Originally Published 05/25/2011 06:03:06 AM
This is us.
This is life, distilled to an irretrievable nanosecond. This is history and passion and the unknowable. This is our life and our lives.
What was the old man looking at? What was he thinking? What did he have for dinner that night, and what would he think of our modern pants that don’t even reach the belly-button?
What was that little towhead crying about? How did his handler handle it?
What was the Negro woman clutching her cheek over? Did Ms. Maier know about it? Did her subject know she was being immortalized?
The Drunk: was he saved? Helped, at least? Did he die of his vices? Was he thinking of youth and innocence at the moment the shutter triggered? Or just thinking of getting another fix, and another, and more and more and more?
The family on the sidewalk: what became of them? And why is one apart, sitting on the steps? How many miles did the car provide before conking out? And where did they all go in that car?
Snapshots, moments, momentary glimpses into life. Not our life, but life and lives, as sure as ours. What can we learn from these eternally frozen moments? What are our ancestors, genetic and otherwise, telling us? About how they lived and what’s to come?
What can we learn about how we lived and how we can live? What can we learn about life?
ALL WORKS BY VIVIAN MAIER. MORE CAN BE FOUND HERE.