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.
Last edited by jp498; 05-22-2011 at 01:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.