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Author Topic: Finding Vivian Maier  (Read 8482 times)
PhillyPhotographer
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« on: December 30, 2010, 11:13:03 AM »
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Amazing ! The find of the century.



http://www.vivianmaier.blogspot.com/
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2010, 11:50:31 AM »
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Thanks for that.  A Diane Arbus prefigure, but in a more outsider-art kind of way.  In finds of old material like this it's sometimes difficult to sort out the artistic merits from the compelling historical interests, but those look pretty inspired in any case.  Wonder if they're gonna develop those mystery rolls?
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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 11:54:22 AM »
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The rolls are being developed and over 10,000 negatives have been scanned with over 90,000 to go. Powerhouse Books will be releasing a book at the end of 2011.

Video

http://www.street-photographers.com/blog/chicago-nanny-discovered-to-be-master-street-photographer-11535.html
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RSL
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 06:31:08 PM »
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Michael, Splendid. Thanks for catching this.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2010, 06:38:07 PM »
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She has good eye.......but "the find of the century"? Of course the century is only like ten years old Grin
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2010, 03:38:40 AM »
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She has good eye.......but "the find of the century"? Of course the century is only like ten years old Grin



Yes, a nice way of looking at images, also a far kinder eye than the Arbus one, which I find very unpleasant in most cases. Maybe Arbus also found something unpleasant in her compulsions - we shall probably never know, the myths are now far too potent and valuable to dispell with any clinical insights.

What I do think is true, however, is that some people do have an ability to be there but to be distant at the same time, sort of insulated from the present in a state of personal invisibility that allows them free space to shoot as they will.

I wonder if any of them give/gave a thought to getting a punch on the nose?

Rob C
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langier
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2010, 02:40:11 PM »
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Really neat stuff!

IMO, Vivian seemed a much more refined photographer than Gary Winogrand who found fame during his lifetime and left thousands of rolls of undeveloped film in the freezer when he passed away. Vivian's work seems more crafted; Gary's more edgy in some ways.

Both leave a tremendous legacy of work!
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Larry Angier
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Justinr
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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2010, 02:56:21 PM »
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The joy of her work lies in the fact that she did it for nobody but herself, no arty sets in various institutions to pander to, no peers jealously guarding admission to their ranks nor a fickle public with ever changing tastes and interests to whom she must market her wares. It bestows upon the collection a purity and value that is quite refined and delicious. Roll on the release of more images.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2010, 04:56:23 PM »
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The joy of her work lies in the fact that she did it for nobody but herself, no arty sets in various institutions to pander to, no peers jealously guarding admission to their ranks nor a fickle public with ever changing tastes and interests to whom she must market her wares. It bestows upon the collection a purity and value that is quite refined and delicious. Roll on the release of more images.

Yes, she photographed only for herself, and saw the world as she wanted to see it.  It is a bit of an anachronism that her work is now being displayed so publicly, but we'd be poorer without it.

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2010, 08:58:37 PM »
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Discovering unknown work by a known photographer is exciting. Discovering an unknown photographer of her caliber is beyond exciting.

Also the donations have topped the goal and the feature length documentary is a go !

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/800508197/finding-vivian-maier-a-feature-length-documentary
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2011, 04:55:12 AM »
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Yes, she photographed only for herself, and saw the world as she wanted to see it.  It is a bit of an anachronism that her work is now being displayed so publicly, but we'd be poorer without it.

Mike.




Now that's a difficult one: it takes several steps into the unknown; how can anyone know what she wanted or whether she simply recorded what she saw? Not the same at all, as the Meerkat always says.

I can only assume we are so bored with the people we already know too well (internet replaces work and reward of personal research) that any fresh face, dead or alive (though possibly difficult for the former), causes instant joy. Yes, she's fine, but no better than many other people right here. What did she do that Russ hasn't for that matter? In cynical mode - strange for me - I'd say that the cat who bought the bag of tricks has more to gain from pushing the deal than most!  But that's just an opinion, of course.

Rob C
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Justinr
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2011, 05:53:07 AM »
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I wonder Rob, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, if your views may be clouded a little by your own experience of photography and it's place and meaning in the world. As I think you have said yourself, you engaged in a 'brutal quest for beauty' whereas Ms Maier would appear to have trod a path in quite the opposite direction, and when beauty does enter this tiny fraction of her work it has it's back to us, we are denied its full presence, only the suggestion of it is allowed. By her avoidance of the attractive she ensures that our viewing of the less blessed is not the confrontation that it otherwise could be, we are prepared to engage with her subjects rather than hurriedly move on and by doing so I for one gain a greater insight into the bowels of the American City than any more leavened account that can be had elsewhere. Many of the photographers of her era were determined to either prove the value of their craft or their view of life, often both, Vivian just got on with it.

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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2011, 10:17:24 AM »
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Some more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbcl2MDtLp0
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Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2011, 10:57:22 AM »
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I wonder Rob, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, if your views may be clouded a little by your own experience of photography and it's place and meaning in the world. As I think you have said yourself, you engaged in a 'brutal quest for beauty' whereas Ms Maier would appear to have trod a path in quite the opposite direction, and when beauty does enter this tiny fraction of her work it has it's back to us, we are denied its full presence, only the suggestion of it is allowed. By her avoidance of the attractive she ensures that our viewing of the less blessed is not the confrontation that it otherwise could be, we are prepared to engage with her subjects rather than hurriedly move on and by doing so I for one gain a greater insight into the bowels of the American City than any more leavened account that can be had elsewhere. Many of the photographers of her era were determined to either prove the value of their craft or their view of life, often both, Vivian just got on with it.



Hi Justin, nice to see somebody actually remember a line out of the website; many thanks for the spiritual lift!

But I don’t think we are really talking about the same things. I have no problem whatsoever with her subject matter – in fact, I think she handles it in a far more sympathetic manner than the obvious female comparator: Arbus.

And neither do I expect to see any beauty in the sense of attractive locations or even people; what I am suggesting is that she is neither any better nor any worse than many of the others doing that type of photography. Also, I certainly have no appetite for examining the underbelly of any city, and I can assure you that even that of some smallish country towns can be as risky a business! Try sleeping in an apartment next to a pub in a small Perthshire market town some weekend… I do not recommend it; young farmers and the terminally unemployed do not make for peaceful sleeping, especially when you are aware that your car is parked quite close by bearing Spanish plates!

However, what strikes me between the eyes is that there is always the one who discovers some ‘treasure’ and sees a way to maximise the find. Lots of promotion certainly helps the exercise along, promotion such as we are providing right now, for example. I’m afraid I see much of this sort of thing as material suitable for the ‘Is it Art?’ thread.

No doubt, should the thing come to fruition and end up catchable here, I’d look.

But to end: I’m certainly not knocking the lady’s work.

Rob C


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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2011, 11:30:41 AM »
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  With only about 10% of the work scanned the best may yet come. While the cynicism that John might benefit from this discovery is baffling, he has a good 4 to 5 years of developing and scanning left. This undertaking is huge and I doubt most would have the patients or fortitude to complete it. You have a woman which is rare enough in street or documentary photography, a huge body of work and not being based in New York City. Some of the better work that I've seen would easily hold up to or exceed that of Bresson, Atget, Arbus, Smith or Evans.
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Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2011, 01:30:17 PM »
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  With only about 10% of the work scanned the best may yet come. While the cynicism that John might benefit from this discovery is baffling, he has a good 4 to 5 years of developing and scanning left. This undertaking is huge and I doubt most would have the patients or fortitude to complete it. You have a woman which is rare enough in street or documentary photography, a huge body of work and not being based in New York City. Some of the better work that I've seen would easily hold up to or exceed that of Bresson, Atget, Arbus, Smith or Evans.


The problem I feel with it is simple: as with one's own work, when money comes into the equation objectivity evaporates like morality at an orgy.

Not having been to many, I admit I could be mistaken about orgies.

Rob C
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PhillyPhotographer
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2011, 04:19:41 PM »
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Opening January 7th

http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/events/dca_tourism/FindingVivianMaier_ChicagoStreetPhotographer.html
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theBike45
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« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2011, 06:32:44 PM »
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After observing her shots, don't think I want to see any more.
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RSL
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« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2011, 02:30:06 PM »
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After observing her shots, don't think I want to see any more.

Why is that Bike? Do they make your own seem unimportant?
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RSL
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2011, 02:49:52 PM »
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Thanks for the compliment, Rob, but I think this lady's work is remarkable. My copy of the first book out of Ms. Maier's pictures just arrived, but my wife insists I wait until Christmas to open it. In the meantime, thanks to the coverage Brooks Jensen gave her in the most recent LensWork, and the posts Michael's put in this thread, I get to see enough of Maier's work to understand we've found another great street photographer.

There are two things I notice about Vivian Maier's work:

First, I'm blown away by the fact she was doing all this with a Rollei. Weegee was out there with his Speed Graphic, but he was a police reporter first and foremost, so he didn't have to try to be inconspicuous.  Seeing what Maier did makes me feel more comfortable about the times I'm out on the street with a D3.

But second, and probably more important, as I looked at Maier's work it struck me for the first time that there's a feminine approach to street photography that's quite different from the masculine approach. I've got a couple of Helen Levitt's books, at least one of Dianne Arbus's, and some of Dorothea Lange's street work scattered among various publications, but it just never struck me before that women take a different approach to the street than do men. How's that for a revelation? ... Well, I guess it isn't, but I've never really noticed it before.
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