I attended a screening of Finding Vivian Maier with Co-Director Charlie Siskel last night. Not to give away too much of the story, but I think it's evident from the trailer that Vivian didn't really share her work before her death in 2007. All that was left was boxes, and boxes, and I mean BOXES of photos. Her life's work went unrecognized until someone else happened upon it.
This morning I was out for a bike ride and thought that is the opposite of modern society. Now days everyone is counting views on Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, 500px, YouTube, Vimeo, Blogger, and whatever else I don't know about; Gathering up those page counts..."My preciousssssss." We spend so much of our time trying to chase the elusive "viral" demarcation.
Charlie made a point during a hallway post screening informal Q&A to say that if Vivian had spent her time promoting her work, like a successful working artist has to, she wouldn't have produced the volume of work she had to in order to show the mastery she did.
That begs the question, how do you balance work with the necessary evils self promotion? In an ideal world we would create great work and it would get recognized, even promoted by word of mouth. We all know that's just a dream. I see beautiful videos and photos done by semi-anonymous artists all the time on social media. There's just such a huge volume of media that there's little to no chance of winning the viral lottery. Three minutes later and we're already on the next big thing (actually it's 3 minutes and 45 seconds in studies on Internet attention span).
I wish I knew the magic balance, but with the pathetically low number of followers on my blog obviously I haven't found it (do appreciate each one of you though). In May I need to add to my year's pledge to "fail harder" and "fail harder more often," which means purposely producing more work. I gathered some ideas this morning. More to come.
John Schwartzman ASC Document
4 weeks ago