Monday, February 27, 2012

For the love of...Vivian Maier

I recently discovered the beautiful work of 1950s American photographer Vivian Maier. Her story is a wonderful one as it is curious and mysterious.
In her time, Maier was never published- she photographed for the sake of the photograph and her work was for her to appreciate only.

Self Portrait, 1959

"The personal accounts from people who knew Vivian are all very similar. She was eccentric, strong, heavily opinionated, highly intellectual, and intensely private. She wore a floppy hat, a long dress, wool coat, and men’s shoes and walked with a powerful stride. With a camera around her neck whenever she left the house, she would obsessively take pictures, but never showed her photos to anyone. An unabashed and unapologetic original."
- from

 January, 1953, New York, NY

Undated, New York, NY

She worked as a nanny for much of her life, with the children she had helped raise helping her keep an apartment when, in her later life, she became destitute. In 2007, unbeknownst to them, several of her storage lockers containing all her negatives and prints were sold off due to delinquent payments.

Miraculously, these were discovered years later at a thrift store in Chicago by - amongst others - John Maloof. This amateur historian was so taken by her work he sought out any other people who had also found her work over the years and eventually amassed a collection of negatives, prints and home movies which is today estimated to be about 90% of her entire works.

Untitled, Undated 

Undated, New York, NY

In 2008, Vivin Maier slipped over on some ice and hit her head on the ground. She never fully recovered and died in 2009. Due to the efforts of Maloof, her work has since been exhibited throughout America and worldwide. She is now - although posthumously - regarded as one of the most important documentary photographers of her era in America.

End of April, 1953, New York, NY

 1954, New York, NY

I love the style and light in her photographs - how she has managed to capture people as they are in some truly spectacular tableaux. There's a sweetness and an equality in her work which is wonderfully moving and gives you such a fantastic idea of space.
I would highly recommend browsing through the Maloof Collection online and getting lost in her world for a while.

 January 9, 1957, Florida 

All images:
© 2012 Maloof Collection, Ltd. — All Rights Reserved

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