13 May 2011

More on Vivian Maier

In January, I wrote about Vivian Maier, a prolific photographer from Chicago who was largely unknown until her death when some of her work was discovered.

Mother Jones recently featured some of her work in its May/June 2011 issue, 'The Best Street Photographer You've Never Heard Of' written by Alex Kotlowitz. This sums up her work well
MAIER'S WORK IS PART OF THE decades-old genre of street photography, a field that has included such giants as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, and Diane Arbus. (Judging by her collection of books on photography, Maier was likely aware of their work.) These photographers speak to the profoundly democratic impulse to acknowledge that we all have a place—that our stories matter. She took photos of the downtrodden and the well-heeled. She took photos of festive people and people in distress. She took photos of children and the aged. She took photos of whites and blacks (notable, given the times). Her work is marked by serendipity; she appeared to have no agenda, but instead captured what she stumbled upon. Joel Meyerowitz, the co-author of Bystander: A History of Street Photography and a renowned photographer in his own right, says of Maier's images: "They are full of wit and surprise and playful spirit...Her basic decent humanism is evident everywhere in her photographs."
Read more, which includes some stunning photographs.

Photograph by Vivian Maier/John Maloof Collection

Vivian Maier, photographer extraordinaire and chronicler of Chicago history.

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