Blog // Photography
Vivian Maier (1926-2009) portrayed the streets of Chicago and New York with a unique style, from the fifties to the nineties. However, her pictures fell into oblivion until 2007, when John Maloof bought at an auction an archive of photographs for a purchase price of approximately $ 380. He had no idea of the treasure he had in hand.
The photographs, now so valued, were found among the belongings of the photographer that the auction house acquired when she was no longer able to pay her debts. Later, Maloof started an investigation of Vivian Maier and achieved to save two boxes of negatives from the Gensburg’s house, where Vivian Maier had worked as a nanny for the family for more than a decade. When he tried to contact Maier, he learned that she had died two days earlier.
Vivian Maier worked as a nanny for about forty years, photographing in her free time. She took more than 150,000 photographs, especially of the people and the city of Chicago, using for those purposes, above all, a Rolleiflex camera. The families she worked for described the nanny as reserved person, a personality trait that is reflected in her photography: she observes and portrays society, but she does not take part of it.
Vivian Maier managed to reflect a world of his own and at the same time portrayed the people of his time. Many of her photographs only needed a shot, which was done at waist height. This data shows how incredible was her ability with the camera. Her introverted and austere temperament transpires in her way of photographing, where herself, before the current era of the selfie, discovers her body little by little, capturing her own shadow, her reflection in a shop window or in a mirror. An exercise of introspection that also helped her to unravel the daily life of the American society.
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