el demócrata del vacío

Hay un excedente de realidad. Un paso de Semana Santa sevillana alzando la nada occidental. No me extraña que D. Lynch lo declare como fuente de inspiración. El comienzo, por  citar algo, de Blue velvet es puro Eggleston. Hipnotizado con este animal.
Dejo varios enlaces donde regodearse. Aquí, aquí y aquí, por poner unos ejemplos. Lo de El bosque democrático me parece una genialidad, directamente:1328 páginas, 1010 imágenes. Nada, un apunte...

no gift other than observation

Me ha costado conseguir este maravilloso prólogo que aparece en el libro que edita el sin par Maloof de fotografías de Vivian Maier. Me ha costado y tengo que agradecer a quien me ha dejado el libro y a quien ha operado a los mandos del Acrobat para poder copiar y pegar el texto. Pero es que lo merecía. El formato ha quedado un poco desvencijado, eso sí, pero me van a disculpar que no lo asee más. 

Geoff Dyer on Vivian Maier

It occasionally happens that a writer who was unable to find a publisher is discovered, after his or her death, to have written a masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces is an example of this—and of the way that the term “masterpiece” gets applied almost as compensation for the regrettable delay. In the world of photography there are numerous different versions of this story. Photographers can amass a body of work and then disappear from sight. Sometimes they enjoy a degree of fame and celebrity (E. O. Hoppé, Ida Kar) before succumbing to an obscurity that is only lifted posthumously. Sometimes they were appreciated in photography circles (William Gedney) and then faded even from the view of their peers. Occasionally the work is discovered in time for the photographer to enjoy belated recognition in his or her own lifetime. If Lartigue was the great example of this, then Miroslav Tichý was an instance of the weirder syndrome whereby discovery came so belatedly that acclaim felt posthumous even while he was alive. Then there is someone like E. J. Bellocq about whose work and life almost nothing was known until after his death. Vivian Maier represents an extreme instance of posthumous discovery; of someone who exists entirely in terms of what she saw. Not only was she entirely unknown to the photographic world, hardly anyone seemed to know that she even took photographs. While this seems unfortunate, perhaps even cruel—a symptom or side effect of the fact that she never married or had children, and apparently had no close friends—it also says something about the unknowable potential of all human beings. As Wisława Szymborska writes of Homer in herpoem “Census”: “No one knows what he does in his spare time.” This alerts us to a remote possibility—or rather to two versions of a similar possibility. First, that one of the people photographed on the street by Maier might also have been a closet photographer who pursued the same hobby with a shared obsessiveness. Second, that if we searched long and hard we might find Maier in images taken on the street by one of the famous photographers whose work her own occasionally resembles. The numerous glimpses in this book of scenes reminiscent of Lisette Model, Helen Levitt (in both black-and-white and color), Diane Arbus, André Kertész, Walker Evans, and others raises questions about the extent of Maier’s knowledge of these photographers and of the larger history of the medium. Did she take certain pictures because, consciously or not, they resembled work she had seen in exhibitions or magazines? Or is it just coincidence (which, as one of Don DeLillo’s characters observes in Libra, “is a science waiting to be discovered”)? Perhaps this point, too, can be usefully reversed: do we respond to these pictures so readily because we know the work of Model et al and see their ghosts in Maier’s work? Either way, it is important to retain a sense of critical perspective. After the inevitable shout from the rooftops to attract the attention a discovery like this deserves, it is not necessary to exaggerate the value of the work in order to bestow on it the quality of a miracle. Maier is an important addition to the canon of street photography; some of her images are outstanding. But even leaving aside the question of quality—and the quantity of quality—the discovery-lag means that Maier’s work has not played its part in shaping how we see the world in the way that Arbus’ has (even if she seems occasionally to have chanced on Arbusian subjects before Arbus). It necessarily has the quality of visual echo, a series of echoes that serve the useful purpose of questioning the ways in which photographic identity and style—more closely bound up with content than any other medium—are established and defined. One aspect of Maier’s content exists in particularly telling relation to her style and situation. Many of her pictures of women show them squeezed historically—their clothes are the expression of this—between the narrowly confining roles of the 1950s and the often frustrated freedoms of the 1960s and beyond. Maier earned her living in the same way as that quintessential figure of Victorian fiction, the nanny (or governess): an outsider whose privileged access to domestic life permits the development of no gift other than observation. In Maier’s case it is as if a sensibility exquisitely adapted to, and the robust product of, these long prescribed circumstances—of which her clothes, the habitual floppy hat and coat, are the perfect expression— has been set free to discreetly prowl the streets of Chicago and New York. There is, inevitably, a poignancy about the way Maier was drawn to old ladies who serve as prophetic representations of her own destiny: solitary, kooky-looking, wrapped up in overcoats, harboring some lifelong secret intuited by the camera’s gift of momentary scrutiny.