Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
Another thought: some of the pictures of Vivian Maier are, so to speak, "obviously good". Nonetheless she probably had no illusions that a nanny could ever walk into a gallery and propose her work. If she had been friend with some famous photographer or gallerist of the times she could maybe have been famous. The point here is that "obviously good" images maybe are not enough.

The "great photographers" we know are probably just a random selection among the many equally great unknown photographers around us. The "random" selection is mostly made by life circumstances that end up being more important than the body of work itself.
I don't believe that the "greats" are a random set, nor that their photographic work is better than many lesser knowns, or even better than what the average APUGer is capable of.

What the "greats" all do seem to hold in common are simply; the choice to enter, the talent for, and the will to succeed in photography as a business, nothing more.

For example, Ansel Adams could very easily have ended up as a concert pianist.

This is not to say they didn't get good at their craft.

Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
Or maybe not. Vivian Maier left behind her a huge body of work. It's likely that the vast majority of those images are not that interesting anyway. The first rule in this case should be: "show only the best". And one has to be able to discern what is better and what is worse. And she wasn't a good printer, it seems. Well, that reminds me of an aunt of mine, which writes absolutely stunning poems in Roman dialects but lacks the "energy" to do all the limae labor, the painful job of perfecting the raw material to make it shine. She finds "instant satisfaction" in the poem as it first appeared, and than just concentrate on the next one. She doesn't even see when a verse is somehow weak, or when there is some style problem. I suppose Vivian Maier was a bit the same: more, more and more pictures, without too much self-critique, without the urge to perfect the art or printing. "Instant satisfaction" without a "direction" so to speak.
It's perfectly legitimate, it's her choice, but it's also a pity because this way a lot of genius gets wasted in the world.
Henri Catier-Bresson could be accused of the same failing, given that he had little or no interest in and hired out all of his printing. A hunter not a cook.

HCB did though choose to self-promote. He chose to be in business, that's a lot of work.

I see it as a shame that one must succeed commercially to be considered a great.