When Diane Arbus died in 1971 at the age of 48, she was already a significant influence—even a legend—among serious photographers, although only a small number of her pictures were widely known. The publication of Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph in 1972, and the posthumous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, offered the public its first encounter with Arbus’s achievements. The response was unprecedented.

The monograph of eighty photographs was edited and designed by the painter Marvin Israel, Diane Arbus’s friend and colleague, and by her daughter Doon Arbus. Their goal was to remain faithful to the standards by which Arbus judged her own work, and to how she hoped it would be seen. Universally acknowledged as a timeless masterpiece, and translated into five languages, Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph remains the foundation of her international reputation.

Nearly fifty years has not diminished the impact of these pictures; they penetrate the psyche with the force of a personal encounter, and transform the way we see the world.