Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Street photographer recoverd from boxes - Vivian Maier

When I started writing this blog I had no idea it would be the beginning of a journey of discovery, namely the discovery of numerous (to me) new artists. Not that I would claim I know each and every single artist there is in the world, but looking for interesting topics to write about certainly has sharpened my antennae. Of these discoveries the most exciting ones that are worth sharing on the blog are certainly those where so-far unknown or long-forgotten artists get rediscovered.
The re-excavation of Marg Moll’s Dancer was such an event, and recently another discovery -for me - has happened. (Certainly I am not responsible for the actual (re)discoveries of these artists, since all I do is react to some newspaper article. But I’m glad they don’t just pass me by without me noticing! And it is nice to have a medium to share these with others.)
So here's the latest one: An article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung fascinated me: in „The Unknown“, the feuilleton wrote about the opening of an exhibition with works by Vivian Maier in Hamburg. 

French-American Vivian Maier ( 1926 - 2009 ) worked as a nanny, but really was a street photographer who must have spent virtually all her spare time photographing street scenes.
The most unbelievable – and puzzling? – part of her story is the fact that obviously she never cared to see the photos she took in a developed state. Her legacy was sold at a furniture and antiques auction, tens of thousands of negatives/film rolls in boxes. Luckily, they were bought by John Maloof, who was trying to write a book about that part of Chicago where he lives. He has been lifting the veil and secret about Vivian Maier, and is regularly posting photos from the innumerable negatives on a blog and is planning to have a book published with Vivian Maier’s photos.
And he has managed to get her work out into the public. On the blog you can find links to the media coverage that has taken place so far, and there was a show of her works in Chicago from January til early April as well as the show in Hamburg
Another significant part of Vivian Maier's works/collection have been bought by Jeff Goldstein, who has organized an exhibition of works to be opened in Chicago on April 15. Information can be found here.
And, of course, multiple pictures can be seen of you search the net.

First, I was mostly fascinated with the story – why did she never care to have her pictures developed? Even if she did not want to go public with them, but to keep taking tens of thousands of pictures without ever seeing how they turned out is amazing. But when I started doing my little research – and you can easily find a lot of stuff on her on the net now – I was even more fascinated by the pictures she took. What an eye she had for the perfect shot! How lucky that this kind of artistic legacy was acquired by someone who is making it accessible to others. It could well have happened that it all was lost! This way, at least she has left a shadow, one of the ways she kept including herself in her pictures (as can be seen here)...

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