Originally Posted by Pioneer
I am not an art critic. I took some photography fine art classes in high school and college mostly because they were required. But I ended up really liking photography. So don't view what I am saying as coming from someone who has studied most of the universe of fine art photography and is qualified to pontificate about it.
I just have faith in the equipment and slightly above average amateur photographers. I think based on what little of Maier's work I've seen that any slightly above average amateur who held the camera straight, focused, and produced over 100,000 negatives would have a similar level of success or not too far below. The question I have to ask is do people think that statement is wrong? I am separating the pictures from the artist. In my opinion are the images nice? Yes. Do I think the artist is head an shoulders above her peers? No. To me for this type of photography which is in no way experimental or avante garde you have to be a cut above to be extraordinary.
Seriously look at her images. In the majority of them she points the camera right at the subject. She places the subject in the center of the frame and she snaps. She seems to use available light exclusively. For most of the images nothing experimental happens with composition or lighting. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Frankly I advocate much of her approach to picture taking for amateurs. Get a good camera (ie Rollei not Lubitel). Get good film (ie fresh B&W not expired third rate E-6). Hold the camera steady and straight (ie give 2 seconds of thought to what you are doing). Take this meat and potatoes approach to photography and I guarantee you 50 years later when you see your negatives and prints you will have no regrets. But make no mistake that is a very safe and conservative way to shoot. You will get a bunch of competent technically good pictures. I got lambasted in another thread for strongly advocating for this approach initially for amateurs. And here we see what I was talking about in all it's glory. It's competent. It's nice. It's timeless. But given the denominator, 100,000+ negatives, I can't at this time sign off and say the practitioner was head and shoulders above less prolific snappers that took more chances. Maybe when the totality of her work is developed and printed or at least scanned and we can look at it in its entirety I will feel more comfortable putting her in the Parthenon. At this time I've seen <0.1% of her work. And what I've seen is not going off in all sorts of unexpected experimental directions.
This is just my opinion. I hope I didn't hurt anyone's feelings. Your opinions are valid too.