The Long Way Home

The Road to Carol Dunlop

Jeff and  I will be driving soon to Florida to visit family for the holiday break, which will have its moments of fun, amazement, frustration and daily life. Our car will be our house on wheels (which I’ve always wanted), complete with Christmas tree on the dashboard.

In the 1982 travel book Autonauts of the Cosmoroute, writer Julio Cortazar and his wife, photographer Carol Dunlop, vowed to make stops at each of the 70 rest areas along the French autoroute from Paris to Marseilles. It’s the ultimate adventure in experimental travel – how can a traveling couple make this ordinary, busy highway road a lot more like the roads less traveled?

The book is peppered with logs of camping provisions and daily menus, as well as Dunlop’s snapshot-like photography. I had never heard of her work until I found Autonauts in the Archipelago Books catalog.  And while most of the book is light-hearted and whimsical, the ending is almost too sad to bear when you know that Cortazar had to finish the book alone because Carol died before she saw it to completion at the age of 36.

Her life and death are a mystery to me, as well as her work. She was born in Boston, but became a Canadian citizen during the Vietnam war. She met Cortazar in 1977, then moved with him to France. I  found a blog about her written a few years ago, but it’s in Spanish, which I don’t speak. I can only read her life through these few photographs of the last journey of her life.


Reflections on Vivian Maier
November 23, 2009, 11:44 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , ,
by Vivian Maier

by Vivian Maier

Another wish-I-had-found-it-while-flea-marketing moment – the work of  street photographer Vivian Maier.

A street photographer as well, John Maloof found Vivian’s negatives at a furniture and art auction in Chicago. Her private life is still somewhat of a mystery, but what little of it John has gathered can be found on his Vivian-dedicated blog.

He is compiling her work into a book, but has been kind enough to share some of her images via the Internet. The Independent recently did a write-up on the discovery of her work.

I am in love with these photos, especially her reflection images. Looking through her photographs is like peeking into her visual diary. Maier was primarily a nanny, but as evidence of the 40,000 negatives found after her death, photography was her creative outlet, her true work. It is evidence of how the joys of photography can be had in just taking the photograph, not worrying about the end result.

layers of reflection

subtle reflections

self portrait of Vivian

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