"If I had half the talent this lady had then I would be the photographer I have dreamt of being"
Vivian Dorothea Maier
Born: 1926 in New York
Died: 2009 Chicago
Vivian worked for forty years as a nanny in Chicago, venturing onto the streets of Chicago and other cities including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, to photograph daily life of ordinary people. As she wandered through the city she used used a Rolliflex camera.
She was unknown in her lifetime as a photographer and shot around 150,000 images. It was around 2007 that her work was discovered in suitcases and came into public gaze.
A film was made about the discovery of her work and her life "Finding Vivian Maier" which in 2015 was nominated for an Academy award.
There has also been a number of books produced about her life and work.
Her work has a unique style and honesty to it, capturing daily life with context and feeling. She had an amazing skill of generating self-portraits which is notoriously difficult although I do think this was aided by the Roliflex camera she used which by its design enabled her to be looking into the picture and not into the camera. Her work is a mix of pattern images from the streets, isolation street photography and melee street photography.
If you like street photography and in particular monochrome photography then she is one of the best you will find and will inspire you to go out onto the streets and be brave in your photography.
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