Finding Vivian Maier, Chicago Street Photographer

(Originally posted 

This is a story of a full-time nanny/part-time street photographer in Chicago named Vivian Maier. Vivian sadly passed away in April of 2009, with her photographic work totally unknown to the world. It took a local real estate agent named John Maloof to uncover her amazing talent after purchasing her negatives at an auction. He hadn’t heard of Vivian, and only bought the negatives in a search for some content for a book he was writing. It was when he was scanning the negatives that he realized what he had.

John didn’t know what to do with this amazing body of work, so he started by putting together a blog to showcase some of the photos. He then reached out to the flickr community for ideas. It was there that someone recommended John look for funding on, which is how I learned about it.

John is looking for $20,000 to help fund the pre-production of a documentary movie he’d like to put together about Vivian and her work. The fundraising started two weeks ago, and not surprisingly once you realize the talent Vivian had, they have already exceeded their $20,000 target, with over two months left in the fundraising process!

I was extremely fortunate to be the last backer to receive a film spool for my $10 donation, but I think I will also donate another $25 to be able to download a copy of the movie once it is complete.

I’m quite moved by this story and find it very inspiring, both as an amateur photographer and frankly, as a human being. There is so much negativity in the world that a story like this just lifts your spirits — at least that’s the effect it had on me.

Vivian Maier Slideshow

(Originally posted )

Last week I visited an exhibition of Vivian Maier’s photography at the Chicago Cultural Center. I had learned about Vivian Maier earlier through the Kickstarter website and blogged about it here.

To say I was impressed with the exhibit is an understatement. The whole story about her work being discovered and shared with the world is incredibly fascinating and inspirational, so much so, that I decided to visit Chicago to see her pictures in person.

Sadly, there weren’t any books of her photos for me to buy to bring home as a memory, so I decided to assemble a group of her photos into a slideshow instead. 

I’ve made an attempt to organize the photos into groups, to try to educate myself as to how she viewed the world, and maybe get a glimpse into what her thoughts were as she wandered alone, taking her photos. They are loosely organized into the following themes:

  • self-portraits
  • legs
  • people that don’t know they are being photographed
  • people that do know they are being photographed
  • elderly people
  • children
  • people on beaches
  • street demise
  • travel
  • the exhibit

This slideshow is by no means comprehensive of all the work that has been released, as some of the “themes” have as few as two photos in them. Perhaps as more photos get released I will add to it.


Lady in Havana Smoking a Cigar

My latest website header image.  (The header images are chosen at random from this collection.)

Lady in Havana Smoking a Cigar
Lady in Havana Smoking a Cigar

The picture was taken in Havana, Cuba, in December 2012 using a Nikon 1 J2 mirrorless camera with a 10-30 mm lens.

Header Images Used On This Site

This page will be updated as I add new header images.

Motorcycling in El Salvador
Motorcycling in El Salvador
House on the Beach #0271, El Salvador
House on the Beach #0271, El Salvador
A Trio of Goldfinches
Goldfinch in Thistles
View from Mt Washington
View from Mt Washington
I Hate Sand Roads!
Makerbots in Action
Makerbots in Action
Lady in Havana Smoking a Cigar
Lady in Havana Smoking a Cigar

Article: How (and why) to use Google Photos on your iPhone or iPad

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Installing Google Photos on your mobile device is a recommendation I make to all my students.

If you take pictures with your smartphone, it’s silly not to use Google Photos. At a minimum, it serves as a safe backup for all your photos, at no cost to you. A bonus is that Google Photos creates cool content of some of your images, including instagram-stylized photos, animations, and collages. Continue reading “Article: How (and why) to use Google Photos on your iPhone or iPad”

Light and Shadow — Greatest Cinematographers of the World, Interviewed

This is an incredibly inspiring video that will appeal not just to the videographers in your classroom but the photographers as well.

In my Communications Technology class, students are asked to watch the video and share a few inspirational quotes or messages they gleaned from it. I often create a Word Cloud with the results, similar to the one below.

Note: you must be logged into your DSBN account to access this form.

Motorcycle Ride in El Salvador, March 2016

Just for fun, I attached a GoPro camera to the handlebar of the Kawasaki KLX 250 I was renting from Moto Tour El Salvador back in March 2016 and set it to take pictures every 10 seconds. With the roads and trails being so rough I was amazed at the photos the camera captured. The quality of the photos clearly isn’t the equal of anything even a point-and-shoot could have taken, but I think they do a great job of capturing the adventure of the ride. Continue reading “Motorcycle Ride in El Salvador, March 2016”