Yet another instance of "outsider" art undetected by mainstream cultural/aesthetic radar.
Vivian is an inspiration to all of us!! I love her work, her style, her approach to photography, her in general.
I saw her posthumous show at the Chicago Cultural Center in January and think about her almost every time I hit the shutter button. I was a sponsor of the documentary about her that is coming out soon and received a MF film spool of hers....I love it...makes me appreciate photography more...the whole physical part of shooting film that all us APUG'ers appreciate
My question, though, is someone now making money out of her?
I saw a lot of this a few years ago and was inspired. There is true depth in what is on display and she has done her bit to document the world from a different time and not just those who less fortunate then most.
I suppose, and hope for him, that Maloof is making, or is going to make, money out of his discovery and promotional effort. I don't know how would copyright transfer in this case. The pictures are marked Vivian Maier / John Maloof collection. He's actively promoting the collection, one day he might sell it for a good price. The claim that he hopes to recover what he spent is a bit naive. He gave up his job to promote the collection, and that seems to entirely occupy his time. I wouldn't see anything bad if he made money out of this collection which is a bit a creature of his own.
I don't really believe that Maier didn't want to become famous. I suppose it's more something like didn't hope to, or had no time - energy to strive for that kind of success. Nobody would just turn their back to fortune when it arrives. On the other hand, as Mark says, you have to mean business and actively and skilfully pursue this fortune to attain it, and not everybody make the energy investment, or is in a position to make this energy investment, to have a try.
I love her stuff. It's too bad that Ms. Maier didn't get the recognition she deserved. I'm sure she probably didn't care. She looks like she just photographed for the pure joy of it from what I could tell. I hope that Mr. Maloof would find museum to care for her collection and publication of her work.
The commercial aspect of photography is a 20th century thing brought on by a combination of means to easily reproduce with quality photography in a useful way, and by art galleries calling photography an art and establishing a business for it. Prior to that, photography, aside from commercial portraiture, was done by people like Vivian or ourselves or most of the 19th century photography innovators. Now, we're coming full circle and getting away from the need for commercialism as we can all easily take photos and share/make use of them on a forum, facebook, or flickr.
There are many people that have an excellent gift/skill and choose what they make of it.
In my photography, a major theme of mine is photos of my family. I do this to the same level of care and craft as something to be exhibited. I consider it worthwhile and important and don't care what the world thinks. I don't seek recognition or fame or financial reward for this. Vivian probably needed a break from the kids as nanny and shot the street. I need a break from the public and work and photograph my family.
I regard commercial success to be unrelated to the quality of photography, based on interactions with many other photographers who choose to do something other than photography professionally. It is gratifying to sometimes get paid, but I have the confidence and dedication to continue to photograph how I like without needing $ to boost my ego or enthusiasm for photography.
Maloof, I think makes the right move to stop his job and figure out how to get paid for doing what he is enthusiastic about. Most of us, myself included need to keep the paychecks coming and he seems to be working hard. This work he's creating for himself means he's getting paid for photo history work, which I suspect is rare outside of being a college professor.
It is a shame that beauty is often lost or nearly lost. What was being sold from her storage was identifiable and interesting and that seems to be a reason it was found. Now, someone's life work in photography could be stored on a 3.5x5x1" hard drive (or two if they backup) in a dusty box of cables and software manuals and would be much more likely to vanish un-noticed. In a few generations, as styles changes, her photos will be less relevant when nobody living remembers the cars and clothes of her time, no less beautiful, but undoubtedly less popular. By the same token, many beautiful minds are veiled by distracting bodies, and many beautiful bodies are veiled by bad clothes, and we consider this less because it is more common.
I enjoy her work, but the undiscovered aspect to it should not cloud the picture so to speak. I do not think she is an undiscovered great, personally, but a very good photographer who shot for herself and created some super work. I think the lack of an agenda in her work is its greatest appeal. There is an inherent humility and a 'ordinary' insight into a period of history, but I am not sure whether her photography is strong enough on its own without the personal story that goes with it. Somehow it just does not have the X factor. I can't quite place it... maybe it's just me.
I saw her works and i really liked them and her story too.
I went to the exhibition here in Holland and really enjoyed it, she knew how to capture daily life of ordinary people in the street very well.