on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

If No One Saw Your Photographs

or how to gauge success

Colleen Miniuk-Sperry

Colleen Miniuk-Sperry fled the grey cubicle walls at Intel Corporation in 2007 to pursue a fulfilling full-time outdoor photography and writing career. Her credits include National Geographic calendars, Arizona Highways, AAA Highroads, National Parks Traveler, and a broad variety of other publications. She has served three times as an Artist-in-Residence with Acadia National Park.

Colleen is putting the final touches on her next book, Going with the Flow, a part-memoir, part adventure travel story on how she paddled her way out of adversity and into happiness on Lake Powell and the Colorado River.”

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While standing on a sandy beach along the Colorado River one morning during my recent rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, I posed a philosophical question for my fellow trip mates, mostly photographers, to ponder throughout the day as we floated along

If no one ever saw your photographs, would you photograph differently?”

This question came out of a discussion I had a year or so ago with a couple of friends after watching the documentary, “Finding Vivian Maier.” As the story goes, a man named John Maloof visited a Chicago-based auction house in 2007 to see if he could dig up vintage photographs to support one of his book projects. There, according to www.vivianmaier.com, “…he found a box of negatives depicting Chicago in the 60’s. Unable to get a thorough look at its contents, he took a gamble and purchased the box for around $400.” He learned the box—and likely the negatives inside—had belonged to a person named “Vivian Maier,” but a quick search online to find out who she was turned up no leads. Two years later, he repeated the search and found her obituary.



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