Thursday, 9 June 2016

Amy Koughan - Her Work Is Astonishing

Amy Koughan is a Los Angeles photographer who has been taking photographs for most of her life, and working professionally for more than ten years. She says she was drawn to photography as a child, and knew early on that she wanted to spend her life taking pictures.

She says that some of her biggest influences in photography have been Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Diane Arbus. More recently she has been learning about the photography of Vivian Maier, an enigmatic woman who spent much of her life in obscurity working as a nanny in Chicago, but taking photographs all along.
Amy Koughan

“Her work is astonishing,” Amy Koughan says. Like a lot of people, she first heard about Vivian Maier after a documentary called Finding Vivian Maier was released in 2013. Maier herself had died several years before, at the age of eighty-three. The filmmakers pieced together the broad outlines of Vivian Maier’s life: she was born in New York but grew up in France, came back to the United States in 1951, and wound up in Chicago where she worked on and off as a nanny for many years. Her employers included Phil Donahue, the former talk show host.

Maier was an eccentric person who seldom if ever printed any of her work. Her photos were not widely known until after her death in 2009. Though she had been shooting for decades, her first pictures appeared on Flickr, the photo sharing website, in 2008.

“It’s a remarkable story about a remarkable woman,” Amy Koughan says, adding that during her lifetime, and even in the years after her death, Vivian Maier was an enigmatic but talented artist.