I'm especially drawn to street photographers. Probably because I can't imagine having the guts to just walk around shooting photos of strangers all day. What if they don't want their photo taken? What if they catch me and yell at me? Yeah...what if?? If I follow that question through to an answer, it probably wouldn't actually be that bad. But the act of seemingly invading someone's privacy both creeps me out and fascinates me at the same time. So far, I've been too intimidated to even try it.
When my dad died, my mom gave me his cameras. One of them is a Yashica Mat-124 G which is a medium format film camera. It intimidates me a little so I've never used it .
Recently I realized it has a roll of film inside with six exposed images. Six shots my dad took that we have never seen. I can't wait to get them printed because to me, seeing them will be like peeking into my dad's experience for a moment....will feel like having a new conversation with him....something I can no longer do. It's exciting and emotional at the same time. First I have to expose the other six frames which I started doing this weekend. I'm rushing this step a bit because I want to take that film out and develop it, but I'm also having fun shooting with a totally different kind of camera.
Going through this process reminded me of a story I heard a few years ago. You may have already heard of Vivian Maier but if not, spend a few minutes and watch the Youtube videos below. Her story and her photography are fascinating. She has rightly been referred to as one of the most important street photographers of the 20th century. Only....no one ever saw her work until after she died in 2009. Here's her story:
**Apparently with the iOS 6 update, embedded Youtube videos can't be seen on iPads anymore. Boo!! So I've attached some ugly but necessary links to these videos for anyone reading on an iPad. Scroll down for video links and the rest of the post...**
Finding Vivian Maier trailer:
Vivian Maier: Street photographer and nanny:
You can also follow some of her work on Instagram: @vivianmaier.
I love learning about people who do something for the sheer love of the thing and not because they need anyone else's praise to make them feel better about their work. I guess that's why I'm so fascinated with Vivian Maier's story. To be so talented, to have recorded such a vast amount of visual history of the streets of New York and Chicago and to not have shared it with anyone....wow. I'm torn between admiring her self-confidence and feeling sad that no one else could appreciate her work while she was still alive.
I can't wait to see the rest of the documentary film "Finding Vivian Maier".