[ 3 min read ]
In other words, do you need to be patient?
I wrote about patience in one of my recent posts.
If you’re patient it means that you believe something will eventually come out of what you do and you hope that a day will come when you will be able to look all those people who didn’t believe in you and who mocked you in the eyes and say to them in a high pitched voice “Now what, asshole? Now what?!”
But if that’s your life’s goal (to be able to eventually say such thing to all those people who lost faith in you, or never had it in the first place), then it may also happen that eventually you will be very disappointed. And such disappointment can easily become the root of your belief that you actually didn’t achieve anything in life. Which sucks (the belief).
I think it’s wise to also factor in that such time might never come. There are many examples of great artists or writers who were never understood or recognized in their lifetime. Some of them died and then suddenly people fell in love with their art or writing. Some died and still wait to be discovered and some of them will be, and some of them won’t be. That’s just the way it is in this world.
Very often an accident, some cosmic coincidence, turns someone unknown into an icon. This happened many times in the past. One woman to whom it happened was Vivian Maier. In the course of her life she took many photos (thousands of them). She never developed most of them. Why? I don’t know. One reason definitely was that she couldn’t afford to develop them. Most of the time she worked as a nanny in New York and Chicago. That’s where she took most of her photos. Those were the times when she couldn’t see the photos immediately after she took them on LCD screen or smartphone display. She shot on film for obvious reasons (she photographed in 1950s and 1960s, mainly).
A Chicago collector, John Maloof, acquired large portion of Maier’s photos in 2007 on an auction not even knowing her name or who she was. When he saw all this work he decided to tell the world about it and all of a sudden she became famous. And because of that today I and many people around the world know her name (at least those interested in street photography).
Were it not for the fact that her photos had been found and auctioned (auctioned by people who had no idea whatsoever what will happen next, at a price which was a joke — Internet says for USD 400) I would have probably never found out that such woman existed and who she was. Nor would I ever have seen even a single photograph she took.
What would it take for all her work to simply vanish one day? Not much actually. A fire in the building where all the negatives were stored. Don’t fires happen in residential buildings? This is how little it takes. This is oftentimes the difference between being a known artists and an artist who, after decades of work without any recognition, sunk into oblivion.