Just finished reading about Vivian Maier’s work on Chase Jarvis’ blog. Vivian Meier was an amateur street photographer and took nearly 150,000 photos spanning the 50s till the 90s- all this while working as a nanny for some 40 odd years. And she wasn’t just some dude firing away in auto mode either; critics have acknowledged that she can hold her own along with the greats of street photography such as Garry Winogrand. Elliott Erwitt and so on.
So the thing is, nobody knew about her photographic talent during her lifetime. She was supposedly an intensely private person and largely shot for herself. Her collection of negatives, developed prints and unfinished rolls was discovered by a collector who then decided to put these pictures up for public viewing.
Most of the morning has been spent looking at her black and white photos and it just came as a reminder that I have very little work to show in B&W. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions- largely because when I have my glass of scotch in hand at the end of the year, I like to celebrate the year that was and not mull over the things that could have been. This year however, I’ve decided to focus more on 1) creating more black and white work and 2) publishing more prints of personal work. Why #1? I’ve shot a little bit of B&W back in the days of film, but these days it’s become harder and more expensive to source film. I’d like to get back to shooting more in B&W simply because it’s a lot more clean and uncluttered and just gives a classic, timeless look to images. Why #2? I’m onto my fifth hard disk and just seem to keep running out of space all the time and have been having nightmares about hard disks crashing. Also, nice as retina monitors and super Amoled screens are, nothing like the tactile high of holding a finished print in your hands. As they say, the print is where the rubber meets the photographic road.
Also, while in the past I did experiment with a darkroom and developing my own B&W, I never did go the whole hog and print B&W in the guest-bathroom-turned-darkroom. The elders of photography tell me that the process of watching a print emerge out of the tray is nothing less than magic. So Macduff, lead on!
Copyright Boban James Photography 2013