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Vivian's Things, an interior, taken in the summer of 1977, is unusual among Meyerowitz's early photographs of Cape Cod. It fits into his oeuvre, however, in its thoughtful investigation of light, space and color, and as a representation of the artist's interest in the descriptive power of the large camera and the technique of color photography at the time. At first glance, this appears to be a straight view of a domestic interior, with wooden flooring leading straight to the rear wall. It is a small room and the bead-board paneling that lines its walls is painted white, suggesting, along with the white wicker chest and the intense light filters through and around a drawn window shade, creating a warm atmosphere. The window is reflected from different angles in glass surfaces around the room: a framed mirror leaning on the back wall affords a glimpse of the top of the window, and the antique cheval glass shows its far side and the end of the dresser. Both mirrors are angled away from the photographer, as is the dresser's glass top, which reflects the windows, its drapes and slivers of sunlight from below. This arrangement provides a complex view of the small space. Perhaps more complex in its components is the riot of colors and patterns in the room, reminiscent of Les Nabis. Larger passages of color, in the dresser top, floor and rug, are balanced by colored fabrics of different hues and printed patterns. Folded clothing in the foreground leads the eye to a batik shawl draped over the end of the dresser. Beyond, a red towel sits on the teal-blue cushion of a painted chair. Another printed scarf drapes over the back of the chair, hanging in front of the chintz fabric covering a piece of furniture. Perhaps most important is that somehow these hues and designs all harmonize to create a cohesive mood. Meyerowitz has carefully arranged these elements by color and space, effectively creating a painting for the camera to capture.
from Acton, A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame: Twentieth Century (Notre Dame, 2019)