Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Shadow of Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier's images conjure many feelings, from loneliness and isolation to delight in the small things seen everyday. Although not much is known about the woman who never claimed to be an artist, or a famous one at least, ingrained in her composition is the shadow of a person with deep understanding of human emotions. Within the busy city life of Chicago she managed to capture moments most people sweep past, with a sad elegance and almost thirst for warmth.

Looking through her photos is like floating through a crowd, her ghostly presence is mostly recognized by children who are also aching for attention, and is often lost to those who have bigger, more important things to tend to.

It is said she mostly wore men's clothing and preferred to keep to herself (even at the photo stores where she purchased film regularly) but her photograph's contain a consistent femininity and sense of interconnectivity, an attention to detail only an advocate for style could appreciate. But then again, it was the 60's and in my opinion everything looked aesthetically better back then!

She also flawlessly captured the changing political times of the mid-century through it's toll on the streets, whether through the remnant of graffiti and posters, or the faces of the homeless.

Vivian Maier stands out as real artist to me for many reasons. Her time on the streets successfully portray many important views of community and humanity in general, yet are timelessly well framed. Her lack of desire to be recognized for her work shows a natural talent that simply went unnoticed, like most of her life. It's sad to me that she disregarded her passion towards the end of her life, and that many rolls of film found in antique stores weren't even developed. There is some redemption that by chance they fell into the hands of someone who appreciates them, and has passed on her legacy to build the growing fan base that in jut a year has impacted so many people.

R.I.P. Miss Maier, February 1st 1926 - April 21, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. I had never heard of Maier before this post. Thank you. Whole heartily agree that the 60's shined in aesthetic. BW street photography from those revolutionary times always strike a chord w/ me. These images, no exception.