PRINT May 1971

Five Photographs by Diane Arbus

ONCE I DREAMED I WAS on a gorgeous ocean liner, all pale, gilded, cupid-encrusted, rococo as a wedding cake. There was smoke in the air, people were drinking and gambling. I knew the ship was on fire and we were sinking, slowly. They knew it too but they were very gay, dancing and singing and kissing, a little delirious. There was no hope. I was terribly elated. I could photograph anything I wanted to.

Nothing is ever the same as they said it was. It’s what I’ve never seen before that I recognize.

There is an old joke about a man who goes into a bar and he sees that the bartender has a banana in his ear so he says, Hey, you have a banana in your ear; and the bartender says, Speak louder please, I can’t hear you because I’ve got a banana in my ear.

Nothing is ever alike. The best thing is the difference. I get to keep what nobody needs.

A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.
Diane Arbus, April 1, 1971