Vivian Maier

Reposted: My Sunday Morning in Vivian Maier’s Chicago


My first outing with the Leica M9 back in 2011 was a weekend trip to Chicago. I only could afford the wonderful Leica 35mm Summarit after shelling out the money for what was my dream camera at that moment. I’d never heard of Vivian Maier at that point, as most people hadn’t. But, save for the color, this first shot I think captures a bit of the spirit of shooting on a Chicago sidewalk as she so often did. Anyway. Here’s some more. I think in some of them there is wonderful color. In others, uh… a hint of the incredible struggles to come I would experience trying to produce passable color with my M9.

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Vivian Maier’s Moment of Recognition

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We were scheduled to fly to Chicago this past weekend.

My plan, in tribute to the newly discovered street photography icon Vivian Maier, was to shoot in black and white and to post only images here cropped to a perfect square, the format produced by the reclusive nanny’s apparently very trusty Rolleiflex. (Although the above image shows Maier taking a self portrait with a Leica M.)

Unfortunately, we all caught a cold here in the big house and were forced to avoid a long flight and the shock of actually being in the Windy City at a time when temperatures there would be in the 20s. We stayed, as the song says, safe and warm in LA and shot the images you have seen (one of) and will see on 50lux in the coming days.

Little did I know, because nobody tells me anything, (wink here) but this was to be a big weekend anyway in the posthumous yet ever burgeoning career and legacy of this now very important photographer and practitioner of a type of photography that I feel so connected to.

The biggest news is that there is a film that premiered last fall but is just now being released and in theaters entitled  “Finding Vivian Maier,” … due in some cities last Friday actually. Certainly it won’t be at the nearest mall’s cineplex outside Dayton or Altoona and I’m doing my best to find it here in Los Angeles and will go before it’s quickly yanked.

Here is the trailer.

The release of an actual film, of course, has made a nice ripple in the national media and here are also three excellent write-ups in the New York Times, New York Post, and Slate.

Enjoy, street photographers. It’s a rare moment that none of us will ever likely experience in our lifetimes. Although in Vivian Maier’s case that appears to be, in great part, by the artist’s own design.

Vivian Maier exhibition reveals magic of a photographic master unknown in her lifetime

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Vivian Dorothea Maier was an American street photographer, who was born in New York City and spent much of her childhood in France. After returning to the United States, she worked for approximately forty years as a nanny in Chicago, Illinois.

During those years, she took more than 100,000 photographs, primarily of people and cityscapes in Chicago, although she traveled and photographed worldwide.

Two years before she died in 2009 at age 83, the eccentric and brilliant amateur photographer forfeited ownership of the contents of the storage lockers in which she had kept truckloads of negatives, prints and other materials.

The contents were quickly auctioned for a pittance to several collectors and “resellers” who found they had made the discovery of a lifetime.

The contents of Maier’s collection included more than 100,000 negatives that charted her hitherto-private career as a superb street photographer who focused mainly on vignettes of New York and Chicago.

via Vivian Maier exhibition at the Cleveland Print Room reveals the magic of a photographic master unknown in her lifetime |

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