IU

Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

A Family on their Lawn One Sunday Afternoon in Westchester, New York

The development of the instant camera in the 1950s made it cheaper and easier for the average family to capture its activities on film. Contemporary photographers later adapted the square framing device and raw quality of observation found in the “snapshot” to the large format. Diane Arbus used this aesthetic to show the foibles of contemporary society, from freaks and misfits to America’s consumer culture. While ostensibly revealing a modern notion of leisure, this image conveys a bitingly ironic vision of the suburban lifestyle and the concept of the nuclear family during the late 1960s. It contrasted in the same portfolio with her earlier image of a working-class Brooklyn family with a disabled child going for a Sunday outing.

Diane Arbus
American, 1923–1971
A Family on their Lawn One Sunday Afternoon in Westchester, New York from A Box of 10 Photographs
1968 (printed ca. 1973)
Gelatin silver print
Image: 14 3/4 x 14 3/4 in. (37.5 x 37.5 cm); sheet: 19 7/8 x 16 in. (50.5 x w. 40.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 81.25.1

Large image not available.