I recently found this poignant story of a woman whose talent for photography was discovered after her death. You can scroll through the linked slide show to see some of her beautiful work.
What’s striking, beyond the technical beauty of the photos, is the theme that comes through in so many of them: glimpses of every day scenes from city streets, a look into the lives of people who must have been strangers to Vivian, but were captured in a flash of time and old fashioned black and white film. And now these people have their moment of fame, because Vivian Maier is finally being celebrated as an artist.
Vivian Maier was a nanny for 40 years, and I’m sure that the impact of her life on the children she cared for is still being felt, because what we do matters, whether we are “discovered” or not, famous or not.
Her photography was discovered because her possessions were auctioned off before she died.
Today her work would make her rich.
Well, perhaps it did make her rich in her lifetime. It’s possible we just can’t recognize the currency of that wealth to her.
I rarely watch the Oscars. Usually I haven’t seen many of the movies up for awards, and that’s certainly the case this year.
But tonight I’ll be watching, and hoping that the film that celebrates this woman’s work, and life, wins the award for best documentary. It will be a good thing to see a life marked and honored, the work of a woman who saw a lot more than anyone guessed.
This story makes me think: what am I doing that will live on? What do I do that may seem insignificant to me, but still matters, touches lives, leaves a mark?
We all leave marks.
Some lives burn brighter and seem bigger than others. That’s part of the draw of an event like the Oscars…a peek into the world of celebrity. It’s a world most people only know from the outside, looking in.
But Vivian’s story hits home. I’m making photos every day…not like the ones she captured, but snapshots of my life, my touch on the lives around me. And my work has an imprint.
What would that look like if it was suddenly viewable, put on the screen for the world to see?
I hope it would be as beautiful as these photos, and capture the right moments.
I click through the images in the slide show, and I think to myself: give us eyes to see the real, and the important.