Diane Arbus

Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in pro war parade, N.Y.C. 1967

About this artwork

This picture shows how ambiguous the reading of a photograph can be. At first glance the boy looks like a wholesome, middle-class American adolescent, but there could be something more sinister in his sober expression. With his traditional boater and bow tie, childlike prominent ears and American flag he is the image of a patriotic American citizen. But when you look closer you can see the large badge on his lapel reads "Support Our Boys in Vietnam". Although this message may just seem patriotic, the picture was taken during the Vietnam War at a time when there were widespread anti-war protests, and Arbus’s flash also picks out a small white badge bearing the pro-war slogan: "Bomb Hanoi". It appears that this boy holds extreme opinions at odds with the viewer’s first impression of youthful innocence.

  • title:
    Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in pro war parade, N.Y.C. 1967
  • accession number:
    AR00507
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • date created:
    1967
  • measurements:
    37.20 x 37.30 cm (framed: 61.90 x 62.00 x 1.90 cm)
  • credit line:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus