Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Vivian Maier, Street Photographer

I'd like you to invite you to visit for a look into the street photos of a very gifted photographer, Vivian Maier. I'd liken her work to Diane Arbus or Weegee. She was a person with an obsession for pictures, but who kept the pictures to herself.

Maier worked as a nanny in Chicago and New York. She is described as having been a free spirit and eccentric. She's deceased now, and her pictures were discovered when her storage locker went up for auction in 2007. Thousands of negatives were discovered, and luckily discoverer John Maloof understood what he had found. But he didn't have the name of the photographer until he found it scrawled on a piece of paper with the pictures. He was able to track her story from there. Maier, who was destitute toward the end of her life, was helped by three of the people for whom she had been a nanny, who then became her caregivers.

When I see pictures like these--and I hope you'll go to the portfolios section of the web site and look for yourself--I wonder why they weren't shown during her lifetime. I can speculate, but that's all. Was it fear of rejection? Fear of fame? For decades she found the unusual on the streets of the two biggest cities in America. She had to know how good her photos were.

Maybe it's almost better to discover someone's art after they die and you can put your own interpretation to it. These pictures taken during the early to mid-1950s conjure up stories in my head.

There is a book coming out. Vivian Maier Street Photographer will be released November 22, 2011.


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