Five things to consider from Vivian Maier’s photography

1.    Take lots of photos

Vivian Maier took over 100 000 photographs in her life, that we know of. There are probably rolls of undiscovered film elsewhere or that have been accidentally destroyed. Photographers know that not every picture is a gem. Even in film days we took many photos of the same thing, then making proof sheets before choosing the final photo. By taking plenty of photos you’re sure to produce a healthy collection. Try shooting the same subject from different angles or using different lighting. It will produce very different results. Indeed, even the same position and subject at different times of day or year, will show how astonishingly different the outcome will be.

2.    Take natural photographs

Very few of Maier’s pictures are posed. Very many are in fact taken from some outsiders view looking in. Her street photography for which she has now become posthumously famous illustrates this perfectly. Many of her subjects seem to be completely unaware that she is a capturing in a moment in time, never to be revisited. Whether you are a street photographer, wildlife photographer or a landscape photographer, capturing a completely natural moment holds an essence that posed photography cannot.

3.    Be opportunistic

Because capturing natural moments is a once only opportunity, you should be ready for that opportunity. All good things come to those that wait. Opportunity will not present itself unless you are waiting and looking for it. Henri Cartier Bresson, one of the best street photographers of our time, used to set his camera up with a certain scene and just wait for things or people to wander into his shot. This method made some of the best-known street photographs we know today. Take your camera everywhere you go and your day’s work will be sure to produce something special.

4.    Capture anything and everything

Some of the best photographs can be of mundane subjects captured in an unusual way. Take photos of anything and everything. Most of the iconic street photography images are the ones taken at exactly the right moment, and very few of them are posed or thought about. Vivian Maier was good at capturing the secret public lives of people –  a contradiction in terms perhaps, but easy to understand. She captured scenes that represented everything and anything. Couples in love, busy city life, solitude and loneliness, happy groups, sad groups. She even captured moments that could be interpreted differently by everyone.

5.    Share your work

The saddest aspect of Vivian Maier’s prolific work is that it wasn’t discovered until after she died. Posthumous recognition is something that seems to come to many creative people. They never see the awe and wonder in the faces of those that appreciate their work.  Whatever you do share your work. Upload it online on sites like Instagram and other social media. Make Prints for yourself, friends and family and you’d be surprised how many local art shops may even take it for sale. One of your images could be the next featured image in the photography world. Be discovered and enjoy your photographs.

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