|Panasonic GF1 with 20mm f1.7 lens on an IR converted camera|
I looked at this book as an opportunity to grab a book that may just be a big piece of photographic history. That might sound overblown, but Vivian's work has become so iconic in such a short period of time that even if you don't think she belongs in the same conversation as the great street photographers there is no denying her intrigue and appeal to the genre. I can imagine her dedication and passion for the art as she pursued it in solitary and without any need for feedback or platitude.
The book itself is somewhat disappointing in that it gives a very limited look in the text at this photographers life. I was hoping for a bit more history, but I suspect that there is actually very little known about Vivian. We know that the children that she cared for early in life were her caregivers when she was elderly. She also travelled to various places away from Chicago including New York and France. The book appears to cover mostly her early work in the 50's in Chicago, though I'm left wondering about her work later on in the 80's and 90's. I'd love to see the progression.
Vivian passed away in 2009 at the age of 83 and likely never realized how much of an impact her incredible art would have. Street photography is one of those arts that has, to this point in my life, completely eluded me. But I love it, love looking at it and respect it as a living history of our culture. Vivian's images in the book are beautifully reproduced in print from high quality scans. The people she captured were done with immense honesty and skill. It's a book I'm incredibly happy to have as part of my collection of art books. I just hope they follow it up in print with another.
|Olympus E-PL1 with 20mm f1.7 Panasonic lens with 'Grainy Black and White' art filter|