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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A more personal side to her work, than 'Street Photographer'., 27 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: VIVIAN MAIER OUT OF THE SHADDOWS (Hardcover)
This book had a profound emotional impact on me. And as a photographer who takes +10000 pictures a year for myself, for indulging in my own interest in photographic images, it has also moved and evolved my views on photography.
One thing that soon stands out very clearly, is that this book is much different from 'Vivian Maier, Street Photographer'. For this reason, anyone interested in Vivian Maier should acquire both. However, I doubt very much these both books gives us any complete or definitive view of Vivian Maier. There is more, must be more, to be revealed.
Another thing that strikes you (with this book), is that Vivian Maier wasn't exactly a "Street Photographer". That's just a label they have applied to her, to position her, in the contemporary establishment of perceptions of photography. Of course many of Maier's images falls into the cathegory of 'Street Photography'. But that's by convenience or accident. Vivian Maier was a photographer. Period. She nurtured an obsessive love for the photographic image and for making them. And she seems to have made an awful lot of them that are truly excellent.
A third thing that strikes you is that she went her own way. All the way. She didn't listen to anybody. She didn't seek any judgement or accolades. She didn't watch or communicate with other photographers. Everything is 100% Vivian Maier, totally 24 carat genuine. She doesn't care if anyone else finds worth in her images. They had immense worth for her. That's all that mattered.
These things are parts of the portrait that this book presents. It's much more personal than 'Street Photographer'. There are a lot of images, and the printing is very good, as it should be.
I've seen some murmurs from others about that the images in this book are not as striking as those in the 'Vivian Maier, Street Photographer' book. Depending upon what you mean by 'striking' or 'strong' that could have some truth in it. However, in my opinion, the images in this book are of the same quality and possibly more interest. They present a more intimate, personal outlook on the world. Many may lack the twist or "moment" of 'street photography', but instead they have a strong sense of the preciousness of time. She captures a sliver of time, for other, more personal and heartfelt reasons, than in the traditional image of life in the public room of street photographers. And it's very easy to read in more value in that. I do it so easy.
Whether the value is there or not, will be up to a lengthy semantic process between gallery owners, critics and art professors (it really is, that's how art works).
In the end it doesn't matter. Vivian Maier's images are still there, whether they are representations of her artistic vision or somebody's selection process. It's enough for me. And it seems to be enough for the big audience as well. I certainly hope interest will be enough to make photography books of her work keep coming out.
I would guard my tounge very carefully, if I were anyone of Vivian Maier's critics. Remember that Van Gogh eventually buried his, in a landslide of ridicule.
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Initial post: 23 Jul 2014 09:09:38 BDT
Excellent review!
Your comment about Van Gogh is so true - I read somewhere that a critic said she wasn't really great, no standout image. What rubbish - I've got many books - Leiter, Winogrand, Levitt, Cartier Bresson, Brandt...Maiers work is consisitently of the same quality, and a vast number!! I think she was a truly great photographer.
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