Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Vivian Maier, Untitled

Vivian Maier, Untitled, date unknown

Vivian Maier (1926-2009) was an American street photographer.  She spent most of her life as a nanny, and took photographs in her spare time.  She was completely unknown and unpublished during her life, and she didn't even develop many many of her negatives.  Around 2007, boxes of her prints and negatives were purchased at auction, and the multiple buyers were greatly shocked at what they discovered.  They published the photographs online over the next couple of years and Maier's work went viral in October of 2009, six months after her death.  In the years since, Maier has generated significant interest and has been exhibited all over the world.  Most of her photographs are black and white street scenes, though she also began to work in color in the 70s. Her work shows people from every walk of life and expresses the vastness and vibrancy of city life.  She took pictures all over the country, as well as some internationally, particularly in ChicagoNew York, and Los Angeles.  She took pictures of children in Canada, and demonstrated often social consciousness.  She also took a significant number of self-portraits. The photograph I chose to feature just struck me as odd and engaging.  To see this young man riding a horse under a bridge is a somewhat jarring sight, and I find the photograph thoroughly fascinating, though it is difficult to say why.  With her high contrasts and crisp lines, Maier made every image effective and captures the viewer's attention.  While research into Maier herself is still ongoing, it is clear that, with the quality of her art and the sheer output she produced (nearly 150,000 negatives), Maier is one of the most important street photographers of the twentieth century.

Much of her work can be viewed here:

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