaning of this photo and how she took it, indeed we can’t see the photographer in the mirror which is exactly in front of us.
I altered my perception of photography because this exhibition shows that we can get people to reflect about a lot of things through a photo. Moreover Diane Arbus took pictures of people who were not exactly “normal”. I think other people should see this exhibition, just to have a new look on trisomics and midgets.