Vivian Maier

While I was focused on Henri Carter-Bresson and Ansel Adams, the new photography icon appeared. Finding Vivian Maier film tells the story of a nanny with the camera who quietly perfected her skill.

Of course, there are books published, articles written, who did what when why. She is the perfect example of the intersection of psychology or psychotherapy, and photography, and how two came together to make her what she become.

Apparently, she had high self-esteem, and her identity was an artist. She was true to the HCB / Leica concept of being a spy of reality, an observer of good and bad.

At the same time, she found the way to compensate her trauma and inferiority through taking pictures. Taking, not publishing. It provided her the necessary healing and means to handle her own battles with her shadow.

Art as therapy is not a new concept. Beautiful images invoke our Self-archetypal projections, while horrific images is our shadow work. The goal is to overcome the struggle with the unconscious and become a socially-accepted person. Vivian Maier did not accomplish that goal.

The beautiful image
The horrific image

Another way to see her work is to see her as a reporter at work, maybe she was dreaming to become one. She took newspapers to study the photographs published. It made her more significant in her own imagination.

The lesson of Vivian Maier discovery is, in my opinion, that there are many individuals who are talented as HCB or Ansel Adams, but not discovered. I don’t want to say that anybody or everybody is, but there are many, regardless of the education or lifestyle.

Visual communication with the reality, known as active imagination, or dhyana, or meditation, isn’t limited just to internal subject or external objects. There is no separation. It’s a human ability to make compositions, to frame visual input into archetypal structures. That’s why it’s a universal language.

Our education system has gaps, many gaps, actually. It focuses us on what is important for the politics of the day. Visual communication become the rejected knowledge. The study of it is limited to the study of its history.

Vivian Maier showed us the way to self-study and perfection of the craft of visual communication. Take newspapers, study photographs, think about what made it taken, selected, and published. Do own thinking. And then practice, make mistakes, practice again.

There is no need to formally own a profession in order to do what you want to do. You are free to do anything. Make your own world that serves your own needs. Be a master of your own life.

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