by Art Chantry:
this is a contact sheet of (likely) the single most famous image by photographer diane arbus (she pronounced pronounced it de-AHN). it’s so cool to see the out-takes. one of greatest ‘eyes’ of all time.
(see link at end)…Colin Wood is still skinny. In 1962, the scrawny kid was immortalized in Diane Arbus’ 1962 photograph “Child with a toyhand grenade in Central Park, NYC.” Today, Wood lives in Glendale, Ca., with his wife and two kids. “Just follow the racket,” says Wood as he gives directions to his home. Sure enough, the second floor duplex is filled on a recent afternoon with the sounds of 5- year old Mulligan and 2-year old Jasper as they hammer away on building blocks.
The walls are dominated by the children’s’ artwork, but next to the refrigerator hangs a reminder of Wood’s boyhood in the form of a Grenade Boy poster sent to him by a friend, who spotted it on a kiosk in Denmark. “I got this e-mail from a kid I went to school with saying, ‘hey dude, this is you!’ ”
Wood’s home office/rumpus room is crammed with toys, beach balls, and books he’s purchased at garage sales. Here, Wood, barefoot, dressed in shorts and T- shirt, spends his days selling insurance over the phone.
But as he ponders Arbus’ gift for portraiture, he quickly warms to the subject at hand, quoting R.D. Laing, Andre Gide and Franz Kafka.
“I have to say, (Arbus) felt a real empathy with that kid — with me. My childhood was not a comfortable one. My mother and father split up when I was very young. I had asthma. I always felt like I wasn’t up to snuff, and I was alone in many ways. I was a troubled boy.”
The day he was snapped by Arbus, Wood was, as usual, fighting imaginary battles in Central Park. “Near the 72nd Street entrance,” he says, “there used to be this whole bunch of woods back there where we’d play war games. That grenade was one of two I bought at the five and ten. The second one went out the window when I tried to blow up the alley behind our apartment.”
Wood doesn’t remember much about the few minutes he spent with Arbus, and he never saw her again after that afternoon in the park. But he’s had plenty of time to ponder the alchemy that transpired between them. “There’s a sadness in her that she also saw in me.” Wood says Arbus picked up on “this need, which was very big in me at the time, to be accepted and appreciated or paid attention to. I was not directed, but there was a collusion of some kind. There’s almost this ‘is this what you want?’ feeling on my face.”
Re-creating the expression, Wood screws up his face: “Exasperated.”
…So, back to Arbus for a minute. She unmasked, or opened up, or sought out her own heart in people (she photographed), but I think she peeled away the wrong thing. As much as I find beauty and love and sympathy in what she did, I also think Arbus went down this pathway that brought her to an inconclusive place. What she ultimately found, I think, is nothing. When I look at her art, I see a woman who was misled in many ways by herself.”
If Arbus’ quest proved ultimately unsatisfying, Wood acknowledges that the artist captured some extraordinary moments along the way. “There was something about Arbus — she had a hunch about people, and she always found something that revealed the common denominator, the grittiness, of our common humanity.”
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Post-developments-For-the-subject-of-Arbus-2581756.php#ixzz259VFjJgg