Thoughts on Vivian Maier, Street Photographer

9:45 am

For this month's photography book review, I'm moving away from technical photography literature to shed light on a case of posthumous photographic discover. 

Maier's story moved me, and as my interest in her life grew, I purchased Vivian Maier, Street Photographer. Vivian Maier’s story and path to becoming a recognized street photographer is a beautifully tragic one. Borrowing from Churchill’s quote, Vivian was “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” An American nanny who, unbeknownst to anyone, picked up the camera and captured the streets of New York and Chicago. Nobody saw her work until decades after her death, when, by sheer coincidence, her images were bought by a local historian John Maloof at an auction house. Maloof has since developed, collected, and championed Maier’s work.

The book, Vivian Maier, Street Photographer is a collection of this unseen body of work. It’s tragic that her talent was never recognized during her time. Her images are a strong reflection of American city life through the 1950s. I’m particularly moved by her images of children, captured in the most natural, raw, vulnerable yet youthful manner.

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