Monday, January 10, 2011

Lost and Found

Vivian Maier, a heretofore unknown street photographer who died two years ago at the age of 83, is the subject of a new solo show that started this past Friday at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The story of Maier's discovery is a romantic one for all the thrifters and flea-marketers among us. In 2007, John Maloof, then a 26-year old real estate agent who was working on a book about his Chicago neighborhood, stumbled upon a trove of over 100,000 of Maier's negatives at an auction, and set about scanning, preserving, and introducing the images to the world, while slowly piecing together the photographer's biography.

Maier was born in New York and worked as a nanny in Chicago for 40 years, beginning in about 1956. In her spare time she traveled the streets, mostly in Chicago and New York, with her camera. It's too early to say what position she'll ultimately occupy in the canon of modern photography, but either way that doesn't really affect the power of her photographs. They capture the people and scenes of an era with a clear eye for the humor and pathos of a moment, and a tangible sense of the weight, and fragility, of the human condition.

It was hard to choose just a few to include here. See more images at Maloof's blog, and watch a piece about Maier's work below.

[hat tip to friend, and friend of the blog, Kristina]

the full
. See more Chicago Tonight.

1 comment:

Kristina said...

I still tear up when I watch the video.