"Theres a kind of power thing about the camera. Everyone knows you've got some edge, that you're carrying some slight magic which does something to them. It fixes them, in a way. "
- Diane Arbus
I heard this quote while watching a short documentary on Diane Arbus, one of the greatest photographers that America has ever known. Having been made in the early 70's, the quality of the movie was somewhat grainy, but the story came through clear as crystal, as did her photos and the intention behind each one.
Shortly before watching this, I had watched the micro-doc about Brandon Stanton (viewable below), a man who moved to New York simply to take photos. Untrained, he shot continually with a raw presence, attempting to capture any and all sorts of individuals who inhabit the diverse landscape of New York City. This personal project went on unnoticed, until he decided to create a facebook page. That page was entitled, "Humans of New York."
After watching the separate accounts of these two artists, I felt that there was a thread of interest tying he and Diane together, along with many other photographers, artists, humanitarians, anthropologists, musicians, and so on. This list could go on for a very long time. Because at our core, we all have a sincere interest in what it means to be human.
Their words and sentiments sounded strangely similar to me, like the same phrase being said in different languages. Diane got a great deal of joy from meeting people, experiencing their intimate surroundings, and capturing them in a moment of honesty. Brandon seems to be identical in this way. It's magical to see such milestones being set in one genre of creativity and expression that are moving forward, towards the light. The torch grows brighter the farther it is carried.
The quality of each documentary was entirely different; one being old, uncrisp, faded, and the other appeared new, and fashionably edited. And yet, this matters very little in the end. What matters most is the message, and both came through flawlessly.