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Unknown Chicago street photographer's work surfaces

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Hyubie, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    This feature is amazing. The few shots they featured look extraordinary.
    • Like Like x 6
  2. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Amazing story, the video was really interesting.
  3. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
  4. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Hyubie and Lisa - thank you both for these links. I will definitely give them both a read and have bookmarked them to read later.
  5. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Well, she's not unknown anymore.
    In her passing she's teaches us that our images live on after we are gone.
    A valuable lesson.
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thanks for sharing this

    Thanks for sharing this - very interesting. Many of us don't especially like our own work, yet others may think it's "very good". Sadly, this person probably never shared her work and went undiscovered.
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Its sad for us maybe, or for the people of her time who didn't get to see her work. But maybe for her it was exactly how she wanted it. For a lot of people the joy is in the creative process, not the commercial success or fame that comes to the very few. Turning pro has to change the whole process to some degree and she probably wasn't interested. I can certainly understand that. Going out and shooting the world as you see it has to be very different when its only an act of love than when its ALSO a public expectation and people are waiting anxiously for your next creation. Its a rare animal who can combine art and commerce and do both well...

  8. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    Eugene Atget photographed Paris throughout his life in the 19th - early 20th century without recognition and was only discovered much later and introduced to the photographic and artistic community by Bernice Abbott.
  9. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Kertesz had to come to America to be really discovered.
    His work is by far the most touching.
  10. SamSam

    SamSam Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 21, 2010
    What an incredible story. Thanks so much for posting this.
  11. dsteady

    dsteady Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2010
    I saw the show here in its opening week. It was well curated, and she was really, really good. I can't recommend it enough.
  12. zpuskas

    zpuskas Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara, CA
    How many other photographers suffer thesame fate?
    Van Gogh never sold a pinting during his life.
    .....lessons on life.
  13. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill (really)

    Perhaps Vivian should have a thread in MU-43. I first wrote about her on this site in September of last year, and BillN wrote about her last January. She clearly deserves our attention.

    I stand by what I said originally (except that she wasn't an immigrant from France. She was a US citizen who lived there for quite a period).
    Because I'm a fan of street photography, I've been blown away by the recently discovered work of a photographer named Vivian Maier. An immigrant from France she lived and died in Chicago — in obscurity. After her death last year, her work was discovered by the man who bought her photographs, negatives and undeveloped film in a sale of the contents of her storage locker.

    If you want to see great work, have a look at the blog where her photos are being published: Vivian Maier - Her Discovered Work

    I believe that her work will soon be regarded as being up there with the legends.

  14. Jimbo3rd

    Jimbo3rd Photog GoGo

    Mar 10, 2011
    Central Florida/Disney area
    Jim Sullivan
    What a beautiful story. Vivian's work was meant to be discovered. Brought back so many memories of an era gone by. As a young man I did quite a bit of B&W Street photography only to have my store of negetives lost forever in one of the many moves that I made.
  15. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 All-Pro


    Received this comment from a friend who is a very established photographer:

    "We refer to her as the secret love child of Robert Frank and Diane Arbus."
  16. bigfoot

    bigfoot Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 19, 2011
    Watched the video and was amazed -- 100,000 negatives and even more sitting undeveloped. You have to admire that sort of dedication! Thanks for sharing the info...
  17. ksn

    ksn Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 6, 2011
    It's a little depressing. So much time spent (i understand it's a hobby, but...), she received no recognition while alive, and most of it undeveloped.
  18. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    I think (although I'm no MD) she qualifies as obssessive-compulsive, like graphomaniacs and such. Very few maniacs have real talent, although some can't help writing or drawing, sometimes just the same word over and over again. But a tiny slice do have both the compulsive behavior and the talent.

    She certainly fit that case.

  19. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    There was a great line from Vicky Christina Barcelona where Javier Bardem is taking one of the young women out to meet his father, who he explained was a poet. The woman asked his name, which she'd never heard, to which Bardem explained he never shared his work publicly because he feels there is not enough love in the world. Whether not enough to love to deserve to be blessed by it, to fully appreciate it, etc, I don't recall. So, who knows what motivates people. Maybe she really didn't care or maybe she really DID care and didn't want any recognition or the bother and hassle of promotion, dealing with buyers and sellers and galleries and the whole fine arts establishment. Maybe, like Cartier-Bresson, who didn't have a taste for the darkroom at all, she felt that she was the hunter, not the cook (or the waiter).

    I don't see any part of it as sad. Nobody could do what she did as well as she did unless she loved it with a very BIG passion. And she obviously did a TON of photography, which was obviously feeding her passion. Jerry Garcia was once asked about the Dead's very liberal policy towards taping of their concerts and his line was something like, 'hey, they can do whatever they want with it - once we've played it we're done with it until we play it again and it will be completely different that time". Maybe she felt like that - once she'd taken the photograph, she was done with it. We're just lucky she saved the negs, now WE get to see what she saw, but she probably didn't care about that at the time.

    • Like Like x 1
  20. harrysue

    harrysue Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2011
    I didn't watch the cited video, but I saw her show at the Chicago Cultural Center today. It's the last weekend of the exhibit and I'm glad I didn't miss it. I am recalling that less than 100 prints were up. Included were her Rollei, Exakta SLR, and a Leica RF. She had a good eye for a shot, the photos were well done, and she took both street candids and street portraits. One shot I especially liked was a little boy rolling a white wall tire on a street with about six other things also happening.

    Didn't seem sad at all. Perhaps the video cast her in a different light.
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