Many of you have probably already heard the story of Vivian Mair, the nanny who took thousands of photographs and never showed them to anyone. The body of work is as amazing as the story and I strongly suggest you visit the website: www.vivianmaier.com. Be sure to check out the self portraits while you are there.
The reason I am writing about her today is I have been thinking about what it must have been like to be such a talented photographer and only do the work for herself. She didn't care if she impressed anyone, made any money, or won any contests. She was simply engaging in her passion. A pure dedication to her craft.
I know that even if I won the lottery today I would still continue to pursue photography. I really don't have a choice. My sanity and well being depend on it. I like to think I am making the images I want to make and not just for the market, but at this time in my life I do have financial goals that I need to consider. And to be perfectly honest, the need for some sort of validation is strong. I don't think I am alone in this, but just try to imagine for one minute, what it would feel like to create simply for yourself with no intention to ever share that work! ...........I feel so liberated and joyful when I think about that (even if it's only in that moment). Food for thought............
At the same time, I do believe art is meant to be shared. Art tells stories, teaches history, stirs emotions, forces questions, invokes curiosity and allows us to experience places and people in parts of the world most of us will never get to visit.
I am sure Vivian Maier had her reasons for keeping her images to herself and I am grateful for the gift she left behind, but I just can't stop thinking about "what if"??
I just know I am completely fascinated and inspired by this story and can't wait for the film and the book (which I just pre-ordered!) I also love how it is forcing me to look at my own motivations and stimulating my imagination. Good stuff!
Trailer: Finding Vivian Maier from John Maloof on Vimeo.