‘The Nanny’ is here

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

“Siblings” was taken by James Cammack last year at the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally in Ignacio. The Open Shutter Gallery is hosting Cammack’s exhibit, “Rally,” in the Red Room Gallery. It includes photos taken at motorcycle rallies in Texas and Arizona.

By Ted Holteen Herald staff writer

If James Cammack’s photos draw throngs of bikers to the Open Shutter Gallery this weekend – and they should – then the “Nanny Photographer” will keep them there for a second look.

Cammack is a relocated professional photographer now living “in the sticks” between Durango and Bayfield. After a couple of years watching the Harleys ride through every Labor Day, he wanted to get a closer look through his own lens.

“I don’t ride, but I’ve been wanting to take pictures at the rally and there’s always been something else to do,” Cammack said. “Last year, I had an opening and decided to go to Ignacio. It went great, and people told me I should keep doing it and work toward a book, so I am.”

Cammack traveled to rallies in Texas and Arizona (by car) and his portraits show what really goes on at those things. Several of the photos taken outside of Colorado can’t be reprinted here – “A lot of these people are already exhibitionists,” Cammack said – but they reflect the camaraderie, debauchery and general good times that those of us who only see the rallies from the periphery never get to experience up close and personal. In some cases, that’s probably alright, but neither participant nor voyeur should pass up “Rally.”

To get to Cammack’s photos in the Red Room, one must first pass through the Open Shutter’s main gallery. That might take longer than planned if one stops to look around at “Out of the Shadows.” The walls are crammed with the street photography of Vivian Maier, one of the most enigmatic photographers of the last century.

Maier was a lifetime childless spinster whose solitude was broken only by her world travels and stints as a nanny for several families in Chicago. After her death in 2009, several storage lockers packed with memorabilia were found containing decades of memorabilia including more than 150,000 photographic negatives.

One of those bins ended up in the hands of collector Jeffrey Goldstein, who put together the current exhibit and a companion book. Goldstein’s collection includes the 1950s and ’60s when Maier lived first in New York City and then Chicago. Most of the photos in this exhibit were taken on the streets of those cities of a mostly unsuspecting public. Maier used a Rolleiflex camera, notable because the photographer looks down into the viewfinder rather than laterally at the subject.

What’s most curious about this batch of her work, and it’s not the only such batch, is that Maier never saw these developed photographs herself. They were purchased after her death and hadn’t been opened for years.

“The work is so strong, but the story is even more fascinating,” said Open Shutter manager Brandon Donahue.

ted@durangoherald.com

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