Between convention and originality, Vivian Maier’s color work

Between convention and originality, Vivian Maier's color work

Amid convention and rebellion, the artist vacillates from Jeckyl to Hyde.

The artist uses cash to pay for the sex — the stuff they wish they were doing for a living. Vivian Maier was a babysitter who in her off-hours roamed the streets of Chicago with her 35mm color camera capturing beautiful everyday moments.

Maier didn’t have Instagram so she kept all the film to herself, under her bed where they were discovered fifty years later.

We all have a special genius or talent hidden in the fabric of our virulent selves. Neither fame nor fortune, expression is as essential as your day job.


Finding Vivian Maier

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gif via Fast Company

The 19th-century French novelist Gustave Flaubert once said to be “be regular and orderly in your life like a Bourgeois so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Vivian Maier took this to heart. No one ever knew this nanny was an artist of her own.

She took over 100,000 photos, mostly street photographs of downtown Chicago, and kept them for her own viewing, including her selfies. Taking pictures was her happy place, a creative outlet, that allowed her to see the world with a third eye. She wrote with light.

Today, Maier would've been an Instagram and VSCO sensation. While she may have resisted social media given her inclination as a loner, she probably would've enjoyed connecting with others who shared the same passion. The internet unleashes the weirdness in all of us, motivating us to share our work.

Van Gogh only sold one piece of artwork in his life, to his brother. His posthumous reputation speaks for itself, as does Maier's.

7 articles to read this weekend

I wrote earlier this week about the paradox of hoarding information so it’s only natural I share my reading list with you like I do every weekend.

1. Facebook Self-Unbundles

The Great Facebook Unbundling

Facebook has failed to invent any new behaviors or even innovate on the behaviors that were commonplace on the service. For instance, Poke is a grand-pappy of Snapchat.

Facebook is too big and too distracted by business priorities to create another popular platform. So it’s just going to acqui-hire the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp. Even Zuckerberg admits that Facebook will exist as a bunch of mobile apps without Facebook’s branding on them.

2. The GIF That Keeps on Giving

Admit It, GIFs Suck. So Why Won’t They Die?

“It is like a whole new medium. Cinemagraphs is a whole new thing. People have understood, with the web, we have images, we have video—people understand what to do with that,” Burg said. “But this kind of in-between thing is a very new phenomenon.”

GIFs have been around for a while but exploded in popularity because of Tumblr. It’s still a bit unclear though how to make GIFs as much as it is to pronounce the word. Vine has also helped in mainstreaming the little looping pieces of art.

I personally love GIFs as a way to quickly digest soccer highlights. But I also love everyday GIFs, like this.

3. Side Projects

Why ‘Side Projects’ matter?

You are letting it grow up protected from the harsh world of putting food on the table and meeting deadlines and targets. It will do that one-day for you. It will do that in spades. But right now, it is just a child. It wants to play around for a bit. It needs time to work out its place in this world.

Gmail started as a side project. So did Nasty Gal and many other businesses that are now legitimate. It turns that if you really love doing something a career may meet you half-way, and that’s when you pick another passion to work for free on.

4. The Lost Film


Maier was an inveterate wanderer and self-taught photographer, favouring a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera, with an uncanny ability to get close to people from all walks of life.

You think you’re weird (and different) until you see someone like Vivian Maier. She’s my new muse.

Only the weird survive.

5. ‘Soccer’ (aka Football)

Soccer, Particularly England’s Premier League, Growing in Popularity in New York Creative Circles

“It is often said that baseball blew up in America in the age of radio, and the N.F.L. rose to dominance once television took over,” Mr. Bennett said. “Soccer is the perfect sport for the Internet era. American fans can follow games and instantaneously track information from global leagues both big and small, feeling as close to their favorite teams as if they lived within a thrown beer of their stadium.”

Soccer has come a long in the United States from being labelled as the Commie sport in the 70s to the sport of intellectuals and culture seekers today.

All it took for me to become a fan was the one game I went to at Highbury Stadium in London to watch Arsenal. Now I can follow the team online and talk about it in depth with other Americans on Twitter and Facebook. It’s ok for hipsters to like soccer, as long as it means more Americans play it and we win the World Cup before I die.

6. Record Store Day

Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza on how “we live in a streaming world”

“When you run a small independent label, at a certain point, it becomes like trying to squeeze a dry lemon. It’s a lot of work, and you’re not getting a lot of juice.” – Rob Garza

Vinyl is durable, like a good conversation. Digital music, on the other hand, is as ephemeral as a Snap(chat). There’s little connection with the music and the artist since listeners just skip on to the next beat. The iPhone/iPod made the music library <a href="“>infinite and streaming has made music more of a commodity. For some bands, however, the digital world has been a boon.

Did I mention that I still miss John Peel.

7. To Done List

Three Things

“What three things do you need to do today?”

You should be able to instantly answer this simple question, each day, every day, for the rest of your life. Without any tools other than the brain you were born with.

You don’t need a pen or a computer to write down your to-do list. It should already be in your brain. If you can’t identify your tasks, then you’re ignoring them and might want to consider scratching them off the list. And after you finish, celebrate with a done list.