Intriguing story about Vivian Maier (February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009) who was an American street photographer, who was born in New York City and spent much of her childhood in France. After returning to the United States, Maier worked for about forty years as a nanny, mostly in Chicago. During those years, she took more than 150,000 photographs, primarily of people and architecture of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, although she traveled and photographed worldwide.
I can recommend to see these first before visiting an exhibition. I saw only a small selection of her work at FOAM in Amsterdam. It is a very intense and somewhat sad story about a woman who almost lived her life in complete solitude, whose work was only to be kept for herself. Stored in boxes in her room for many years. Now she is getting worldwide exposure because a few people have bought her negatives at an auction. And I suppose some people are making lots and lots of money on this artist-becomes-famous-after-death, that is a classic way of how the value of art keeps changing after the atcual artist has passed away. But is it the right way, is it something they would have wanted?
Though I wonder sometimes, since there are so many artists alive and under exposed, working hard to make a living nowadays. If you don’t have the talent of a being good in networking/promoting yourself in order to find a trustworthy art dealer, pr manager or agent, is it still possible to get that exposure that pushes you towards a glimpse of local / international success? Most artist I have met are extremely talented in creating art but at the same time they are completely chaotic in the business area and even if you’re very talented it can be an incredible struggle.* I hope so that young artists can find their way, how to deal with it all because it requires a different approach and courage. I studied art and photography and many years later I still have to sort my work haha, oh well, I guess I have spend many years helping other people’s projects and that unfortunately did not do much good to my own. I’ve also kept many of my work for myself, but now I realize that some of the work should be seen and not stay hidden!
* (Quote by photographer/filmer Anton Corbijn
I heard him saying that in an interview on the book of faces, 23-07-14, regarding his movie A Most Wanted Man, where he is also saying moving things about the late and great Philip Seymour Hoffman.)
Photos: Vivian Maier