Finding Vivian Maier

Albert PedrosaAlbert Pedrosa
Photo Mania

I HEARD about Vivian Maier through a viral news article last year. Who wouldn’t be interested – a nanny during the 1950’s taking breathtaking pictures of New York’s streets, people, architecture, lifestyle and more. Her photos were never published in her lifetime until one guy bought her abandoned stuff in an auction.

Vivian’s work is now on exhibit in different galleries all over Europe and America. Collectors are stunned by her work and the intriguing story behind the pictures and her personal life. There are even photos that Vivian herself never saw since she never had the chance to develop most of her negatives.

Photo taken by Vivian Maier
Photo taken by Vivian Maier

The documentary movie produced by John Maloof, the same person who bought her things, takes you to the life of Vivien Maier through a painstaking search of persons she has worked with and places that appeared in her photos. Truly a very inspiring movie to anybody and especially those who love photography.

After watching the movie, I’d bet that you’ll hit the streets with your camera together with a renewed interest and inspiration. The movie shows how powerful a photograph is: it lets you experience and take you to a journey back in time. It’s because of individuals like Vivian that we get to appreciate the art of photography.

I can’t help but compare how she took those photos minus all the technologies we enjoy today in our camera. That Rolleiflex in her hands is a killer. It’s a twin lens reflex. The reason why we have a single lens reflex or SLR is because cameras used to have two lenses. It doesn’t have the option to increase or decrease ISO unless you change the film cartridge with another.

No preview to check if you got it right and no autofocus, just plain mind to hand coordination on the fly. You cannot take photos as much as you can, there’s a limited number of frames per roll, so you have to get it right with one or maybe a couple of shots. The skill to pre visualize is very much important during the film days.

I think that the discipline of previsualization is something we tend to disregard in the digital age. I have to admit, sometimes I shoot it first and decide if I like the composition based on the preview. It somehow falls in the area of trial and error. When you lose the previsualization, you lose your imagination and imagination is where creativity is born.
Keep on shooting, everyone!

photomania.sunstar@gmail.com / www.grp.ph

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