Diane Arbus. A Jewish giant at home with his parents, in the Bronx, N.Y., 1970.
Eddie Carmel was the son of immigrants from Tel Aviv. He worked as a main attraction in a circus in New York, as “The World’s Tallest Man”. Eddie Carmel started suffering from acromegaly (a condition in which the body produces too much growth hormone) when he was fifteen, due to an inoperable pituitary tumor. His condition got worse over the years, and in order to break his isolation, he started to work in show business. Diane Arbus met Eddie in 1960, ten years before the famous picture, which was the centerpiece of an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York last year. A close read of the story can be read in Arthur Lubow’s article.
Patricia Bosworth comments in “Diane Arbus – a biography” about the early fascination of the photographer with variations of body and biology – like purple birthmarks, albinism, identical twins, triplets, dwarfism. According to Arbus: “I really believe that there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them”.