If you are a fan of photography and are not yet familiar with the fascinating and mysterious story of Ms Vivian Maier's photographs, you owe it to yourself to click on a link or two at the bottom of this post. Who is Vivian Maier? I'll try my best to give a quick snapshot of what is quickly becoming the Vivian Maier legend. In short, Vivian was never a professional photographer. Rather, she spent most of her adult life as a Chicago nanny. Taking care of others' children may have been her occupation but her true life's calling was hidden from world view until shortly after her death. Vivian Maier enjoyed capturing the comings and goings of strangers on the streets of mid-century Chicago as well as the cities far and wide that she traveled to on Holiday. Street photography. Camera in tow, she captivates us with her ability to compose and expose - the likes of which many feel rival anything produced by trained masters of street photography. Her eye adeptly attuned to capturing human emotions, clever vignettes and the various oddities of urban humanity. It's believed she never really shared her images with anyone. Never married? No children of her own? No close friendships to speak of? So far, she remains a bit of a mystery. Passionate about photography to the end, she was also an intensely private person. Photography, as it seems, was an escape for her. So, as the story goes, fate had plans for the wealth of imagery Ms Vivian had amassed with her various cameras, most notably a Rolleiflex TLR and later a Leica Rangefinder. In the twilight of her long life and living alone in Chicago, she took a terrible fall one wintery afternoon. She lived out the remains of her days in a nursing home. As a result, the contents of a storage unit belonging to Vivian Maier fell into collection for nonpayment - destined for the auction block. Enter John Maloof, Ron Slatterly, & Jeff Goldstein - current champions of Ms Vivian's work, all of whom stumbled upon bits of her life and imagery from the above mentioned Chicago auction. Each captivated by the quality and breadth of her photos. Each man choosing to share their discoveries with the world so that we too can come to appreciate her artistic eye. In the end, all of this excitement also begs the question: What do you suppose Ms Vivian would have made of all this publicity? This past spring I attended a viewing of Vivian's works at the Chicago Cultural Center - curated from Mr John Maloof's collection. I too was captivated, like the many others in attendance. Her images are now beginning to appear in galleries around the globe, encouraging others to examine for themselves a new found celebrity in the world of Street Photography: Vivian Maier. All my best - Cate.
I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them.
The more comfortable I become with photography technique and the workings of my cameras - my tools - the more I crave studying the history of art and artists. I still collect books on technique but more and more these days I find myself borrowing library books and even making an occasional coffee table book purchase (these big gigantic tombs of knowledge) on the people who create the art we love to love.
I first studied the work of Diane Arbus back in college.
Every now and then I seem to come back to her, grab a book or two from the library and delve a little deeper into Diane's world. If you are not familiar with the intriguing and mysterious world of Ms Arbus, you may want to start with a quick google search. Although, to really know her work, I encourage you to read a bit about the thoughts (and controversy) behind her images. In my opinion, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. -Cate
Ps. If you find you like the work of Diane Arbus, you might also be intrigued by the genius of an up and coming photographer who's said to be inspired by her style as well. Federico Erra. Federico's Flickr Page and Federico's Blog
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
A bit of fact on the much celebrated and talented artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973):
It's said that he died in the middle of a dinner party he and his wife were hosting, for friends, at their home in France. His last words: "Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink any more." And then he dropped dead. What a grand finish for a brilliant life.
And on that note, Elvis has left the building. -Cate