How I Got Started in Photography & Vivian Maier, My Favorite Photographer
This July marks two years from when I started my photography journey. Mr. M and I were on our honeymoon in Paris in July of 2014, and after months of crazy wedding planning, I suddenly found myself with three weeks off, in a gorgeous city, with my new husband by my side, and my camera in hand.
At the time I owned a Nikon D3100, which had never spent a day in its life out of 'auto' mode. I had started off the trip hoping to learn to shoot manually, but quickly reverted back to auto to keep up with the fast paced tours, and endless crowds.
Then, one rainy afternoon, Mr. M suggested that we check out the movie theater near where we were staying. Without so much as watching a trailer on youtube, we bought tickets for Finding Vivian Maier.
Vivian Maier was a nanny, and a secretly prolific street photographer whose work was only recently discovered after her death in 2009. Her story in itself is quite compelling, but her photography is truly magnificent. (trust me, I never use the word magnificent, but oh my goodness, it really really is!)
Without knowing a thing about composition, light, or any other artistic and technical qualities (at the time), I found myself incredibly inspired by her work. I left the theater that night resolved to learn everything I could about photography.
I was so determined that I immediately found the nearest wi-fi connection, bought and downloaded a digital photography guide, and started studying it like a text book. I made flash cards, and never put it down. I brought my camera everywhere, and took hundreds of photos. My (resulting) favorite photo from this new push is at the top of this blog post.
One of my favorite things about Vivian Maier is that she took quite a few self portraits with her rolleiflex camera, and creative use of reflections. So many, in fact, that there is an entire book dedicated to her own self portraits. Without knowing this, or anything about Vivian Maier before I watched the movie, I went to use the restroom before the show started, and very uncharacteristically took a selfie in the bathroom mirror. I totally forgot about the selfie until I went to upload my honeymoon photos. When I realized that I had snapped it moments before watching the documentary, I knew it was all meant to be :)
You can view a gallery of Vivian's work here (click anywhere on the image to view the gallery on the official website of her work):
You can watch the trailer for Finding Vivan Maier here: