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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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Old 04-06-2014   #41
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See it and take the family if you'd like. Saw it last night in Highland Park Il....SEE IT.

It's great that this and Everybody Street are shedding light on photography...Love the words by Meyerowitz to....I got it the first time that Maloof doesn't like the gallery/art world....
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Old 04-06-2014   #42
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From the official site http://www.vivianmaier.com/frequently-asked-questions/

"Vivian Maier’s first camera was a modest Kodak Brownie box camera with one shutter speed, no aperture and focus control. In 1952 she purchased her first Rolleiflex camera. Over the course of her career she used Rolleiflex 3.5T, Rolleiflex 3.5F, Rolleiflex 2.8C, Rolleiflex Automat and others. She later also used a Leica IIIc, an Ihagee Exakta, a Zeiss Contarex and various other SLR cameras."

And mostly Tri-X or Ektachrome...

There's a funny scene in the movie where Maloof visits a relative of VM's in the French town and is shown a print of VM's and VM's mother's box camera and Maloof vibrates with desire to add these items to his treasure trove -- can't blame him
About 24/25 minutes
http://interactive.wttw.com/jayschic...l#.U0FwPSiSJkc
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Old 04-06-2014   #43
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Plan on seeing this movie. Requested April 11th off a month ago. Just waiting for San Francisco Clay Theatre and/or Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley to release show times.
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Old 04-06-2014   #44
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Would have been nice to meet you, but we're heading north to Moose Lake for a grandaughter's birthday party. And bummed to miss out on seeing film.
Maybe when you have time we can meet. Just e mail me. It would be nice, especially since it's getting warmer!

Thanks!
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Old 04-06-2014   #45
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Thanks for the link. Very nice little video that certainly wets one's appetite for Vivian's work. Much appreciated.
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Old 04-06-2014   #46
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Thanks for the link. Very nice little video that certainly wets one's appetite for Vivian's work. Much appreciated.
You're welcome....
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Old 04-07-2014   #47
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View of IFC Theater, Greenwich Village NYC.
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Old 04-17-2014   #48
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Old 04-18-2014   #49
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I thought the BBC documentary was very good and if this one is better it should be excellent — Anthony Lane gave it a good review in the New Yorker, although, in my view, he overrates her as an artist. While the story of Vivian Maier is interesting in terms of entertainment, and agreeing that she's no Mary Poppins, I don't think much of her work as art in the context of the great photographers in her time. Rather than arguing this position, I'll just quote the view of Jörg Colberg, which you can read in his rather interesting blog article, In Defense of Merit:

"I can’t help but feel that in the world of photography the idea of artistic merit has receded quite a bit over the past decade or so…when I see something that’s uplifting or edgy or provocative, or when I see something that I know is just being lauded for the great story, while the pictures are clearly lacking…Then that’s either essentially just entertainment…Think Vivian Maier: Now there’s a great story. But the images don’t even remotely hold up to what so many already well known photographers from the same period were doing. In fact, I stopped looking at any of the Maier coverage, because the majority centers on the story itself or any of the other talking points, about which literally have nothing to do with photography.'

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I have a different take. When I first saw her photographs, I was stunned. I particularly was impressed with her portraiture. I just assumed she was well known and had been for decades. And then I learned her backstory.

So I cannot say, personally, that knowing her story colored my opinion of her work because in fact the opposite was true. Her work stood on its own merit.

To each his or her own, of course. If you don't find her work impressive, that's fine. But I would hope that's not because you've grown tired of the hype surrounding her "discovery."
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Old 04-18-2014   #50
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Where are some who mocked HCB as well. Who cares about their opinion....
The general public have spoken by admitting in crowds.
Not for the story, but to enjoy the photography of Vivian Maier's.
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Old 04-21-2014   #51
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I'll just quote the view of Jörg Colberg, which you can read in his rather interesting blog article, In Defense of Merit:

"I can’t help but feel that in the world of photography the idea of artistic merit has receded quite a bit over the past decade or so…when I see something that’s uplifting or edgy or provocative, or when I see something that I know is just being lauded for the great story, while the pictures are clearly lacking…Then that’s either essentially just entertainment…Think Vivian Maier: Now there’s a great story. But the images don’t even remotely hold up to what so many already well known photographers from the same period were doing. In fact, I stopped looking at any of the Maier coverage, because the majority centers on the story itself or any of the other talking points, about which literally have nothing to do with photography.'
I don't know. Colberg never seemed to me particularly keen on street photography of any vintage anyway. In this case, my gut feeling is he's also wrong about the reason people look at Maier's work. It is primarily driven by interest in the photography and then all the other brouhaha. It may be interest in a different sort of photography than he's drawn to, but it's interest nonetheless. For example,

...“Contemporary photography is popular, but we find 20th-century classics have an even bigger appeal,” says Damien Whitmore, director of public affairs and programming at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London. Its most popular photography shows in the past ten years (paid entry) have been “The Art of Lee Miller” (2007-08; 78,946), “Diane Arbus: Revelations” (2005-06; 75,673) and “Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton” (2012; 67,630)...
(http://www.theartnewspaper.com/artic...tography/32219)


The bigger problem Colberg refers to, i.e. the collapse of "merit" in the art world, is more to do with a kind of pluralism sanctioning all manner of questionable/trite creation, insofar as it is presented in the garb of irony. Maier is not relevant in that regard, internet fame and what not. His foray into elitism is quite unnecessary too. For the purpose he champions, one does not need more self-anointed gurus of excellence, but a change of the broad mental framework motivating art.

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Old 04-21-2014   #52
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I'm of the opinion that there's a much broader spectrum of photography than what's acknowledged or promoted by the academic and gallery perspectives, of which Vivian Meier belonged to neither camp.

However, that's not to say she was entirely naive or photographically illiterate, in the way that true outsider art typically is found. It is known that she had a large library of photographic books, went to libraries and gallery shows and evolved her style over time. She also dabbled in experimental film. She was self-educated. Which, for me, qualifies her work as worthy of consideration, since she was obviously serious and intent enough upon pursuing her craft, above and beyond the mere casual snapshot motif, so as to inform her images with some degree of intelligence.

Like many of us for whom photography does not pay the rent, she had to fit her creative life around the realities of survival, and within the context of her peculiar personality. Does her life represent unfulfilled potential? Certainly - as does mine. But what she did create is certainly worthy of consideration.

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Old 04-21-2014   #53
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I see the movie is playing at the Camera 7 in San Jose, CA, this week. I'd like to see it either Tuesday or Wednesday evening ... Anyone else local to the area interested?

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Old 04-21-2014   #54
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FWIW, Vivian died 5 years ago on this date.
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Old 04-22-2014   #55
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Wow, tough crowd. Her work certainly fits in fine with her contemporaries. I guess some of you think Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerowitz (who praise her work in this film) don't know what they are talking about either.
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Old 04-22-2014   #56
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Wow, tough crowd. Her work certainly fits in fine with her contemporaries. I guess some of you think Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerowitz (who praise her work in this film) don't know what they are talking about either.
It's in vogue to be hypercritical, I guess.

I like her photos. I think I'm heading to the five o'clock showing at Camera 7 in Campbell ...

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Old 04-22-2014   #57
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"Finding Vivian Maier" movie.

Here is the schedule for today, Tuesday April 22, 2014 in Minneapolis, at a theater in Edina:


http://www.google.com/movies?near=mi...3e4c2b15352dc4
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Old 04-22-2014   #58
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"Finding Vivian Maier" movie.

Here is the schedule for today, Tuesday April 22, 2014 in Minneapolis, at a theater in Edina:


http://www.google.com/movies?near=mi...3e4c2b15352dc4
Did you take in the VM exhibit at the Mpls Photo Center? Big, beautiful prints and lots of them !!!
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Old 04-22-2014   #59
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I had the great fortune of seeing this documentary over the weekend.

I was really impressed.

It was a well-crafted film, good storyline and compelling in the sense it made me care about this subject, even if I didn't know or care much about street photography (which I do).
It also was brave enough to delve into the darker sides of Maier's personality but competent enough to not become tawdry or cheap in doing so...in that sense it was a real biography. It was pretty incredible they found her ancestral village in rural France AND found living people who recalled her...that was a triumph.

It also featured her work very well and you can't help but be taken along for the ride once you see those incredible images.

This is a terrific documentary.
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Old 04-22-2014   #60
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To clear up one bit of confusion: Originally, the film's official site made it look like the showings in each city were for one night only. This is not correct. The date column on the site now says Start date," and also says "Now playing" when the film is running.

I'm going to see it this week.

Here's the schedule:
http://www.findingvivianmaier.com/see-film/

And you can browse the film's site from here:
http://www.findingvivianmaier.com/

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Old 04-22-2014   #61
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Saw it earlier this evening. Very well done, a picture of an atypical person in many ways. Lovely presentation of the photos, that's a treasure trove. Makes me want to pull out my Hasselblad ... :-)

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Old 04-23-2014   #62
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Not agreeing that Maier was an artist of the quality of the greatest of her contemporaries makes for "a tough crowd"? — I guess only if you believe in group-think. Also it's a non-sequitor to state that a negative judgment of her photography equates with not thinking that Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerwitz "don't know what they are talking about."

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I'm sorry you took what I said personally, but I'm certainly not falling for "group think" because I happen to like the work. All I'm saying is that it appears that while many like the work more because of the VM soap opera, just as many want to slag the work due to the background story. I never said "greatest" either...
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Old 04-23-2014   #63
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IAll I'm saying is that it appears that while many like the work more because of the VM soap opera, just as many want to slag the work due to the background story. I never said "greatest" either...
We may need some time. When the dust has settled, it will be easier and clearer.

Problem is, that everything is moving faster and faster - and generally too fast. Great photographers (really great ones) are now lying totally forgotten. Too bad for them - there isn't any John Maloof to "discover" them.

I am eager to know whether people will be keeping raving about VM's photos in five years onwards from now.

Not too sure.
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Old 04-23-2014   #64
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Not agreeing that Maier was an artist of the quality of the greatest of her contemporaries makes for "a tough crowd"? — I guess only if you believe in group-think. Also it's a non-sequitor to state that a negative judgment of her photography equates with not thinking that Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerwitz "don't know what they are talking about."
Mitch, I'm sympathetic to your viewpoint. There is a lot of hype -- mostly about Vivian being female and a nanny. And the idea of unearthing treasure in storage lockers is quite appealing. But, what is the photo public world saying? That we like the photos more because of the back story? I believe this is not advancing the cause of perceived anti-discrimination. I don't care if Vivian or any photographer is male or female or of any background -- if I see talent I see talent, and I see Vivian's talent. It's a disservice to Vivian, and any artist to like them more or less, or to be more open to liking or disliking them because of their gender/story, whatever. It's actually an insult. I know I'm rambling What I like about Vivian is her sensitivity. She had a hard childhood, and a lonely life. I believe her camera was an indispensable companion -- it gave her outings purpose, much like a book for a lone diner in a crowded restaurant filled with couples. Oops I'm back-storying her -- this is what I regard as the key to her sensitivity -- but I don't need to know this because her photos reflect this.

As for Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerowitz -- their opinions are just that -- most of us on RFF have a depth-of-knowledge and interest that doesn't require their interpretation. Not to devalue it of course, but Maloof is leveraging association -- and Mark and Meyerowitz are leveraging the film's publicity as well. Not speaking against this dynamic, it's necessary.

Back to Vivian's sensitivity -- she recognized a good photo op. As photographers when we view photos we're unable to resist the asking ourselves the question, "Would I have shot that too?" For Vivian's work, in most instances, we would answer in the affirmative. And that's something. The other day I was on 6th Avenue in NYC, and a passerby struck up a conversation regarding my camera. Turns out he was a higher up for PayPal -- well educated and a world traveler. We were headed in the same direction. After 5 blocks I spotted a woman holding a huge exercise ball -- a great photo op -- I quickly took the photo and I said to the man, "Wasn't that amazing?" And he replied, "What was amazing?" Had I been walking with Vivian or an Rff member, we would have each taken the photo and high-fived each other.

There are so many people lecturing down to photographers, and they haven't got a clue. Sure they can pick out some nice photos, and rubber stamp that which has been already accepted, but to have invested decades and cultivated the ability to create photos -- well all I can say to the experts is, anyone can talk a good photo, here's my camera show me what you've got.

Would Vivian have shot this photo? Would you? 4/21/2014 corner of 9th Avenue and 34th Street, NYC.
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Old 04-23-2014   #65
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jsrockit, while I may have expressed myself dramatically I did not think your statement was intended as a personal attack. I understand that you like her work more than I do, and that is fine. I don't think that she's a bad photographer; I just don't think that she's of the level that many people make her out to be — and as Higway 61 states in post #69 is five years (or more) we'll have a better idea of that.
Fair enough.
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Old 04-23-2014   #66
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What NY Dan wrote is truly excellent. Thank you !
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Old 04-23-2014   #67
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Reflecting on the movie, the photos, the two books of her work that I purchased and have studied, the question that comes to me is, "Was Vivian Meyer a photographer or a person who made great photographs?"

There are a lot of people out there who make great photographs. She made a lot of them, better than most from what I've seen so far (in the genre). We tend to label these people as photographers, but are they really?

To me, the label is lacking in one aspect in this case. The signal aspect of any artist is that they share their work. The mythic image of painters, photographers, sculptors working in obscurity doesn't jibe for me. Artists produce works of art to please themselves first, yes, but they also are compelled to share their passion by showing their work, offering it to an audience, one way or another.

To label someone who revelled in being secret, obscure, who never showed their work to anyone ... I'm not sure that I'd label that person a photographer although it is obvious from the evidence that she made great photographs.

I can't raise her to the level of a Joel Meyerowitz, Mary Ellen Mark, Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Robert Frank as a Photographer because, regardless of the excellence of her photographs (or not as your aesthetics are inclined), she never expressed her work to anyone else or revealed her intent. Artists—Photographers—do their work with intent and are trying to express it.

A very interesting person. I'm glad that her photographs didn't get tossed in the dumpster, I'm glad that she's been found, but I find it hard to consider her a photographer rather than a person who made a lot of wonderful photographs.

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Old 04-23-2014   #68
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As for Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerowitz -- their opinions are just that -- most of us on RFF have a depth-of-knowledge and interest that doesn't require their interpretation. Not to devalue it of course, but Maloof is leveraging association -- and Mark and Meyerowitz are leveraging the film's publicity as well. Not speaking against this dynamic, it's necessary.
Of course it's only an opinion, but they certainly know photography's history and make respectable work themselves. Meyerowitz and Mary Ellen Mark do not need any exposure in this film to better their respective careers.
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Old 04-23-2014   #69
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A very interesting person. I'm glad that her photographs didn't get tossed in the dumpster, I'm glad that she's been found, but I find it hard to consider her a photographer rather than a person who made a lot of wonderful photographs.
I get what you are saying, but I'm not sure it matters. I don't call myself a photographer even though, as Dan can attest to, I'm putting in the time and effort to build a body of work. It's not my job though and I feel that is an important aspect. Dan is a photographer... it's his job. Vivian was a Nanny... but she will now be remembered as a photographer as well based on the quality of her work and it being in galleries, books, and museums. Many people, who are shown in galleries, books, and museums now, have had to work day jobs to survive. So, does it come down to acknowlegdement of one's prowess in skill or in making money doing it as a job to be considered a photographer? I don't know either way.
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Old 04-23-2014   #70
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I've come to appreciate a sober fact, that 80% of photographic skill is to be found in editing one's pictures. This is the only point I could raise against considering Vivian a photography great. On all other counts, she was one.
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Old 04-23-2014   #71
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I get what you are saying, but I'm not sure it matters. I don't call myself a photographer even though, as Dan can attest to, I'm putting in the time and effort to build a body of work. It's not my job though and I feel that is an important aspect. Dan is a photographer... it's his job. Vivian was a Nanny... but she will now be remembered as a photographer as well based on the quality of her work and it being in galleries, books, and museums. Many people, who are shown in galleries, books, and museums now, have had to work day jobs to survive. So, does it come down to acknowlegdement of one's prowess in skill or in making money doing it as a job to be considered a photographer? I don't know either way.
To me, making money doing photography is the least of concerns when considering whether someone is a photographer in sense of an artist. It also doesn't matter if you call yourself a photographer. What matters to me is whether you are attempting to express an intent and share it with an audience, even an audience of one, besides yourself.

The photographs of Vivian Maier are great and have raised a lot of questions. This is all good. We learn from discussing these questions. :-)

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Old 04-23-2014   #72
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John (jsrockit) -- I believe being in a film that will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people is very valuable to Mary Ellen Mark and Joel Meyerowitz -- they sell prints, and putting their name out there will result in selling more prints. If it had no value to them, they wouldn't have done it

Godfrey, I understand what you're written, but I don't believe there is any threshold for calling oneself a photographer -- of course there are degrees of ability to tackle various photographic challenges.

If a tree falls is the forest... And nobody sees or hears it, it's still a tree -- to me. On the topic of Vivian not seeking recognition -- well lets look at this closer. In her day, she didn't have the Internet. She worked 5-6 days a week as a nanny. When not working she was out shooting. In the film it mentions she was aware of her ability and she had considered the possibility of selling postcards with her images. Fast forward to today -- how hard is it for photographers to show their work, much less sell prints? Were Vivian alive, 40 years old, no CV or connections, and in possession of 50 of her best prints, no nanny back story, no treasure found in a storage locker, would the photo world embrace her? So, I take nothing away from her not more vigorously pursuing recognition -- she was too busy Some photographers only like to shoot (HCB) and not develop or print. They leave life (Winogrand) with huge quantities (Maier) of undeveloped film. People are comfortable with what they're comfortable with and to not have the resources to promote their work does not in my opinion take away from it. They are who they are. I applaud anyone who tries to create with our medium, or with any other artistic medium -- words, paint, dance, music -- anything.

Regarding the editing of Vivian's work -- they don't have all the film developed, or all the negatives scanned, or all the prints made -- but they need to monetize -- sell prints to fund this -- so I agree there have been much lesser examples of her work shown -- it could be viewed as a positive in that we get to see all the ingredients thrown in the pot, and then get to see what rises to the surface -- it's a pretty unique process -- and I think for photographers, this story will float all boats and engage the public in a positive way.

Hey Jsrockit -- John I've seen your photo books -- trust me you're an f-ing fine photographer! I don't know how many fellow RFF members have seen your stuff -- it's fantastic -- especially the most recent stuff!
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Old 04-23-2014   #73
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To me, making money doing photography is the least of concerns when considering whether someone is a photographer in sense of an artist. It also doesn't matter if you call yourself a photographer. What matters to me is whether you are attempting to express an intent and share it with an audience, even an audience of one, besides yourself.
I agree, but many in the US seemingly do not. It seems that in the US, the only way you can call yourself something is if you do it for a living. If I said to someone at a party that I was a photographer, they would assume it was my job.
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Old 04-23-2014   #74
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I agree, but many in the US seemingly do not. It seems that in the US, the only way you can call yourself something is if you do it for a living. If I said to someone at a party that I was a photographer, they would assume it was my job.
:-) I'm totally unconcerned with what everybody else does. I say and do what I think is right. ;-)

If someone asks at a party, I say I make my living as a technical writer (at the moment...), but my real work is photography.

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Old 04-23-2014   #75
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If someone asks at a party, I say I make my living as a technical writer (at the moment...), but my real work is photography.
I'm kind of the same... I tell them my real job and then talk about going out and photographing.
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Old 04-23-2014   #76
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Artists—Photographers—do their work with intent and are trying to express it.
Sometimes they shouldn't...

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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
It seems that in the US, the only way you can call yourself something is if you do it for a living.
I am living at 6,400km from the East coast of the US and can tell you that it's the same here.

And it's for sure the same in China or in Biafroghalistan.
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Old 04-23-2014   #77
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I agree, but many in the US seemingly do not. It seems that in the US, the only way you can call yourself something is if you do it for a living. If I said to someone at a party that I was a photographer, they would assume it was my job.
That's because to most people in the US your profession/job is what you are. People are photographers, Masons, Doctors, Lawyer, Technical Writers,,,, Myself I look at my job as something I do to pay the bills and have money for the things I'm passionate about such as photography.
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Old 04-23-2014   #78
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I am living at 6,400km from the East coast of the US and can tell you that it's the same here.

And it's for sure the same in China or in Biafroghalistan.
I figured that, I just didn't want to assume.
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Old 04-23-2014   #79
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...To label someone who revelled in being secret, obscure, who never showed their work to anyone ... I'm not sure that I'd label that person a photographer although it is obvious from the evidence that she made great photographs.

I can't raise her to the level of a Joel Meyerowitz, Mary Ellen Mark, Henri Cartier-Bresson, or Robert Frank as a Photographer because, regardless of the excellence of her photographs (or not as your aesthetics are inclined), she never expressed her work to anyone else or revealed her intent. Artists—Photographers—do their work with intent and are trying to express it....G
It was fairly clear from the documentary, and looking over her life story, that Maier was burdened with some substantial mental health issues - possibly as a result of early trauma or possibly just an inherent trait.

I'm not comfortable denying someone who created the calibre of work she did the title of "artist" or "photographer" for reasons beyond her ability to control.
Those adjectives are dependent one thing and one thing only -- THE WORK.

Not her mental state, not her burdens in life she had to bear...that's quite unjust to suggest otherwise.
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Old 04-23-2014   #80
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Got to see the movie a couple of weeks ago here in New Orleans and thoroughly enjoyed it. Actually, was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. One of the movie editors was here for q & a after the screening who confirmed how difficult it is to select her images for display because most of them are so well framed and exposed.

I also asked him about her audio recordings (since they don't play many in the movie) and he said that they are not very revealing about her. Apparently she liked to go around with a tape recorder and interview random people about various headline stories of her time.
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