Travel Photo Thursday: “Finding Vivian Maier”

Travel Photo Thursday: “Finding Vivian Maier”

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“Street photography.”

What is it? Who does it?

Wikipedia says that:

Street photography is a genre of photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. ‘Street’ simply refers to a place where human activity can be seen, a place to observe and capture social interaction. The subject can even be absent of any people and can be that of object or environment where an object projects a human character or an environment is decidedly human.”

Fast Food IMG_4594

Henri Cartier-Bresson
(CEA Flickrstream Photo)

Although I don’t consider myself a “street photographer” per se, this photo which I took in London four years ago certainly qualifies as “street photography.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson (photo at right),  Louis Stettner, and Garry Winogrand are just three of the world’s most famous street photographers.

But who’s ever heard of Vivian Maier, someone that could be described as a “closet street photographer”?

Vivian Maier was a nanny who moved from New York to Chicago in 1956, just a few years after she became interested in photography. The “official” Vivian Maier Website says that:

“In her leisure Vivian would shoot photos that she zealously hid from the eyes of others. Taking snapshots into the late 1990′s, Maier would leave behind a body of work comprising over 100,000 negatives. Additionally Vivian’s passion for documenting extended to a series of homemade documentary films and audio recordings. Interesting bits of Americana, the demolition of historic landmarks for new development, the unseen lives of ethnics and the destitute, as well as some of Chicago’s most cherished sites were all meticulously catalogued by Vivian Maier.”

Maier died in 2009, about two years after John Maloof found her work at a storage locker auction in 2007. He and Charlie Siskel are working on a documentary film about her. Here’s the movie’s trailer.

You can follow work on the film at the Finding Vivian Maier Facebook Page.

(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots.)

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10 Replies to “Travel Photo Thursday: “Finding Vivian Maier””

  1. Love it when people finally get their due credit and attention. 100 000 negatives, wow; esp. considering it’s in the pre-digital era.

  2. Hi Dick,
    I’m so happy that you touched on Vivian! I so love her works since I learned about her. What an incredible work by a mysterious woman.

  3. That sounds like a fascinating documentary. I had never heard of Vivian Maier, but wow, what amazing photos she took. I think I’m always hesitant about doing street photography because of privacy concerns. I feel like I’m intruding if I take photos of strangers either with their permission or on the sly.

  4. I didn’t know of Vivian Maier before, but I’m glad I do now. I’d love to see some of her work, especially since her subject was Chicago — old hometown. Very interesting, Dick.

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