Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vivian Maier

My blog friend Maureen, over at Writing without Paper, knows a good story, or a good artistic find when she sees one. This morning she's posted about a woman photographer, Vivian Maier, a woman most of us have never heard of. A bin of her photographs from the mid 2oth Century was recently discovered and her work is only now coming to light after sitting in the attics of people who bought bins of her work at auction, or were stored in the attics of families where she was once employed as a nanny.

Vivien Maier spent her adult life taking photographs of the streets of Chicago as well as other parts of the world. Reclusive, a loner, she stored the negatives and undeveloped film in plastic tubs and apparently never showed anyone her work.

And then, a young, 26-year old real estate agent in Chicago, John Maloof, bought a tub containing her negatives at an auction/flea market and the "Finding Vivian Maier: Chicago Street Photographer" expedition, which recently turn into an exhibition, began.

Watching the video of John's quest is touching, inspiring, surprising. Reading his blog is fascinating. Seeing the photographs he's posted of Vivian's work is compelling.

Here is a young man who never knew the lady. Didn't even know who the photographer was when he scanned the first print into his computer. And here he is, committing time and resources to getting her work seen, to bringing her story to light. Yes, there is a profit motive in the mix -- but it wasn't there when he began. It was curiosity, passion, a desire to not let her images recede into the darkness of her having passed through this world without having come to light, that compelled him.


Please, take a moment to click on over to Maureen's place to read more -- she's got some wonderful resources listed. Thank you Maureen for bringing this compelling story to our attention.

A quick click HERE will take you over to John's site.

And to entice you -- this video is well-worth the 9 minute investment.

Vivian Maier -- WWTW -- PBS


Anonymous said...

she must be a real talent, thats why she was so nonchalant about her genius. good that the gem was discovered by someone.


Maureen said...

Thank you!

This story is a really good one, and I'm delighted so many people are finding it of interest.

Maier's photographs are wonderful and Maloof's incredible cache and the devotion he's giving to his project are as amazing.

Arts web show said...

That guy has a lot of archiving to do. lol
Amazing photography

Anonymous said...

i think he fell heels over head... wonderful post as well as maureen's.