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Vivan Maier negatives found @ auction, uncovers her street photography.

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by staticantics, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. staticantics

    staticantics SC Regular

    136
    Oct 15, 2013
    Central California
    Chris
    This is fascinating: http://www.webburgr.com/vivian_maier/

    And something i'd be very interested in watching:

    [video=youtube;2o2nBhQ67Z]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o2nBhQ67Z[/video]
     
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  2. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Can't get your link to work for some reason, but there are a few other threads on Vivian that may have some other interesting information or links:

    https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=16927&highlight=vivian
    https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=11730&highlight=vivian
    https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=8533&highlight=vivian
    https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=4755&highlight=vivian
    https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=2090&highlight=vivian
    https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=940&highlight=vivian

    Maloof ran a kickstarter project on putting together the negatives and a film. I was an early backer, but he has yet to deliver on what he promised for backing -- a copy of the film.

    But it is indeed a fascinating story!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yeah, not a NEW story - her images were discovered at least 2-3 years ago and there was quite an uproar about them then. But it's still a very compelling story nonetheless.

    -Ray
     
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Aside from the hype surrounding the story, her photos are wonderful and present an amazing view of Chicago at the time. I often think of her as someone who might have been a member of a forum like this if she had lived today.
     
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  5. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    I bought the first book released. Love her work.


    Sent from my iPhone using SeriousCompacts mobile app
     
  6. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Yeah, that is one thing. The story is so interesting, but IMO her work should overshadow the story, and there's a danger of "story-burnout" in general.
     
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  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    She's actually one of my strongest inspirations as someone who plays at shooting on the street. Because I don't consider most of her work to have great artistic content (although a few of them are incredibly artistic). But the bulk of her work is just really amazing documentary photography. You look at a bunch of her work done in the same time and place and you're THERE. Look at her B&W stuff from the '50s and then look at her color work from the '70s and she's documenting very very different eras and places and in both case, you're transported back to those eras and locales and you're struck by just how overwhelmingly different it all looks and feels today. And to me, that kind of shooting is in reach for a lot of us. I see the work of some street shooters who I consider to be fairly brilliant artists and I feel like I could never aspire to that kind of work. But I can aspire to do what she did. I'm not under any illusions of being in the same league with someone like her in terms of quality of work, but I think if someone stumbled onto the best of my work in 40-50 years, they'd get a pretty good feel for what it looked and felt like to be alive today in the Philly, Atlantic City, New York area. Very few of my shots contain much "art" and what little there may be of it is mostly accidental, but I think I'm making a bit of a document of this time and this area. And I think quite a number of folks on this forum and elsewhere are also doing this kind of work. Most of it will never be seen after we're gone, but I like the idea that if someone were to dig it up, it would make for a pretty interesting little tour through this time and place.

    So I'm pretty deeply grateful to this lonely and unappreciated (in her time) woman.

    -Ray
     
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  8. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I'm ignorant on what constitutes art in street photography (I might be ignorant of what constitutes art in general), but I see a lot of abstract stuff in street, stuff with intentional blur, off-angles, etc. It never interested me. I also see stuff where it's really close up on the person. I like Vivian's stuff because many times the people are in context. You feel a part of their lives. Not just that they are props in a shot. Maybe that's what you mean Ray, but as I wouldn't recognize the art side, I can only respond to what I see in Vivian's work.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    On a side note, Rollei should sponsor a tour of Vivian's work to travel around the US. They could have a "buy a rollei here" as you come out of the exhibition. I mean, who doesn't feel like they want to grab a square crop, medium format camera and see what they could do after seeing her work.

    Better -- maybe Fuji should add a Instax Mini in square format with a rollei-like waist-level viewfinder. The hipsters (and me) would line up to get one :)

    edit -- oops Lomo already has something like that http://shop.lomography.com/us/cameras/lomo-lubitel-166
     
  10. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    You'd have to get the local vet to shoot me with a tranquilizer dart and then drag me away barely conscious.
     
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  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Well, yeah, art is always in the eye of the beholder. For me, it's more of a "know it when I see it" kind of thing, which obviously only applies to my personal undefined criteria, not anyone else's. But I see some shots that just work on so many levels, from obvious to subtle that strike me as highly artistic. Whereas MOST street photography, including hers, is 95% content with enough basic composition to come across and grab the eye. Some are highly contextual and some are damn near portraits, so there's that difference, but even within those areas there's art and documentary, or at least that's my perception of it. I find some of her shots just kind of breath-takingly beautiful while many aren't but still convey the time and place so well that I can spend a lot of time looking at them. The former strike me as art, the rest as documentary...

    Regarding trying to sell Rolleis with her work, man, not for me. I shot with Rollie's and knockoffs back in High School and I wouldn't go back. Give me any of today's cameras with a flip up rear screen anyday over having to cope with those cut-glass viewers. ANY of them. I have fond memories of my old '68 VW too, but I drove a modern iteration of the old Beetle on vacation in Mexico a few years ago and I was reminded of how overwhelming BETTER cars are now. I like the memories but would never want to be stuck with another one as an actual CAR! Sort of the same with Rollies....

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Heh heh heh. Yeah, what HE said!

    -Ray
     
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  13. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    This is just conjecture. I dont know much about it, but I wonder if you get the dual documentary/art from Vivian, because she never self curated. Only after she died did her work come to light, and now even the most unartful pic is interesting because of its documentary nature. How many HCB or WE shots were curated out by the photographes themselves, thinking they were unworthy, and we only get to see their best stuff? Does the lack of mundane shots from them make it seem like their quality of shots was higher?

    Vivians legacy is, i think, more than 100K photos. How many do we have from her contemporaries?
     
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    That's a good point. I don't consider them mundane but there are different levels of art in some than others. And it may just be that these guys who bought the negatives aren't as discriminating as she would be. OTOH since she didn't even bother to develop most of them, let alone print them, no way to know. Evidently, she got all of her pleasure out the process of shooting and didn't care a lot about the finished product. Or maybe her resources were limited and she couldn't swing a darkroom and all of the stuff needed for developing and printing in those days. I'm glad they're not more heavily culled, though, because I love that more documentary work too...

    -Ray
     
  15. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    :rofl: I always wanted a TLR as well.
     
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  16. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Couldn't have said that better myself. Well done!

    Oh that is so dangerous, would have to dangle my Yashicamats around my neck to discourage more buying. But you are right, it would be a great marketing angle IF the cameras weren't too out of reach monetarily speaking. Maybe a selection from the Rollei to the Lubitel.