Friday, 7 March 2014

Immortality: Photos, Vivan Meir and Art

Seems to me I've heard about this in passing before, but today I received a link to a story about Vivan Meir, a New Yorkk nanny who took hundreds of thousands of photographs--in secret.

Her negatives and undeveloped films turned up in an auction house a few years ago and since then the treasure trove of excellent pictures has come to light, literally.  From what I've seen, her work has the same clarity and perspicacity as Henri Cartier-Bresson's, which is about the highest praise I can give when it comes to photography.  Really great stuff.

Unearthing this ouevre also raises questions about art and artists.  She did all this, it would appear, for herself, without thought of who might see it, of what others might think.  Like Emily Dickinson's poetry, her creation was private and its import was recognized only after her death.

Lukas says that great philosophers are usually only appreciated for their true contribution by those who follow.  Bach's genius almost disappeared for a couple of centuries.  A few of my moderately successful writing cronies don't say it out loud, but I know that they hope their work will be respected for its great merit once they're gone.

So where does that leave the artist?  Doing what he or she must, as always.  Whether "discovery" ever comes doesn't really matter, if you've done what set out to do.

Here's the trailer for a film about Vivan Maier.  Sounds fascinating.

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