Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vivian Maier

Not sure whether this humble nanny would like to be known, but she is bound to be referred to as an unknown Henri cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, Eugene Atget or Garry Winogrand.

More examples of her work are available here and here.

Looking at these vintage photographs, I can't help but wonder how many other Vivian Maiers are left undiscovered.  Street photography must be Vivian Maier's second nature that she did not realise what an incredible eye she had.  Living in a man's world and probably a bit introverted, she might find it easier to stuff the negatives and prints under the bed than making an effort to show them to people.  Some critics say that her work does not stand out from other street photographs. "Not enough irony or wit, and, not keeping a distance from their subjects", they claim.  What?  Since when has getting close to the subjects become a vice, and adding irony or wit a virtue?  The greatness of Maier's work lies in her connection with the subjects, not any calculated irony or wit.  I am pretty certain that she never pre-contemplated a ironic or witty scene, and waited for the perfect magic moment to come; she just brought her Rollei to her eyes when she saw something interesting and pressed the shutter. That was it.

If the purpose of life is to create something that will last, she successfully achieved this very purpose.  Her work is going to last.

Good that there were films and nothing digital half a century ago.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great photographs!


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