A Family One Evening in a Nudist Camp, PA

1965, Printed later
Silver Gelatin Photograph

The ‘A Diane Arbus Photograph’ stamp, signed, titled, dated, and numbered from edition of 75 by Doon Arbus, the photographer’s daughter, in ink, and with the reproduction rights stamps on the reverse. Printed posthumously by Neil Selkirk

Frame: 22 x 21 1/2 inches

Diane Arbus’s photograph, “A Family One Evening in a Nudist Camp, PA,” offers a compelling glimpse into the unconventional world of nudist communities in 1960s America. In this image, a naked family of three sits serenely in a field, basking in the natural surroundings. The husband and wife are fully nude, save for small accessories like sunglasses and sandals, while their son wears only shorts, glasses, and shoes.

Arbus’s exploration of nudist camps provided her with a rich source of material, allowing her to challenge societal norms and push the boundaries of traditional photography. Her candid approach captures the essence of these communities, revealing the humanity and complexity of individuals who choose to live outside mainstream conventions.

The juxtaposition of nudity against the backdrop of everyday family life challenges viewers to confront their preconceptions and biases. Arbus’s willingness to confront taboo subjects and her ability to capture the raw authenticity of her subjects set her apart as a pioneering figure in the world of photography.

As John Szarkowski, Director of the Department of Photography at MoMA, aptly notes, “Arbus’s photographs penetrate the psyche with all the force of a personal encounter and, in doing so, transform the way we see the world and the people in it.”

Through her lens, she invites us to reconsider our notions of beauty, morality, and identity, ultimately broadening our understanding of the human experience.

“Nudist camps were a terrific subject for me. I’ve been to three of them over a period of years. The first time I went was in 1963 when I stayed a whole week, and that was really thrilling. It was the seediest camp, and for that reason, for some reason, it was also the most terrific. It was really falling apart.” – Diane Arbus.