Vivian Maier: Talented, but needed a good editor.
Over at The Online Photographer,
Michael Johnson Mike Johnston Dave Fultz offered his thoughts on the Vivian Maier show he attended this morning. For those who haven’t heard, Vivian Maier’s work has just been “discovered”, and is now coming to light. There’s a fascinating backstory to this remarkable woman, and I’ll admit to a certain amount of projecting on my part. Vivian was employed for many years as a nanny, but her real passion was photography. She left behind a huge amount of negatives, ranging from the purely pedestrian to the stunningly sublime.
I’d say that Vivian’s work is a prime example of how talent can only take you so far, that often we become so bound up in our love of our work that we often can’t see the difference between an image that is so-so and one that is heart-stopping. Part of the process of being an artist is being able to cull the crap and present the best.
Here’s something to consider; art is almost nothing without an audience. There is a certain amount of joy in making art; Why do we sing alone? It feels good. We take a certain pleasure in the sound of a melody. But it’s the interaction between an artist and her audience that multiplies the joy, and the process takes on a gestalt. It becomes more than the sum of its parts.
I’m guilty of presenting images that bring me great joy, but often elicit yawns from my audience. Likewise, I’ve presented work that I wasn’t that invested in, and gotten rave reviews from you kind folks. It’s my job to learn what you all like, and to offer that, not just the stuff I love. Sometimes, rarely, the two coincide, and that is pure bliss. At the risk of being crude, it’s rather like simultaneous orgasms!
Edited to correct Mike’s name-spelling, and the fact that I got the reviewer wrong. Thanks for the correction, Mike!