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Photogs / Photo Exhibits This is the place to discuss a particular Photographer (work, style, life, whatever), as well as to post Gallery and Museum Photo Exhibitions and your own impressions of them. As we march on in this new digital world, it is often too easy to forget about the visual importance of the photographic print, as well as their financial importance to the photographer. It is also interesting to remember that some guy named Gene Smith shot with lenses that many lens test reading "never had a picture published in their life" amateurs would turn up their their noses at, as being "unacceptable."

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New Vivian Maier Biography Published
Old 11-01-2017   #1
willie_901
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New Vivian Maier Biography Published

VIVIAN MAIER
A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife
By Pamela Bannos
Illustrated. 362 pages.
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Old 11-01-2017   #2
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http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/bo...o26171419.html
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Old 11-02-2017   #3
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NY Times book review:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/b...la-bannos.html

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Old 11-02-2017   #4
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This one I'll buy and read.

I've been impressed by Ms. Maier's photographs, but repulsed by the individuals who took possession of her negatives and profited from it.

I hope this book will be different and will give us a glimpse into the person behind the images, not some marketing hype to try to make more money for individuals who had nothing to do with her art.

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Old 11-02-2017   #5
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could not agree more.

has anyone who has kept up with the legal developments say whether it looks like maier's work will be curated more independently?
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Old 11-02-2017   #6
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Quote:
repulsed by the individuals who took possession of her negatives and profited from it.
Quote:
try to make more money for individuals who had nothing to do with her art.
Are you referring to:
  • John Maloof? As far as I know, if it were not for him, Vivian Maier's photos might have ended in the dumpster; And, If I am to believe the narration in "Finding Vivian Maier", his initial attempts for setting up shows of the found photographs were turned down by the respectable galleries/museums.
  • A distant cousins in France? If I am to believe the Wikipedia article, John Maloof located one such cousin and paid him some rights.
  • Another distant cousin in France? He came into the picture through the efforts of our next suspect:
  • The lawyer who convinced said cousin to sue for rights... I'd be curious to know what are the terms of the lawyer's contract, like, e.g., 90% of the settlement going to "legal fees".
Anyway, could you be a little more explicit about who your statement is targeting, and support your argument with publicly verifiable information?
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Old 11-02-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernardL View Post
Are you referring to:
  • John Maloof? As far as I know, if it were not for him, Vivian Maier's photos might have ended in the dumpster; And, If I am to believe the narration in "Finding Vivian Maier", his initial attempts for setting up shows of the found photographs were turned down by the respectable galleries/museums.
  • A distant cousins in France? If I am to believe the Wikipedia article, John Maloof located one such cousin and paid him some rights.
  • Another distant cousin in France? He came into the picture through the efforts of our next suspect:
  • The lawyer who convinced said cousin to sue for rights... I'd be curious to know what are the terms of the lawyer's contract, like, e.g., 90% of the settlement going to "legal fees".
Anyway, could you be a little more explicit about who your statement is targeting, and support your argument with publicly verifiable information?
Well said.
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Old 11-02-2017   #8
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It's laid out in the book discussed above. Read the New York Times review.

And just because someone finds someone else's artwork after their death, doesn't give them the right to profit from it. He should have realized what he had found, and donated it to a museum.

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Old 11-02-2017   #9
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I completely agree with Bernard:

Without Maloof, we would know nothing about her and her photos. All her work would have been destroyed and lost forever. He spent an enormous amount of effort & resources to restore her negatives, scan them, and publish them through a book, film, prints, and museum shows. He should get all the credit and of course he should have the right to be compensated for that. Everyone else is just profiting of his efforts and trying to get a piece of the pie.

As for the mentioned new book: I do not understand why a university professor of photography is trying to jump on the bandwagon and publish a book years later, trying to profit from Maier and Maloof's discovery as well. University professors are -- by definition -- supposed to do own original research and work, and this years-old story is not exactly cutting edge and in the spirit of university research.
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Old 11-02-2017   #10
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Quote:
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He should have realized what he had found, and donated it to a museum.
By your own argument, would you donate a Picasso that you rightfully purchased at a flee market to a museum and not be compensated for your find at all? Honestly, would you do that?
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Old 11-02-2017   #11
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Yeah, if I paid $400 for a Picasso at a flee market, I would donate it to a Museum. See, that's the difference between you and me, I would never try to make money off of someone else's art or creation. You say you would. I find that repulsive. But hey, the world needs all kinds.

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Old 11-02-2017   #12
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Still there would be no biography by Pamela Bannos without Maloof's efforts.
Like it or not Vivian Maier's work would be unknown. He is treated like a plumber who did a necessary Job only to find people complaining about the odors.
To profit from someone elses art... well most of the great artists wanted to make a living and they only could do so because someone (an art dealer for example) wanted to make a profit (by cultivating the painters reputation and educating potential buyers).
It is noble to avoid making a profit and donating art... Nobody prevents Tim from doing so, but also nobody should prevent giganova to sell his 400$ Picasso for more than he paid for it.

I am much more concerned for living artists who don't get what they deserve. Is it fair to sell a painting for 40.000 when the painter had to sell it for 500? Shouldn't at least a cut from every sale be paid to the artist?
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Old 11-02-2017   #13
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Had Maloof donated her negatives to any number of museums, her work would have been known. And I'd have no problem with him receiving $400 from the museum to cover his expenses. But he went a whole different direction and I'm so sick of people trying to act like he was altruistic. He enriched himself off of a dead artist's work.

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Old 11-02-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Yeah, if I paid $400 for a Picasso at a flee market, I would donate it to a Museum. See, that's the difference between you and me, I would never try to make money off of someone else's art or creation. You say you would. I find that repulsive. But hey, the world needs all kinds.
Fortunately, you'll never have to decide whether to forego millions of dollars by donating that flea market Picasso, so it's easy to hypothetically take the high road.
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Old 11-02-2017   #15
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See, that's the difference between you and me, I would never try to make money off of someone else's art or creation.
Why are you talking about me now in such a condescending tone?! Did I say what I would do?

Plus, Maloof has asked museums and galleries and nobody wanted it.
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Old 11-02-2017   #16
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BTW, my family was in a similar situation a few years ago: we found a Paolo Veronese (1528-1588), worth hundreds of thousands of $$/EUR in our possession and nobody in our family really knows where it came from. So we went to a couple of museums and asked them if they want to have it for free. They authenticated it but said "thanks, but no", so now it hangs on the wall of one of our family homes.
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Old 11-02-2017   #17
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a museum can't ethically accept a donation whose ownership is uncertain.
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Old 11-02-2017   #18
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BTW, my family was in a similar situation a few years ago: we found a Paolo Veronese (1528-1588), worth hundreds of thousands of $$/EUR in our possession and nobody in our family really knows where it came from. So we went to a couple of museums and asked them if they want to have it for free. They authenticated it but said "thanks, but no", so now it hangs on the wall of one of our family homes.
say what? museums are not supposed to authenticate artwork at all, ever. it's a conflict of interest. they should have referred you to a certified art appraiser.
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Old 11-02-2017   #19
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Without Maloof, we would know nothing about her and her photos. All her work would have been destroyed and lost forever. He spent an enormous amount of effort & resources to restore her negatives, scan them, and publish them through a book, film, prints, and museum shows. He should get all the credit and of course he should have the right to be compensated for that. Everyone else is just profiting of his efforts and trying to get a piece of the pie.

As for the mentioned new book: I do not understand why a university professor of photography is trying to jump on the bandwagon and publish a book years later, trying to profit from Maier and Maloof's discovery as well. University professors are -- by definition -- supposed to do own original research and work, and this years-old story is not exactly cutting edge and in the spirit of university research.
I fully agree. Also, I never found anything suspect with John Maloof's behavior. At least didn't he keep what he had found secret in order to speculate, which isn't the case of some other fellows having grabbed some lots of Vivian's abandoned material.

Plus, if the photos and all other found materials had been given to a museum or to a public library, chances are, that they wouldn't have been added to any catalog yet, and that they would still remain totally unknown for some time. Also, I would fully believe folks who'd tell that museums or public libraries first didn't want to accept the gift.

For me too, this book comes out a little too late.

Note : I'm a public library curator so please don't jump at me telling I don't know what I am talking about, I know everything about the efforts and time it takes to add a pictures collection like this one to the catalog and make them visible both for the researchers and the public, worldwide.
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Old 11-02-2017   #20
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BTW, my family was in a similar situation a few years ago: we found a Paolo Veronese (1528-1588), worth hundreds of thousands of $$/EUR in our possession and nobody in our family really knows where it came from. So we went to a couple of museums and asked them if they want to have it for free. They authenticated it but said "thanks, but no", so now it hangs on the wall of one of our family homes.
If it is worth hundreds of thousands of euros, why didn't you sell it through an art dealer? Did you just like it and not want the money?
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Old 11-02-2017   #21
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Thanks for the post!

Jeffrey Goldstein’s review on Amazon alone is worth printing out and putting in the book, so I ordered it.

I am about as intolerant as it gets when it comes to copyright infringement and other forms of artist abuse. But I am in no way judgmental of this outcome and how it came to be through the curiosity and tenacity of Mr. Maloof, there is just too much that went right with this to take a side. I mean…my god, the world has seen amazing photographs that not even Vivian Maier herself got to see.

And the story of her life, the people coming forward, the whole darn thing, it’s stranger than fiction.
Even an acquaintance of mine as a child got Vivian fired from her job as family nanny when she ratted her out for putting her then infant brother into a trashcan for a photograph.

It’s controversial, it’s crazy even but it is also one of the greatest stories of a photographer in the history of photography. The record of artists in posthumous form is a remarkable thing in that it can often live larger than the artist ever could. And brilliance is not always adorned in pleasantries, it can be a painful sense of place. As evidenced by Vivian Maier, one can not always harness it and that means you are just along for the ride.. . . . . .
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Old 11-02-2017   #22
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So, one person has found another person art and get it instantly accessible. Nothing is wrong with it. Very effective way to pay tribute for gifted photographer. In the opposite museums gives no crap for photography if it is not famous name. She became famous because her work was exposed instantly by person who has respect her work. Giving unkown name photos to museums is only better than dumpster. AGO has millions of photos and absolutely no plans to show, digitize them. Same for big museum in Ottawa. They release small portions of photos from huge archive only by now. And next to nothing is available on-line.
Also museums are not going to develop film and print from it. This is what significant part of her photography was. Undeveloped film.

But maybe it is better and different in the States...
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Old 11-02-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Yeah, if I paid $400 for a Picasso at a flee market, I would donate it to a Museum. See, that's the difference between you and me, I would never try to make money off of someone else's art or creation. You say you would. I find that repulsive. But hey, the world needs all kinds.

Best,
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so, are art dealers repulsive? Publishers of art books? Art Historians? All of them make money off of the work of artists.
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Old 11-02-2017   #24
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Originally Posted by giganova View Post
As for the mentioned new book: I do not understand why a university professor of photography is trying to jump on the bandwagon and publish a book years later, trying to profit from Maier and Maloof's discovery as well. University professors are -- by definition -- supposed to do own original research and work, and this years-old story is not exactly cutting edge and in the spirit of university research.
For what it's worth, books published by university presses (like this one) generally do not make any money. I guarantee that the author will not "profit" financially from it in any significant way. Her total royalties over the next ten years will probably compensate her labor at the rate of a few pennies per hour.

Last edited by dfranklin : 11-02-2017 at 18:51. Reason: accidental double post
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Old 11-02-2017   #25
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I, for one, am grateful that her work came to light.
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Old 11-02-2017   #26
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For what it's worth, books published by university presses (like this one) generally do not make any money. I guarantee that the author will not "profit" financially from it in any significant way. Her total royalties over the next ten years will probably compensate her labor at the rate of a few pennies per hour.

I'm certain that Giganova was being sarcastic, since he was responding to someone who seems to think no one should make money off artists after they die. As I pointed out in my own post, that would include art dealers, art historians, museum curators, and book publishers. There's nothing wrong with any of those people making a living from their work.
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Old 11-02-2017   #27
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I started following this story in mid 2009. (Started a thread at mflforum ).
When Maloof got started on this he sure seemed sincere and innocent about his intentions.
It’s hard to say he orcestrated any kind of a profit machine.
That came from peoples genuine hunger for this work and this story.
The guy deserves credit. I just can’t find any legit view to villianize him.

If he gave these rolls to a museum, their bean counters would have killed this story.
Low Budgets would have kept it from the light of day.
Try and remember what the economy was like in ‘09. Things were tight!
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Old 11-17-2017   #28
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I started following this story in mid 2009. (Started a thread at mflforum ).
When Maloof got started on this he sure seemed sincere and innocent about his intentions.
It’s hard to say he orcestrated any kind of a profit machine.
That came from peoples genuine hunger for this work and this story.
The guy deserves credit. I just can’t find any legit view to villianize him.

If he gave these rolls to a museum, their bean counters would have killed this story.
Low Budgets would have kept it from the light of day.
Try and remember what the economy was like in ‘09. Things were tight!
That's my impression about Maloof too. I first took notice in an ancient flickr thread where Maloof asked for ideas/thoughts on what to do with his (then) recent discovery. A lot of people were flubbergasted by the quality of the photos. I followed Maloof immediately to see where he'll go with this - I may have been his second or third follower in flickr, as I recall. The initial gallery scene response was lukewarm to say the least. As far as I could tell, Meier did not fit the academic criteria of what is good and what is not. Heck, she was a street photographer (in reported stories at the time I could almost imagine curators exhaling a disgusted "ewww!!") But of course, people were interested in Meier, their interest could be translated to gold and I don't know any gallery that doesn't like gold. So, she broke through. The image of the reclusive genius with a Rollei must have played a role. People love Susan Boyle kind of stories and they wouldn't let the fact that Meier was dead or that she didn't really want to show her work spoil a perfect rags to riches story.

As for the new biography, I like the fact that it is occupied with redressing the way Meier has been portrayed. Meier has been discovered and made a household name after her death, like so many other artists, but in her case one has the distinct feeling that this goes against her will when she was alive. If street photography is often accused nowadays of being transgressive, in Meier's case the transgression is compounded by the fact that nobody cares about what she wanted. So, I guess, it's a good thing the book attempts to remedy parts of this and give her some sort of agency and humanity back. I don't know whether the biography will gloss over the fact that Meier was photographing in a way critisized since the 70s but if it does it will be a wasted opportunity. For various reasons I think Meier is exactly the kind of case that offers itself for a rehabilitation of street photography. Which, to be honest, I don't see happening any time soon.

For anyone interested I 'll post a link to the old flickr thread Maloof started (warning: long read). That thread has been referenced in the Bannos biography too.

https://www.flickr.com/groups/947617...7622552378986/

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Old 11-17-2017   #29
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For various reasons I think Meier is exactly the kind of case that offers itself for a rehabilitation of street photography. Which, to be honest, I don't see happening any time soon.
Street photography needs to rehabilitate itself. It is in the hands of its current practitioners; it can't be done externally.
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Old 11-17-2017   #30
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but maybe her work is influencing current street photographers. it has retro appeal and gives precedent for selfies.
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Old 11-17-2017   #31
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Had Maloof donated her negatives to any number of museums, her work would have been known. And I'd have no problem with him receiving $400 from the museum to cover his expenses. But he went a whole different direction and I'm so sick of people trying to act like he was altruistic. He enriched himself off of a dead artist's work.

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Louvre Museum entrance fee: 17€
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Fondation Herni Cartier-Bresson in Pairs entrance fee: 8€
The Metropolitan Museum of Art entrance fee: $25
and so on...
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Old 11-17-2017   #32
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I certainly didn't start following this story as early as most did but I am darned glad that someone found, and then took the time to begin promoting her work. She is right at the top of my list of terrific photographers.

As for the professor, I am thrilled she decided to produce a biography of Vivian Maier, at least I'll know more about her after I finish the book than I did before I started it.

Based on the New York Times review I am not too sure I will agree with everything the Professor writes but I am sure it will be interesting. I just hope she is a good writer, not all academic types are.

As for Ms. Maier, I do wish she had taken the time to produce her own work as she personally envisioned it. That would have been the best option of all. But, since she didn't, at least it isn't lost. That would have been the real tragedy of this entire story.
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Old 11-17-2017   #33
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art entrance fee: $25
That's not true, they may want you to think that, but it's give what you want 1 cent will do...

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Old 11-17-2017   #34
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A: She's dead, we know that.
B: She left no will, no expression of her desires, we know that.
C: She for all intents left her work abandoned, we know that.
Maloof came about her work legally, and with all the above did just what he should have. He brought great art to the masses, why not make a profit? This is a capitalist society.
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Old 11-17-2017   #35
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I'm an advocate of finding and promoting dead peoples art and selling it.
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Old 11-18-2017   #36
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This stuff has been hashed about ad infinitum at this point. My personal opinion is just based on the facts and not the fantasy. Maloof had no right to publish or print any of the images. You know, copyright. He of course could sell any prints or negatives he owned, but owning a print or a negative does not confer copyright.

As an opinion I don't like it much that someone altered another's work after death. To take from the Picasso example above, it wouldn't be like finding a Picasso at a yard sale, it would be like finding Picasso's paint at a yard sale then whipping up a Picasso. Yeah, you may get it to look like a Picasso, but Picasso didn't actually approve your scribbles.

I also don't think there is anything crazy special about her images. They didn't break any new ground photographically. When you think about the photographers that were working at the same time in the same place like Callahan or Siskind her images are rather staid. They are basically the work of a good amateur photographer. I think the romance of her story, and the tragedy of it, makes people put too much worth in her images. I don't think her images belong in Museums like MOMA. They are perfect for historical ones though. They do show a slice of life back then. That is why the photographic establishment pretty much passed on all of it. Only a few that saw dollar signs took a punt.
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Old 11-18-2017   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jszokoli View Post
That's not true, they may want you to think that, but it's give what you want 1 cent will do...

Joe
if you buy the tickets online, the price is $25. So, it is true.
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Old 11-18-2017   #38
Chriscrawfordphoto
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Originally Posted by DanskDynamit View Post
if you buy the tickets online, the price is $25. So, it is true.

New York state law forbids the Met from charging admission. The museum works hard to make it seem like you have to pay $25 to get in, but you have the legal right to refuse any donation, and they must let you in.
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Old 11-18-2017   #39
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I'm late to this argument party, but it is worth remembering that Maloof didn't find anything from a dead "artist" and seek to profit from his find. He found a lot of pictures from a dead nanny. At that point they were worth nothing more than discarded negatives from any dead nanny, and his thinking wasn't any different than anyone elses would have been. It wasn't "I'm rich", it was "some of these seem really nice to me". He was the one who saw the artistic value in them and thought that others should be able to enjoy them as well. It took an immense amount of work on his part to get the negatives to a state that others could enjoy, and even more work to get others to pay attention.
He isn't deserving of any slagging. If anyone is profiting, or seeking to profit, in a disgusting way from Vivian's photos it is those who came later, having done nothing in the way of curating or making her work available to others. These ones are known as lawyers. It was ever thus.
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Old 11-18-2017   #40
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Is the author donating her profits from the book to charity? Who did she license the photos on the cover from?
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