Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Mysterious Genius of Vivian Maier

Do you know yet about Vivian Maier? I hadn't heard of her until a couple of weeks ago, but now I'm completely taken by her art and her story. Vivian Maier (1926-2009) was a "street photographer" who, as a hobby, took thousands of photos that she tucked away in obscurity for many years while she earned a living as a nanny and caregiver. Why would anyone take so many stunning, evocative photos and not want to share at least some of them with the world? The answer to this query remains mostly unknown.

Thankfully, John Maloof discovered her work by accident at a Chicago auction, and he, along with Jeff Goldstein and others, are now giving this enigmatic photographer her artistic due. Maier's unusual and eccentric life story--what we know of it--only enhances the mystery surrounding her work. The fact that she began living in Chicago in the 1950s, around the time my mother and her parents moved away from Chicago's South Side to New Orleans, makes Maier's urban artistry that much more interesting to me.

I hope you'll enjoy and appreciate the raw beauty that is apparent in her long-lost photographs.


vmichelle said...

It sounds like an intriguing story. I love that she was a woman! I don't remember hearing of too many artsy female photographers from this early. The photographs are definitely amazing.

Relyn said...

I have recently "discovered" her. She's my new hero. Wasn't she amazing??

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