I am so incredibly touched by this testimonial I just found on Flickr about my work (I have included the photo he is referring to in this post).
It made me cry. Totally speechless…
"If I had a nickel for every time a fellow photog has assured me that he or she could make "award-winning" pictures with a shoebox, thumbtack & some electrical tape, I’d carry brand new Leica M8s in my pocket to pass out to panhandlers instead of the odd dollar bill.
Vivienne, to the best of my knowledge, has never said this. But she’s the one I’d actually believe if she did.
I mean, consider how challenging it is to take some of the humblest photo gear—cell phone cam or point & shoot—-into what is historically one of the most photographed cities in the world, & create images of familiar scenes that are also unfamiliar—new & fresh & utterly inspiring.
Take the example of her Doyers Street photo. After displaying an instinctively brilliant sense of composition, Vivienne just lets the soft light do its thing, following the curved alley, petering out gently against the darkening facades. Look at the progression of color in the brickwork, counterpointed by the more vivid awnings.
There’s some Vermeer-level shit going on here color & light wise.
Note the figure of the girl in the white dress who appears to be gazing at the tourists at the far end. Is her left hand held up to her face in apprehension? Or is she talking on her cell? Who cares? The gesture is as elegant as it is eloquent.
Finally you see how crappy the tarmac is, rainwater notwithstanding, & there’s garbage & recyclables tucked discretely but visibly in the corners: this really is NYC, baby, not some fancy-schmancy studio set maintained by an army of eager photo assistants that you could never yourself afford.
It’s nothing more than a single, & utterly precious moment in time preserved for posterity by someone who understands that the photographer’s most important tools are the ones on either side of her nose.
That’s just one example. & given that testimonials are recommended to be 100,000 words or less, I won’t try to dissect any others. Suffice to say that I first took notice of Vivienne’s work when I realized an astonishing sky scape she’d posted here or on tumblr hadn’t used a Hasselblad, but rather an iPhone!
Vivienne’s work inspires me & it teaches me (at probably twice her age) that there is always a new way to see something, however familiar it might be to you or others. Furthermore, she shows you that even when confronted with a scene that makes you feel as though you’re facing Godzilla with a Zippo, you can still give him a pretty good hotfoot.
Now that she’s gone full-frame sensor I’m honestly exhilarated anticipating how far her esthetic reach will extend.”
You know, I tell my close, close friends all the time that I wonder sometimes if people understand where I am coming from because sometimes the whole process of art, writing, and photography can feel so isolating.
You pour your heart out into your writing, photography, or whatever it is that you do to release the storm of narratives and emotions inside and you release it all to the world in tiny torrents and hope people see past the gleam on the water’s surface.
And you can only hope that someone out there “gets it”. And when they do, it’s the best (if not scariest) feeling in the world.