Revisit Groundbreaking Photos by Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus, Triplets in Their Bedroom, New Jersey, 1963. Photo: © The Estate of Diane Arbus; LLC

The book Arbus Friedlander Winogrand: New Documents, 1967 revisits the groundbreaking 1967 Museum of Modern Art exhibition “New Documents,” which presented work by Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand. Fifty years ago, the three photographers were presented together not because of their similar styles, but because of the distinct ways in which they revolutionized the photographer-subject relationship.

“Each has a distinct and personal sense of the uses of photography and the meanings of the world,” curator John Szarkowski wrote for the museum’s original wall display. “What they hold in common is the belief that the commonplace is worth looking at, and the courage to look at it with a minimum of theorizing.” Previously, American documentary photographers often approached imagery like a social responsibility, aiming to spark change. But Arbus, Friedlander, and Winogrand pioneered a new approach of relating to their subjects and capturing outsiders. Arbus faced many of her subjects directly, while Friedlander often used reflections and signs to capture the urban American landscape. Winogrand worked with movement and contrast, focusing on how people related to one another and their surroundings.

“Their aim has been not to reform life, but to know it,” Szarkowski wrote. The book, out April 25 from MoMA, features full-page reproductions of the 94 photographs in the exhibition, as well as mementos — like a note on a napkin that Arbus wrote to Szarkowski, detailing how she wanted to crop one of her photographs, and a handwritten list of people Arbus wanted to invite to the opening. Click ahead to see images from the book.

Arbus Friedlander Winogrand: New Documents, 1967 by Sarah Hermanson Meister

If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

Revisit Groundbreaking Photos by Diane Arbus