(601 to 700 of 782 replies)
johnmaloof 2:26am, 10 October 2009
I purchased a giant lot of negatives from a small auction house here in Chicago. It is the work of Vivian Maier, a French born photographer who recently past away in April of 2009 in Chicago, where she resided. I opened a blogspot blog with her work here; www.vivianmaier.com.

I have a ton of her work (about 30-40,000 negatives) which ranges in dates from the 1950's-1970's. I guess my question is, what do I do with this stuff? Check out the blog. Is this type of work worthy of exhibitions, a book? Or do bodies of work like this come up often?

Any direction would be great.
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(601 to 700 of 782 replies)
whitemark1 7 years ago
If Vivian's collectors do use her virality to change the game, it will be a new game for players with every texture and flavor of negatives and prints.
pe‡er 7 years ago
@whitemark1: I did a little bit of online digging to figure out the context of all this hype that you're pushing onto everyone

at least now, I know that there's a financial connection between and you VM's work, so you're not just a "fan" as many here probably assumed you were
benroberts PRO 7 years ago
pray, do tell more. after all, we're all about transparency in this group, right?
pe‡er 7 years ago
he holds a patent on a system that creates an arrangement where private collectors become share-holders of her photographs, even if their owned by an institution, like a museum.

the photographs become a long-term possession of the collector and they're then able to profit from the exhibitions, publications, etc.
krameroneill 7 years ago
That's patentable?

Oh, and: Whhaaaaaaa?
michaelcosio Posted 7 years ago. Edited by michaelcosio (member) 7 years ago
In his own words, and shirtless: vimeo.com/12682189
benroberts PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by benroberts (member) 7 years ago
so to sum that up, he's just another leech?

edit - @michaelcosio

wow, now that i've seen that professional video presentation, coaccession is for me!!
krameroneill Posted 7 years ago. Edited by krameroneill (member) 7 years ago
Wow. For every great artist, there's a hundred people trying to make money off him/her. [A thousand, if it's in the US.]

"Have your Monet and money too!" Because God knows, if you can't make money off it, it's useless.

Come on, neoliberal economic model, just fucking drop already and save us all. You've been dead for years.
sweet distin PRO 7 years ago
poor vivian.
johnmaloof 7 years ago
Just for the record, no, I'm not interested in "coaccession".
benroberts PRO 7 years ago
good, because i have a feeling Vivian wouldn't have been too keen on it either.

oh bollocks, i just joined the 'speculating idiots' posse.
pe‡er Posted 7 years ago. Edited by pe‡er (member) 7 years ago
@johnmaloof: it was this that led me to that assumption...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsD6oAu5dLU - (1:25 min)
krameroneill 7 years ago
So it's leasing, except it gives the museum an incentive to handle the artwork carefully. Well, as someone who knows a lot of people in the art and archiving world, let me be the first to say that "not destroying the artwork" is pretty much job #1 with those people already. And not (brace yourself) because they are greedy, but because they care about preservation. Crazy, I know: people doing things out of love rather than for economic gain. At the moment, I find this fact quite heartening.
johnmaloof Posted 7 years ago. Edited by johnmaloof (member) 7 years ago
@peter: Mark White seems like a nice guy. He approached me for the first time at the opening reception (didn't know he was making a video) and presented his idea of coaccession to me. It's not a good fit for Vivian, in my opinion, so I'm not interested in it.

[Edited grammar]
benroberts PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by benroberts (member) 7 years ago
@peter oh, so whitemark1 is that guy who corners you at a private view and all you can do is look desperately over his shoulder looking for someone, anyone that you know so that you can get away from the mindnumbing conversation/sales pitch and get into the free booze.
whitemark1 7 years ago
It's true that for every great artist, there's a hundred people trying to make money off him/her. It may even be true that there's ten times more doing that in the US. But isn't it refreshing to see someone exploring how to channel that huge financial value that a great artist generates into active support for the arts, rather than just leaving that financial value idle?

I tell museums "Have your Monet and money too!" because art cannot live by appreciation alone. Exhibits, research and conservation all take money, so God knows, if you can't find that money, the art sits in storage, eventually decaying into a useless pile of sludge that no one wants to see. It turns out museums are sitting on a huge pile of money even while they're laying off curators because donations are down in the recession. If they put the money in their Monets to work, they can have a lot more exhibitions, research and conservation.

Your kneejerk reaction about a neoliberal economic model is just par for the course. It's easier to posture about "fucking drop already and save us all" than actually think what it would mean if artworks started funding the arts. Well, I'd rather think about how to improve the way society funds culture so we can fund a lot more arts and sciences. Are you sure you're not the one who's been dead -- to thought, at least --for years?

Coaccession is not leasing, so it gives the collector (not the museum) more incentive to handle the artwork carefully. As someone who knows a lot of people in the art and archiving world, you probably know a lot of people who think finding a job is pretty much job #1 these days, since the art and archiving world has been pretty hard hit by the recession. Those that still have jobs are probably wondering which artworks they can afford to save, since conservation projects tend to suffer even more than employment. The financial value of artworks can turn all that around, letting museums hire and exhibit and research and conserve. And I push this not (brace yourself) because I am greedy, but because I care about exhibition and research and preservation. Crazy, I know: people doing things out of love rather than for economic gain. At the moment, I'd think you'd find this fact quite heartening, but I tend to doubt you'll get past your kneejerk reaction.
sweet distin PRO 7 years ago
so, when's the book coming out?
Sixft Whiterabbit PRO 7 years ago
ETDM [deleted] 7 years ago
Would this be a good point to start a new thread?
whitemark1 7 years ago
It didn't take any online digging to figure out the context of all my enthusiasm for changing the traditional model of museums. I posted links right here on HCSP leading to those sites you consulted. You did, though, have to jump to conclusions to call it hype that I'm pushing onto everyone.

In fact I've told John that my willingness to advise him on new models for museums doesn't depend on whether he uses Coaccession or not. With image licensing a Vivian Maier museum is financially viable with or without Coaccession. I'd like him to use Coaccession because that would make even more resources available to support and promote Vivian's legacy, but he can do a lot without it. So, your kneejerk reaction about a financial connection between and me and VM's work is about as accurate as @krameroneill's. In fact I am just a "fan" as many here probably assumed I am. I just happen to be a fan who's given a lot more thought than most to how to finance rotating and permanent exhibitions of Vivian's legacy. But maybe I'm the one jumping to conclusions. You were about to offer a better plan, were you?

Your description of my patent-pending method gets most basic facts wrong, much as @krameroneill's does. But then, why should I expect any better here? It's all about kneejerk reactions.
pe‡er 7 years ago
@benroberts: haha. lesson learned not to snub that HDR landscape weekend warrior too soon
whitemark1 7 years ago
Well, at least @pe‡er and @krameroneill had something to say.
krameroneill 7 years ago
You are depressing me.
krameroneill Posted 7 years ago. Edited by krameroneill (member) 7 years ago
Do you know what neoliberalism is? How could someone have a "kneejerk" reaction to something that's ruled since before I was born? What, I didn't have enough time to think about it? The kneejerk reaction is yours, not mine, for presuming that this model must be the end-all solution. Every sucker in all of history's eras have felt this way; when the sun revolved around the earth and Zeus ran everything, the middle minds of the era could not imagine anything different, and anyone who did was being unrealistic, rebelling against the self-evident "natural order". You and Francis Fukuyama are just as deluded now as they were then.

Good luck makin' some dough off it, though.

edit: I removed an insulting word that may not actually apply in this situation. I think it's meant to refer to shady lawyers, which isn't right here. I regret the error.
krameroneill 7 years ago
"since the art and archiving world has been pretty hard hit by the recession"

Explain that one to me. My archivist friends and my archivist fiancée would love to know about it. I guess they were too busy working to get the news.
whitemark1 7 years ago
Given your great sympathy (I'm alright, Jack...) for all those arts and sciences people this recession has thrown out of work or kept from getting jobs in the first place, it's easy to understand why you have no patience with or interest in exploring ways to use resources at hand to put folks back to work and hire more. Or were about to offer a better plan?
krameroneill 7 years ago
Most established archives (at least in the US, Canada, and Europe) are relatively insulated from the tumults of the market, as they are part of bigger institutions drawing on trusts set up long ago, generally by long-dead white guys. This is a very good thing, since they should be shielded as much as possible from the machinations of our failing quasi-capitalist economies. There will be a gatekeeper, of course, and some archives and archivists are, frankly, better at their jobs than others. But the good ones take their jobs very seriously. They're not looking to innovate their funding structure, they're looking to serve the work to the best of their abilities. "The market" can't and should not do this, it is not a for-profit endeavor, any more than putting out fires is.
whitemark1 7 years ago
Well, we've already seen what the gatekeepers at established institutions have said to John about saving Vivian's archives: Sorry, John, some archives are, frankly, better than others. We're very serious about taking care of the good ones, but the trusts we're drawing on, set up long ago, generally by long-dead white guys, don't give us the wherewithal to save everything. We're not looking to innovate our funding structure just so we can save this nanny's things. We're just looking to serve the archives we've already got to the best of our abilities. The market might be able to save her things, true, but it should not do this because it just is not done.

Really, Kramer, I appreciate you taking time to explain how things are in your world. Pardon me if I think it's shameful that museums and archives won't engage all their resources to further their missions. We'd have so much more art if artworks supported the arts, we'd have so much more science if specimens and artifacts supported the sciences. People put money into gold, which stimulates gold mining. I'd like to see them putting money into artworks and specimens and artifacts to stimulate the arts and sciences. Even not- for-profit endeavors need financing, and creating markets that finance cultural not- for-profits will let culture expand. You seem to think that's a bad thing just because markets do it, but I think it's even worse that traditional financial methods severely limit support for the arts and sciences.

Those established archives with their relative insulation from the tumults of the market just keep on doing the same old things the same old way year after year after year, like the bigger institutions they are part of. This is a not very good thing, since the stagnation afforded by their shielding from market pressures and opportunities leads them to reject progress when it appears, calling it just more machinations of our failing quasi-capitalist economies. I'm alright, Jack, indeed.
whitemark1 7 years ago
Just for the record, I'll repeat my intent to support you in keeping Vivian's legacy out of storage and on exhibit, backed by significant curatorial resources, even if you don't Coaccession℠ any of her negatives. Knowing about her life and extraordinary work under trying conditions will shame some overly-sensitive folks into giving up their photographic ambitions, but it will surely inspire many more to pursue them, and I'm all for that.

Publishing and licensing her images can provide plenty of income to support her legacy's outreach with permanent and rotating exhibits, research, conservation and guides, so a new Vivian Maier museum could certainly pay for itself without Coaccession. Maybe you'll even find an established institution willing to draw deeper on its trust funds so you don't have to use new museum models that take full advantage of market opportunities to underwrite the sharing of her legacy with the world. But, please, don't let the establishment convince you to compromise over exhibiting her work. She's the people's photographer, and the people deserve access.

Of course, when it comes to sharing and conserving her legacy, the more resources the better. Letting her fans invest in her legacy to save for their futures, as Coaccession does, would convert a Vivian Maier museum's idle capital appreciation into active capital income for its programs, allowing their expansion and improvement. You might not need the added income for ordinary access and the usual programs, but if new methods can let Vivian's legacy afford extraordinary programs, I'd say she and her public deserve the programs. It would be their work and interest and investments that allow them.

Please forgive this disagreement with your current opinion that Coaccession's not a good fit for Vivian's legacy. Sharing cultural property ownership this way is such a new concept that, despite its firm roots in current property law, it can be hard for people fully grasp how it works and what it offers. I still gain new insights regularly despite the years of research and development I've already devoted to it. I hope you're interested enough in added resources for Vivian's legacy to take more time to diligently explore this and other possibilities that can offer them. You only heard about Coaccession for the first time at the opening reception (where I didn't know Fred was making videos), and that's not a lot of time to come to a conclusion. Besides, I don't just seem like a nice guy. Some inadequately-formed opinions around here to the contrary, I am one ;-)
two cute dogs 7 years ago
Send him a fucking email. I doubt anyone else gives a shit about co whatever.
whitemark1 7 years ago
Yeah... who knows why pe‡er brought it up here in the first place?
pe‡er Posted 7 years ago. Edited by pe‡er (member) 7 years ago
because I was curious if there was a dollar sign attached to every time you said "these wonderful images"

but you do not have to elaborate as to how I'm wrong on that assumption. I'll let it go for the sake of brevity!

oh and btw, I think it's pretty sinister to piss people off with long answers and then re-direct that anger on the person asking the questions
whitemark1 7 years ago
Well, you could have just asked. Your assumption took on a life of its own.
krameroneill Posted 7 years ago. Edited by krameroneill (member) 7 years ago
I have the weirdest feeling I've been taken for a successful and/or rich person. This is novel, but sadly incorrect.

Anyway, you'd be amazed at some of the stuff that gets preserved. Often very obscure, wholly "unsuccessful" work by the metric of money. And I think I know why: because art loses money. It always has and – outside of a few gimmicky self-promoters like Jeff Koons – it always will. Guys like Koons are successful because their work is bound for the trash heap of history, while, say, Hollis Frampton died in obscurity, but will be remembered for generations to come as one of the best things our society produced, thanks to archivists who appreciate him beyond his dollar potential.

Art doesn't make money. That's why it's always taken patrons who don't mind spending their money on something better than themselves, expecting no monetary return, from the Church during the Renaissance to the UK National Lottery Fund now. I guess that doesn't match the American sensibility, where finding the right "angle" can make a "win-win" situation, wherein one can have one's cake and eat it too. But that's just how it is.
grasas 7 years ago
It'd be nice if the next (8th!) page of the thread was about women trying to catch John Maloof in order to get hold of some of Maier's work. Like with sexy gold digging concepts, proposing and fighting over him. Sazzy action, you know, PG13 and all that.

For pages 9 and 10 we would like to have some long lost child show up in the discussion. Of Vivian's. It would definitely bump up the audience rates. It might be a clichéd plot twist but it always works.

We were pondering plot lines going along some (sexy) relationship VM had with an art Pope (Dali? Lietchenstein? Rodchenko!). That should give us enough filler for pages 11 and 12.

About 4 weeks of showtime in total. More than enough.
whitemark1 7 years ago
Well, at least all your posturing has led to one hell of an excuse for any established institutions rejecting Vivian's legacy: It can't be art! It's worth too much money.
flat5 Posted 7 years ago. Edited by flat5 (member) 7 years ago
Whitemark -- you do realize you've pretty much killed the thread for many people around here. Right?

Basically the opposite of what you're trying to do is happening.

I dunno, use this hcsp experience as a testing ground for your ventures and find a way to switch up the approach. Fo else you gonna go broke.

(Ed) and maybe change the name too. It's too close to coercion.
Or shit, actually, maybe just keep doing what you're doing.
sweet distin PRO 7 years ago
Nick_Turpin PRO 7 years ago
Vivian Maiers work will be exhibited at The German Gymnasium at Kings Cross in London during the London Street Photography Festival. It's a good venue and a very exciting prospect for those on the UK.

I don't think they'll be any 'coaccessioning' going on their just a lot of appreciation of this womans wonderful eye.

John will be speaking about her work at the International Street Photography Conference at Format on the 4th March as well.
Nick_Turpin PRO 7 years ago
Ha Sweet Distin we were posting at the same time about the same thing :-)
sweet distin PRO 7 years ago
Twitter is my friend.
krameroneill Posted 7 years ago. Edited by krameroneill (member) 7 years ago
edit: deleted my last comment, it's hopeless.
Derek Von Eville (so evil it's pronounced Eve-EL) [deleted] 7 years ago
At this point this thread should be locked, he's figured out what he's doing with the negatives by now...
whitemark1 7 years ago
Look, @pe‡er brought this up: "at least now I know that there's a financial connection between and you VM's work, so you're not just a "fan" as many here probably assumed you were." I'd just mentioned Coaccession℠ to explain who I am; it's my brainchild, my art in the media of law and finance. Yes, a Vivian Maier museum could use Coaccession to finance programs, but it could use many other tools besides. I'd like to see collectors create a Vivian Maier museum whether there's a Coaccession connection or not. Established museums keep the work of established photographers in storage most of the time since they lack the wherewithal to exhibit more than a tiny fraction of what they own, and I hope Vivian's legacy can avoid that fate. As just a fan, I feel her legacy has already spent too much time in storage.

Once @pe‡er brought Coaccession up, Peter Medawar's dictum took over: "The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it." Well, I happen to think my art, my brainchild is a good idea for culture, for finance, for society. So, I push back at rejection, explaining what's good about Coaccession. I'm not pushing into a vacuum. If the thread stops mentioning Coaccession, I stop mentioning Coaccession.

As far as the name goes, I expect the Coaccession's principle users to be museums, and I specifically position it as an alternative to deaccession. With deaccession, a museum sells all rights to an object from its collection. Coaccession lets the museum retain cultural rights to the object while still getting almost all the cash a deaccession would have produced. It's a win for the museum that sells, and a win for the collector that buys, so they enter into the win-win transaction voluntarily -- no need for coercion.

So, are you through mentioning Coaccession? We can stop talking about it anytime the thread chooses to drop it. I don't know what you think I'm trying to do, but I will tell you I'm just responding to the thread.
akochanowski PRO 7 years ago
Oh shut the fuck up already. And don't use "Coaccession" with a service mark. I just checked the USPTO and there is not even an app for the name, much less a granted mark. Congratulations, you're breaking the law.
whitemark1 Posted 7 years ago. Edited by whitemark1 (member) 7 years ago
You write about Coaccessioning℠ as if it were a bad thing, but it's just another way fans can show lot of appreciation for this woman's wonderful eye. It's quite simple, really.

At the German Gymnasium at Kings Cross in London during the London Street Photography Festival, the Vivian Maier Museum shows up with negatives that are usually in storage. A couple shows up with a baby in a pram. The VMM would like to run more programs, but all it has are negatives, and all they generate is capital appreciation. The couple would like to send the baby to a street photography course in 16 years, and while they have investments that will finance the course, each year they have to pay taxes on their investments' dividends and interest income before they reinvest it to keep saving for the course. So, the VMM Coaccessions℠ a negative to the couple. They cash out the investments and buy possession of the negative, subject to VMM's cultural rights. VMM invests the cash and uses the dividends and interest to finance programs. In five years, the winner of the VMM outsider curator contest wants the negative to make a print -- financed by dividends and interest the negative's financial value produced -- for a show. The couple happily send in the negative, knowing the show will enhance its provenance, letting their first-grader attend a better course in eleven years. The print made, VMM returns the negative to the couple. The time arrives for the baby's course, the couple sell their conditional possession to a fellow saving for retirement, and baby, thanks to all the capital appreciation, learns street photography at VMM. And it all started at the German Gymnasium at Kings Cross in London during the London Street Photography Festival.

Would that be so bad?

apostrophe placement
whitemark1 Posted 7 years ago. Edited by whitemark1 (member) 7 years ago
So sue me for not expressing my creativity in CCDs or film. It's my protest over the poor treatment of artists working in law and finance.
Bryan.Formhals Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Bryan.Formhals (member) 7 years ago
@@whitemark1: Better yet, we'll ban you.
whitemark1 7 years ago
Let's just drop the subject if people think it has nothing to do with directions for John. I'd be happy with that.
justinsdisgustin PRO 7 years ago
just go away. You are the fucking worst.
Bryan.Formhals Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Bryan.Formhals (member) 7 years ago
@whitemark1: You can either agree to go away quietly, or you'll be banned.

We gave you the benefit of the doubt and you ended up derailing this thread which up until you arrived was a rather interesting documentation of the story as it unfolded.
whitemark1 7 years ago
My apologies. Please, document away. Coaccession℠ has no part in it anyway, according to John, so there's every reason to drop it here.
sweet distin PRO 7 years ago
hmmm, It's like an endowment salesman has come here for free advertizing.

whitemark, however you feel about your product (and I truly have no idea whether it's good or bad) this really isn't the place to be promoting it. And you've made your point now so anyone interested can contact you privately.
Account inactive go to: www.jamesdodd.net [deleted] 7 years ago
I kinda feel like deleting every single mention of coaccession from this thread.
stef renard Posted 7 years ago. Edited by stef renard (member) 7 years ago
If this guy says that word one more time i'm going insane...

indeed delete it al, there are allready too much commercials in flickr
Paul Russell99 PRO 7 years ago
@ whitemark1

"The couple would like to send the baby to a street photography course in 16 years"

BTW, I think that's probably the most unlikely scenario of all time.
akochanowski PRO 7 years ago
You should. I checked the guy's website. He claims to be the "inventor" of a monetizing art method, and is selling T-shirts with the name, on which he places a "SM" designation. What that means technically is that he claims to have obtained a service mark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the name as used in commerce. In reality, there is no such mark, so he's violating the law at least in that regard. I guess he's now tried to glom on to John Maloof to see if he'd work with him on getting the Meier property into his scheme, which, mirabile dictu, no one else has seen fit to do either.
ETDM [deleted] 7 years ago
Gah, this thread is making me angry now. To claim something is "a good idea for culture" and yet suffix that something with a service mark is a complete contradiction.

@johnmaloof - please don't change the drip feed approach to posting the images if you do create a dedicated website.
Sixft Whiterabbit PRO 7 years ago
So far nobody has said anything about the loathsomely cheeky assertion of being an artist using the medium of law and finance.

Now someone can justify their actions by claiming to be working in the 'art' of anything, like, say, Mengele's work was art in the media of pain and gore.
johnmaloof 7 years ago
@ETDM: RE: Drip feed - Thanks for the input. I was thinking the same thing.
photodesignforce 7 years ago
Every time Mr Whitemark uses the word "Coaccession" my brain goes numb. Its like a bad commercial much like the ones on television late at night. Could this bad commercial be ran somewhere else please!
antielectrons Posted 7 years ago. Edited by antielectrons (member) 7 years ago
Anyone else see the irony in making this thread "only available to people who are signed in" and callls to see contributors images with the thread being about an unknown standofish photographer who showed her photos to nobody?
benroberts PRO 7 years ago
possibly, although something makes me suspect that there's no photographic geniuses hiding in amongst the trolls of this group. and that includes you.
antielectrons 7 years ago
No doubt you would have said the same about Vivian were still alive and contributing thread on flickr...
benroberts PRO 7 years ago
yes, of course i would have, no doubt about it.

do you have any other ridiculous assumptions? no? then why don't you piss off now?

sweet distin PRO 7 years ago
do you see the irony in expecting to be taken seriously when you don't have the balls to stand behind anything you say and what you do say is snide and bitter.

it's not welcome, just stop, please.
flat5 7 years ago

hmm.. can't seem to find anyone by the name of antielectrons in the members list.
Bryan.Formhals 7 years ago
Check the banned list.
dirk glassly PRO 7 years ago
This is my first post here, and apologies I can't contribute to the ongoing discussion as I am still reeling wide-eyed from 'discovering' Vivian Maier's astonishing work through a recent feature in The Observer (16 Jan 2011 - www.observer.co.uk/new-review) and onto your vivianmaier.blogspot. I am blown away by the quality and power of her photographs, and the historical importance. The scale of the corpus of work is mind-blowing. And that piquant mystery of her life is made doubly enthralling by being able to see what she photographed, and how the world looked back at her, at the moment she clicked the shutter.

Your vivianmaier.blogspot is superb. I want to thank you for all you have done, and all you are doing, to bring her work to light, and honour her memory. It is a truly awesome (for once the word is appropriate) task, and incredibly worthwhile.
very best wishes
PS: sorry if all this has been said before.
PPS: then again, maybe it needs repeating once in a while.
photo & life PRO 7 years ago
Quelle Œuvre, Quelle Histoire !!!
Bryan.Formhals 7 years ago
GoddessOfHellFire 7 years ago
Oh wow! I see why your attached to them! I so would be too! Too bad I didn't see this earlier! Would have lent a helping hand. However I am about a hour out of the city! Good Luck on your quest looks like you are on the right path! I see Bob Thall was suggested, Maybe Catherine Edelman Gallery would be a good suggestion too.
However, I am guessing they would want to see Platinum prints.... but worth inquiring!
She carries alot of photographers.
Now I am going to have to plan a day trip and see these up close and personal!
Lots O Luck!
Sounds like she did alot of what I have shooting for giggles when your out on a walk in Chi. it's rather people / cultural rich and a relaxing thing!
MarkColman 7 years ago
bryan, thanks for the B&H interview link. Seems like he is endorsing them.

Hope I'll be able to see some of the actual work in person one day. The traditionalist in me wonders, why not some silver gelatin prints? That said, I do not doubt the quality and have given up on making wet prints myself. Just seems like since they were of that era so why not represent it as that?
whitemark1 7 years ago
Eighty Images by Vivian Maier from the 50's and 60's at Hilaneh von Kories Gallery in Germany

Photographic memories in the Toronto Star

Vivian Maier: 'a patron of the poor... BBC's Katty Kay speaks to Maloof about the discovery and what the work says about the photographer and the time in which they were taken.
Carolyn@Revivim 7 years ago
I just want to agree totally with dirk glassly's comments above. The words "blown away" and "awesome" are so totally appropriate for my reaction to Vivian Maier's photographs. I keep returning to look at more of her photos as they come on line on the blogspot site.
All credit to John Maloof for his work in uncovering her amazing works and her equally incredible story.
johnmaloof 7 years ago
Short story on Maier on CBS Evening News:
the dude41 [deleted] 7 years ago
Just found this - this is an amazing find.

Full credit to John and the team for making this travelling exhibition possible. It must be a huge task to develop all of that film. I wonder if John could drop in and provide us with details of how he is going about this? It all seems so interesting.

It would be great if this project could come out to LA for an exhibition in the near future - in other words I hope that it doesn't stay Chicagocentric and is offered to other residents.

I also find her selfportraits more revealing than any anecdotes that John has given in the form of interviews from past employers etc. She always seems to be cast in half-light shadow - makes you wonder what that means to the bigger picture.
whitemark1 7 years ago
Now that you've got your part of Vivian's legacy out of storage and before the public, please keep an exhibit open somewhere, always. It deserved better than storage in the first place, and letting it go back would be a shame for her legacy and the public that appreciates it.
whitemark1 7 years ago
A link to the current German exhibition:


... from the Lomography Magazine comments:

IvanDavidBoden 7 years ago
WOW!!! What a story!!! What amazing photographs!

You are so fortunate to have found this treasure.
Christopher Cauble 7 years ago

I fully respect your decisions and commend your handling of Vivians work. I offer my humble words of advice, opinion and encouragement...

Many have suggested donating to universities or museums. As much as I respect these institutions, a body/story of work like this deserves wide public recognition. You're on the right track, keep up the blog, get the website running, offer books periodically, and perhaps most importantly... STAY SOCIAL!

Even though Vivian's photography was from a different era, it now finds itself deep within the social era. If you are up to the task, which it appears you are, this could be just as much a part of your life, as photography was to Vivian's life.

I would also like to add that even YOU can be a huge inspiration to others just as Vivian and the story have been to millions already. The very fact that you have become inspired enough to adventure into your own street photography sends chills through my body. Keep it up! You are in position to be the protégé Vivian never had.

I even believe this Flickr thread will become a part of history. It's amazing isn't it?

- Christopher Cauble
whitemark1 7 years ago
The Kitchen Sisters interview John Maloof and Mary Ellen Mark:


Vivian (at 4:44): "...so now I'm going to close, and quickly run next door to do my work..."
Old Bonefisher Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Old Bonefisher (member) 7 years ago
Just today I've discovered this thread -- and Vivian Maier. Full disclosure: I am a trial lawyer and (very) amateur photographer. I do not claim to be, nor am I, an expert in intellectual property or copyright law. Nothing I say here, or in any follow up comment, may be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship with anyone. End of disclosure.

It seems to me that there is a serious question as to who owns the rights to Ms. Maier's body of work. This may have been discussed -- I have only had time to read the first few pages and the last page of this thread. If someone has chimed in with the definitive answer to the question, my apologies, and please feel free to disregard the rest of this post.

From what I understand, Mr. Maloof purchased a trove of Ms. Maier's work, mostly in the form of negatives and undeveloped film, at an auction of her property after she died.

It is well established that mere ownership of a copy of a work (e.g. a print or a negative) does not give the possessor the rights under copyright. The copyright remains with the creator of the work. A person owning the negatives or prints of a photographer does not own the copyright, unless that has also been conveyed by the author of the work. In the case of Ms. Maier's work, there is no indication that she conveyed her interest in her work before she died. This may explain why various museums and others have been reluctant to do anything with this body of work.

The owners of the copyright in Ms. Maier's work are her heirs at law, whomever they may be. Just because they may not be currently be known does not mean they do not exist. It is likely that the current interest in Ms. Maier's work, and the attendant speculation that her body of work may be worth a small fortune, will bring heirs, legitimate and otherwise, out of the woodwork. That may well explain the reluctance of museums and others to attempt to display her work. For more on this, see the Wikipedia articles on orphan works, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphan_works and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphan_works_in_the_United_States

As much as I am sure many people would like to see Ms. Maier's work widely available and appreciated, our laws protecting her and her heirs' interests in her work will make that difficult. Under our copyright law, only the owner of the copyright has the right to reproduce the work in copies, prepare derivative works based on the work, distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or importantly, to display the work publicly.

Mr. Maloof has done yoeman's service in preserving Ms. Maier's body of work, but he well may not be able to benefit from it beyond selling the negatives he owns. There is an equitable principal that "equity will not aid a volunteer." In the legal/equitable context, "volunteer" refers to someone who provides a benefit (e.g. saving Ms. Maier's body of work) regardless of whether the recipient wants it. Said another way, "No good deed goes unpunished."

Mr. Maloof may be able to sell or give away or otherwise divest himself of the negatives, just as you or I are able to sell, give away, or otherwise convey a piece of art we own, whether it be a photo, a painting, a print, a sculpture, or whatever. But what he cannot do, because he does not own the rights, is convey the rights provided by copyright. Those belong to the Estate of Vivian Maier. He may not make and sell prints; he may not prepare derivative works based on her work; and he may not display the work publicly, subject to certain exceptions in the copyright law, e.g. for "fair use."

Most of us here are photographers as well as appreciators of photography. On the one hand, we would like to have Ms. Maier's work available to be enjoyed by all. But think about it -- if you were to die, would you want the benefits of your work to go to your heirs, even if they could not be immediately determined, or to the person who bought your negatives, scanned images, backup CDs and DVDs, or USB and hard drives at a garage sale after you died?

The copyright law protects your work and creates a property right that you can convey during your lifetime if you wish, and if you still own it at the time of your death, it is conveyed when you die by your will or the laws of intestate succession if you did not have a will. Ms. Maier's valuable rights pass to her heirs, no matter who owns her negatives.
two cute dogs Posted 7 years ago. Edited by two cute dogs (member) 7 years ago
I'm no IP lawyer but couldn't it be argued that copyright passed on the sale of the negatives? For what use would negatives be without copyright?

Edit - just re-read the above post. Hmm. John - what were the terms of sale when you bought the negatives?
Account inactive go to: www.jamesdodd.net [deleted] Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Account inactive go to: www.jamesdodd.net (member) 7 years ago
@Old Bonefisher:

Interesting information, but there may be a loophole in what you say:

"if you still own it at the time of your death, it is conveyed when you die by your will or the laws of intestate succession if you did not have a will"

Vivian may not have owned the work at the time of her death. The work was auctioned as a result of non payment of a storage lease. Presumably they would have a contract in place which would allow the possessions in the locker to pass to them (maybe including intellection property rights) in order for them to recoup their losses should someone not pay?

If that's the case would it change the rights of her heirs?
jacktastic 7 years ago
@OldBonefisher Thanks for reviving my interest in a thread that I'd long since given up on.

@James Dodd You may be on to something.
monkeyfinger PRO 7 years ago
I'm sure John will have considered this - it's not as if he's rushing head long into publishing it all. I'm also sure that if legitimate heirs came along he would never deny them whatever royalties they had a right to.
two cute dogs 7 years ago
Eagerly awaiting Johns answer. A lot of purchase and sale contracts are drafted very broadly to include ip. Hope the auction house and bailiffs had good lawyers.
Kerstin Mattys 7 years ago
I doubt that J.M. will comment on that.
two cute dogs 7 years ago
The question has been asked. So not commenting will only raise more questions. JM seems to have been pretty upfront about all of this so I suspect he would.
johnmaloof 7 years ago
I wish I could but I can't say much because I have a non-disclosure agreement in this regard.
monkeyfinger PRO 7 years ago
Fair enough.
Old Bonefisher 7 years ago
@James Dodd raises an interesting point when he says "Vivian may not have owned the work at the time of her death. The work was auctioned as a result of non payment of a storage lease. Presumably they would have a contract in place which would allow the possessions in the locker to pass to them (maybe including intellection property rights) in order for them to recoup their losses should someone not pay?

"If that's the case would it change the rights of her heirs?"

If Ms. Maier in fact conveyed all her intellectual property rights along with the physical manifestations of her work -- the negatives, undeveloped film and any prints in the collection -- then her heirs would not have any remaining rights. That would depend on how the lease was drafted and how it would be interpreted by a court if there were any ambiguity. As curious as we all are, I don't believe we'll soon know the answer to the question.

Keep in mind, though, that "[m]ere ownership of a book, manuscript, painting, or any other copy or phonorecord does not give the possessor the copyright. The law provides that transfer of ownership of any material object that embodies a protected work does not of itself convey any rights in the copyright." (See Copyright Basics, p.2, published by the United States Copyright Office, www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf) Unless the lease agreement specifically mentions that any intellectual property rights in the surrendered property would go to the lessor on default by the lessee, her rights probably remained with her. But as I said, we're not likely to know that any time soon. It is, I believe, a matter that will have to be litigated.
Old Bonefisher 7 years ago
@two cute dogs noted that "[a] lot of purchase and sale contracts are drafted very broadly to include ip. Hope the auction house and bailiffs had good lawyers."

The person who needed a good lawyer was the owner of the storage unit. If he didn't receive the intellectual property rights to Ms. Maier's work along with the physical property when she failed to pay the rent, then he had no rights for the auction house to sell to Mr. Maloof. It is axiomatic that you cannot sell something you do not own.
ETDM [deleted] Posted 7 years ago. Edited by ETDM (member) 7 years ago
if you were to die, would you want the benefits of your work to go to your heirs, even if they could not be immediately determined, or to the person who bought your negatives

Neither. I would prefer the copyright to evaporate entirely.
Old Bonefisher 7 years ago
@ETDM said, in answer to the question, "if you were to die, would you want the benefits of your work to go to your heirs, even if they could not be immediately determined, or to the person who bought your negatives?"

"Neither. I would prefer the copyright to evaporate entirely."

That should be easy enough to arrange. Just have your lawyer rewrite your will so that your intellectual property is conveyed to the public, i.e. becomes part of the public domain.
ETDM [deleted] 7 years ago
And *that's* why the system is broken.
whitemark1 7 years ago
InclinedPlane, a Hacker News copyright discussant*, raises an interesting point:

... if I sell every known copy of the work to you while intentionally depriving myself of any copy and the ability to reproduce copies, then there is a very much stronger case that through that action I've transfered the rights to the work.

As far as I know that seems to be the case here.

That applies whether the IP was still in Vivian's estate or belonged to the storage facility that sold her possessions to RPN Sales before it in turn resold them to John and other buyers. The current possessors don't just have a copy of her original work, they have the only copy of her original work in most cases.

* news.ycombinator.net/item?id=2130820
frankiesinclair 7 years ago
2cutedogs: I think a lot of people try and pressure artists into selling copyright because they don't understand it - they somehow think they are being cheated if they don't get the total rights. It's just ignorance. Best to license an image, for certain usage. Imagine not being able to put your own image on your own website without asking permission or paying? Sell the copyright and that's it. You can't do a thing with it for ever more.

I really can't imagine a storage company having rights to IP written into their lease. Just seems a bit of a stretch.
Old Bonefisher 7 years ago
In answer to @whitemark1's query about whether copyright is lost when the original copyright holder no longer has the means to make copies of the work, I don't think it matters.

17 U.S.C. sec. 202 teaches us that: "Ownership of a copyright, or of any of the exclusive rights under a copyright, is distinct from ownership of any material object in which the work is embodied. Transfer of ownership of any material object, including the copy or phonorecord in which the work is first fixed, does not of itself convey any rights in the copyrighted work embodied in the object; nor, in the absence of an agreement, does transfer of ownership of a copyright or of any exclusive rights under a copyright convey property rights in any material object."

And 17 U.S.C. sec. 204(a) teaches us that: "A transfer of copyright ownership, other than by operation of law, is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a note or memorandum of the transfer, is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner’s duly authorized agent."

Given that the exclusive rights under a copyright (e.g. the right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies by sale, rental, lease, or lending, etc.) have nothing to do with the material object in which the work is embodied, and given that a transfer of those rights, or some subset of them, must be by a written instrument signed by the copyright owner, Ms. Maier's or her heirs' ownership of the rights under copyright are intact even if they have no means to produce copies of the works. They can prevent others from reproducing the work, preparing derivative works, making copies for sale, and so forth. And if someone else does these things, they can sue for copyright infringement and collect damages.

Here's a real-life example . . . I have an original watercolor in my den that I bought at an auction. The artist is a friend of mine, and I know that he did not make any prints of this particular piece before it was sold. Could I, then, make and sell prints? No. At least not without his written permission. He still holds the copyright to the work. After he dies can I do it? Again, no. He has specifically bequeathed his intellectual property rights to his children in his will. (I know, because I prepared the will.) But even if he died intestate, those rights would pass by operation of law to his heirs at law.

So everything seems to hinge on whether Ms. Maier's contract with the storage facility contained specific language that would convey her copyright as well as her physical property in storage if she failed to pay the rent. Without examining that contract, and probably without having the matter litigated, we are not in a position to know.
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