Posted in Miscellany

Ramble with Camera

I went for a walk today, taking advantage of a bit of sun coming out between rain for days past and rain for days coming. While I walked, because I had my new camera with me, I was thinking about Vivian Maier. She had no recognition in her lifetime, in fact was completely unknown and only known now because the negatives were fortuitously acquired and promoted by John Maloof.

She was a gifted photgrapher, an urban photographer, her pictures mostly portraits. What amazes me is the way she was able to get these fantastic photos on the fly. People aren’t posing or sitting for her. Somehow she had her camera at the ready and was able to get narrative photos of people in the city. It astounds me and it’s inspiring, especially because, here in the city, I don’t have a pastoral landscape to photograph.

I’ve been hesitant to take pictures of people because it seems to me a usurping of people’s identities, their image, which ought to belong to them. But as I walked today, and looked at people, I thought that this is much of what I love about living here, the variety of people, their unending stories, which is their beauty.

Well, I’m not in Maier’s league, not even many leagues away, but here’s a sample of what I took today. (Click on pics to enlarge)

This is my favourite because you see so much of this in the neighbourhoods I walk: people on stoops or standing on the sidewalk chatting. It’s what is best about the city, this different pace, a walking pace.

I saw this mural while on my way to a mall to shop with my kids and wished I had the camera. I went back there to take the picture.

The workmen posed, but I was shy and far away, so I couldn’t see whether they were really smiling when they said, “cheese.”

I liked this because of the colours. Someone took the trouble to paint that blue and green, the colours echoed the grass pushing through, and there were echoes, too, in the shapes.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

12 thoughts on “Ramble with Camera

  1. Lilian, Wow, these images are so vibrant and filled with life that they almost jump off the screen. They are (in fact) absolutely gorgeous. What is your new camera?

    1. Thanks so much Cate and Jean! Really nice to hear from you both, given that I so admire your photography. The camera is my first slr, of course now it’s a dslr, but I’ve wanted an slr camera since before digital. It’s a Nikon d3100, and I got an all around lens, sigma 18-200 for it. When my novel sells in another territory, I want to get a wide angled lens and a macro lens for it.

  2. I agree, the colors are very vibrant and alive, which lends kind of a surprising element to the usual urban monotones. Very nice! I like the two women talking on their front stoop:)

    1. Thanks Becca. It’s one of the things I noticed today on my walk, how much colour there was. One of the photos I took but didn’t post was of 3 Rogers’ Cable trucks in a row, all fire engine red, complete with ladders on the side.

  3. I am quite enamored with photography as a form of narrative…so different from prose and yet just as capable of telling a powerful story. These are lovely photos, Lilian, thank you for sharing.

    1. Michelle, thanks so much. I’ve always been interested in photography for that reason. It’s different from painting–it takes something actual but frames it. Yet it’s fiction to me, as a viewer.

  4. Have you heard of the French photographer, Sophie Calle? For some of her work she took to literally stalking strangers, following them around all day and taking photographs of them. No worries about boundaries there! Actually she’s a very interesting and provocative artist. These are lovely photos, Lilian; for some reason I really like that large shutter. I think it’s the gorgeous colour of it.

    1. I didn’t know that Litlove–I didn’t remember her name but I have seen some of her photos, I recognized them when I looked her up. I’m curious now to learn more about her!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s