Vivian Maier – the Nanny Photographer

vivian maier self portrait

Vivian Maier Self Portrait

At my art lecture on Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) the influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration, one of the attendees, Jim Z., told us about a recently discovered (though deceased) photographer – Vivian Maier.

After visiting her website, Vivian Maier.com,  I was mesmerized by her work which focused on documenting life in American cities, like NYC and Chicago, in the middle of the 20th Century. I was especially fascinated by her creative self-portraits (one shown here). Take a look for yourself and leave me a comment about your impressions of these photographs that could have easily been discarded.

Maier was an intensely private person who made her living as a nanny. No one knew that she spent hours and hours taking these photographs, developing some in a bathroom/darkroom and others at local photo labs. Tens of thousands of her negatives and rolls of undeveloped film, kept in storage lockers, were recently auctioned. Her work has only come to light because John Maloof bought the contents of those lockers at an auction and developed some of the film. Thanks to his efforts we are slowly learning about the woman and her art.

9 minute “Chicago Tonight” video on Maier

Jim and I were talking, after the Lange lecture, about issues related to the unauthorized revelation of an artist’s work, especially when it’s done posthumously. What if Maier had never wanted her private photographs to be made public? Is the act of doing so a violation of her rights to privacy, or doesn’t it matter since she’s deceased and without any living relatives (that anyone knows of)? You’re invited to weight in on this discussion, by leaving a comment below.

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Classic Images: Photography by Ansel Adams

The Tetons and The Snake River

The Tetons and The Snake River

“If something moves me, I do not question what it is or why; I am content to be moved. If I am sufficiently moved and it has aesthetic potential, I will make a picture.”—Ansel Adams, 1984

In Lake County for the first time, the Classic Images: Photography by Ansel Adams exhibition at the Lake County Discovery Museum (Wauconda, IL – Sept 17, 2011-January 8, 2012) presents the work he considered to be the finest examples of his artistic achievement. The exhibition showcases 70 Ansel Adams photographs, from The Museum Set, a rare portfolio of photographs handprinted by Adams.

As you wander through the Museum’s intimate space of pure white walls and minimalist decor, are the perfect setting for you to get a close-up view of the natural world as only the keen eye of Adams can provide. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the soaring, inspiring images of such places as the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the sun-baked geometries of New Mexico. Adams’ prints are known for their technical mastery and subtle gradations of tone and contrast. His vision speaks of the enduring power of fine photography.

All photographs are from the collection of Anne Adams Helms. The exhibition was organized by Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences, Peoria, IL.

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Postcard Art Exhibition 2011

Handle with Care pic

Handle with Care

For those of you living in Lake County IL, you may be delighted to learn about an art exhibition of postcards conveniently located at the Lake County Discovery Museum (Wauconda) from Oct. 1, 2011 through January 29, 2012.

This biannual event celebrates the postcard as an art form and challenges artists to create original works in a 4” x 6” format. From 400+ entries by American and international artists, thirty-six artworks were selected to create this dynamic exhibition.

As a mixed media artist and art appreciation lecturer, I’m thrilled to tell you that I have a piece in the exhibition entitled, Handle with Care. Recently I began using glass slides as an artistic device for showcasing each collage story’s main character, their personalities, and sense of place. Positioning the miniature collage within a larger collage context, I broaden the storyline to complete the narrative.  The inherent challenge facing me is to create a satisfying interplay between the microscopic and macrocosmic worlds of my characters.

All three of the pieces I entered in the exhibition sold which is thrilling because it means my art speaks both to the professional artists who were the judges and to the public who attended the Museum sale.

Why not stop by the Museum and wander through this intimate gallery of art.

The Lake County Discovery Museum’s web site provides hours, admission prices, and a cost-saving coupon.

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