I go in waves of liking things. Right now photography is really hitting the spot for some reason. I am not really a fan of photography in general but Lewis Baltz hit me hard the first time I saw his work. He is from California and an important figure in the New Topographic movement in the 70′s. Look it up.
Unearthed by John Maloof in 2007 at a local auction house in Chicago, Vivian Maier is only now beginning to be recognized as an iconic street photographer from the 40’s, through the 70’s. A body of work that spans not only the US, but the globe, Maier took more than 2,000 rolls of film, printed over 3,000 photographs and produced more than 150,000 negatives representing the street life and architecture of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the American Southwest, as well as destinations as far off as Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, and Italy.
Invested in her bird’s eye view of the people who made industrious cities thrive and pulse, Maier captures gentle and poignant moments between parents and children, the disenfranchised and forgotten, in a country on the verge of social and political upheaval. Maier recorded historic landmarks and their demolition as developments were built to replace them over decades.
Maier’s ability to grab the right frame at exactly the right moment, with elements of lighting, movement and essence all aligning, is revealed in the remarkable fact that she seldom shot more than one picture of the same moment in time. An intensely private person who kept most of her work hidden, Maier also created a series of homemade documentary films and audio recordings that have yet to be released to the public.
Having worked as a nanny most of her adult life, Maier was described by those she cared for as “a free spirit, but also a proud soul,” – “a quasi Mary Poppins figure.” She was, in the accounts of the families for whom she worked, very private, spending her days off walking the street taking photographs most often with a Rolleiflex camera. At the end of her life Maier became impoverished, but several children she had cared for pooled their money together and paid for an apartment and other necessities in her later years. Unbeknownst to them, a storage locker that contained a slew of negatives Maier had secretly hidden away was auctioned off due to delinquent payments.
To put simply. This is possibly the best, most beautiful photographic series I have ever seen. With time, I realize that nothing is face value. When viewing, we bring our history with us and the artist brings theirs. The true art is what happens when those worlds collide in the space between you and the work.
“These are photographic collaborations with my autistic friend, Will Johns. He selects the subject matter and operates the light meter. His autism informs his methods, which then affects my methods. His idiosyncratic choices force me to photograph subject matter I wouldn’t be drawn to and compose in a new way, where I must consider Will as author, subject and subject matter. In these images Will stands with the light meter, his posture, gaze and facial expressions explicitly make reference to our relationship and reveal the complexity in separating subject matter from subject and the difficulties artists face with issues of exploitation and authorship.”
More of Botkin’s work here.
Artist/photographer Barry Stone lives and works in Austin, Texas where he makes photographs, drawings, collage and paintings. Seemingly a photographer first, Stone’s work has moved beyond the traditional understanding of that practice into something broader. While most of Stone’s output is deeply conceptual, his well-balanced aesthetic stands on its own merit apart from the layers of meaning he weaves into his mixed media pieces.