Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vivian Maier: Major discovery.

John Maloof is a young "E-Bay entrepeneur", realtor and has described himself as an historian. He bid and obtained the contents of  a locker that were being auctioned off after the rent was unpaid for some time. In the lot was a trunk full of prints, negatives and undeveloped rolls of film --- 100,000 exposures in all -- that was the life work of one Vivian Maier.

She had picked up photography in 1949 and would photograph until the 1990's. She worked as a nanny in the North Shore of Chicago for wealthy families, raising their children who loved her so much that when she became aged and poor, three of them stepped up and helped her financially and returned the care she had given them.

Back to the work...mention street photographers, and the list is almost 100% men, with a few notable exceptions, like Helen Levitt [Link]. Vivian Maier dedicated a lifetime photographing on the streets in her spare and vacation time. She never showed her work, but she should have, because it is outstanding.

Unfortunately, it is also unedited, and Mr. Maloof  and a friend are developing her last bunch of negatives, which should be done by a competent curator like Colin Westerbeck. Keep this in mind while looking at the work. A photographer of this caliber deserves much better, though it is understandable that Mr. Maloof is mostly interested in milking his find for every cent. He is out of his league.

Fortunately, there's enough being shown that it is obvious this is one of the great street photographers.

See work here: [Link]

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