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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    I have all of Fred Pickers Notes, in the 70's and 80's I worked at photography as a printer and lived and died by his notes and some of the photo mags of the time. It was my only connection to the outside world of photography.
    She is of an era even before the FP notes and she worked it seems relentlessly at exposing film, Was there a photo culture in Chicago at that time ??
    In the 1950s people like Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind were teaching at the Institute of Design in Chicago, where one of the founding directors was László Moholy-Nagy. Ray Metzker was one of the students there in the mid to late 1950s. There was a lot of strong and innovative photography being produced in Chicago in that era, and I would assume there was a wider awareness of it in the city, but don't have any evidence for that. I think art and photography magazines would have been the main source of information for the general public back then. It would be interesting to see what publications were available in Chicago and the types of articles that were included in them.

  2. #52
    Chrismat's Avatar
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    I think someone who isn't a pro can create photographs as good as someone who is a professional. I think Maier falls into that category. I think she had a great eye and it doesn't matter whether or not if she made a living from photography, I think we are all better off having access to her work.

  3. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel1972 View Post
    Just saw the BBC documentary. Awe inspiring to say the least! My jaw dropped at the sight of many of her photos that I had never seen before. All of them touched me in a way or another. Especially when you get to see some of them in sequence from the same roll. Her hit rate was truly phenomenal! She was not a pro, and thus couldn't afford the luxury of shooting rolls after rolls on a subject, trying to get lucky. She pre-edited her work in her mind by making each frame count. That's why I hope we can get to see an as much complete body of work of hers as possible. To my mind she is the essence of a pure artist, working only for her own satisfaction. Discovering her and her work is a tremendous lucky event in the history of photography. I believe her recognition will only grow with time. She documented a place and time with a unique eye like no other photographer, no matter how talented or recognized, could. Her body of work is priceless.
    Wow. I thought it was terrible. The only person with any authority (on the medium at least) was Meyerowitz and he barely said a thing. The collectors were money grabbing idiots with no insights and the people who knew her... all they could say was "she was antisocial" and to be honest, they came across that way themselves. The only time my interest piqued was when they actually showed a bit of the exhibition, like you say, with whole rolls printed large on the wall as contact strips. Perfect way of illustrating a day in the life of an obsessive photographer, and got me thinking about this as a presentation form in general. However, that was 30 seconds of an hour long programme. I'm non the wiser.

    Compare it with this one on William Klein, also by Imagine and a really entertaining and informing watch. One of the best photography documentaries I've seen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnN9LMvjM7Y

    You could tell they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel to make the Maier film.
    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde

  4. #54
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noble View Post
    This is not about "slamming" someone's work. This is about discussing the rubric by which you anoint an artist "one of the greatest" of all time. By default if you say they are the greatest or one of the greatest that means you rank them above all or most others. Many of us could argue you are "slamming" the work of everyone else if you aren't looking at the situation holistically.

    And why is it that there are some people on this forum that feel if they disagree with someone's reasoning for ranking a third party's art work that must mean the person they disagree with has a crappy portfolio. Guy's if you have a point make it. Don't just blast portfolios you've never seen. I've seen people with incredible portfolios say incredibly stupid things. Critiquing a portfolio you've never seen is an odd way to take the moral high ground.



    Jesus Christ!

    For the record I think the vast majority of people on this forum think Maier's portfolio contains a lot of nice pictures. We are merely having an esoteric fine arts debate about her being one of the greatest. Take it easy.
    No, I know. Was just joking, as some people actually said that here about another photographer's work.
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

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  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noble View Post
    If I like a picture, I like a picture. It doesn't matter who took it. And if I like an artist I like an artist whether they've been overexposed on the internet or not.

    My problem with Maier is I've never seen anyone say she accomplished anything extraordinary. To me it would seem her picture taking was a manifestation of some kind of mental disorder. If you walk around with a camera and take thousands upon thousands of pictures over the course of decades there are bound to be some winners. That is not the hallmark of a great artist. I do like the fact she documented a lot of mundane things. I like documenting things too. I wouldn't call a lot of what I do fine art though.
    Which mental disorder is present when someone diagnoses a dead person they didn't know with a mental disorder based on photographs they took?

  6. #56
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    So I actually think she would be here , most likely under an assumed name , jumping in here and there where she felt comfortable talking.
    Hi Bob,

    I'd like to think she might have been here, yes. I'd love to ask her directly about her work, instead of indirectly relying on the opinions of armchair "authorities" who, like myself, never even met the photographer.

    Pity that she wasn't privy back in the day to feedback from all of these current authorities we are blessed with today. Maybe she'd have been able to avoid all of the horrors of failing in the 1950s to live up to the fads... err, standards... of the 2010s. Poor woman didn't schmooze with celebrities, have a high-powered agent, and probably never even heard of the Rule of Thirds. How could her work have had any lasting impact whatsoever? Why did she even bother?

    Over the years I have looked at many reproductions of HCB photographs. My sense is that he wanted very much to make them because he had something he wanted very badly to say. But there is a difference for me when I look at Ms. Maier's "lesser" photographs. In her case I get the distinct feeling that she wasn't making them because she wanted to. She was making them because she HAD to. As if she couldn't have stopped even if she had wanted to stop, and that the subject matter was largely irrelevant and just an excuse. I could be wrong, of course. But that's what I think I see.

    For me this single aspect trumps all of the other more formal academic classifications and rules that the experts try to apply to judge worthiness. The difference in emotional investment between "want to" and "have to" is enormous. And raw emotional involvement—regardless of its source—is the most powerful creative motivation anyone can have. It's the difference between what Mr. Picker referred to as "admirable" photographs that are perfect, and "wonderful" photographs that are sublime. And I believe he was absolutely correct in that differentiation.

    Personally, I'll always choose the lesser wonderful photograph that shows a deeper emotional connection to the photographer over an admirable photograph that is simply a well-executed, dry exercise in perfect compositional rule-following. I want to know that when the photographer finally released that shutter, it was because there was no other viable option remaining on the table. No more questions to be asked. No more answers to be given. It just had to be done.

    Take care,
    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  7. #57
    Lionel1972's Avatar
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    I agree with Ken. For me most of her photographs fall into the wonderful and sublime category.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    The only person with any authority (on the medium at least) was Meyerowitz and he barely said a thing.
    but what he did say was important - Who is curating her work? Who is deciding what to print?

    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    You could tell they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel to make the Maier film.
    Interesting that John Maloof refused to take part as he's making his own film. The BBC are well known for taking other peoples programme ideas and making their own versions.
    regards,

    Tony

  9. #59
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    In her case I get the distinct feeling that she wasn't making them because she wanted to. She was making them because she HAD to. As if she couldn't have stopped even if she had wanted to stop, and that the subject matter was largely irrelevant and just an excuse. I could be wrong, of course. But that's what I think I see.
    In which case she would more likely be prowling pages like Deviant Art... or at least DA, before it became mostly just... um, deviant. (but that's another conversation entirely)

    For my part, I find myself moved in some way by virtually every Maier photograph I have seen, even her "lesser" ones, which is something I cannot say for HCB, Ansel Adams or Edward Weston. (The only other photographer who provokes a similar response in me is my own favourite, Willy Ronis, but I digress.) I don't believe I am just following the rest of the herd like in this like just another sheep, but that is for others to judge. I had the same visceral response to her work from the very first day I saw her story and images appear on the internet, and that was before she began to be labeled as either genius or wannabe.

    As regards the debate surrounding her place as an artist, I believe that some people find comfort and optimism in the idea that there are unknown geniuses amongst us while others require more stringent provenance before granting admittance to the "inner circle". Both points of view are valid; in the fullness of time Vivian Maier will find her proper place among either the very good or among the great photographers of our day.

    "Being art isn't a property of a thing, but in how we perceive that thing."
    (I found this quote this morning in a video on 12-tone music, and it's stuck in my head now)

    Cheers,
    Tom
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


  10. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajmiller View Post
    but what he did say was important - Who is curating her work? Who is deciding what to print?
    There was a brief segment where a woman holding a fresh print said they didn't even notice the subject of the picture until the print popped out.
    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde



 

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