Vivian Maier, New York City

Vivian MaierI really enjoyed This American Life’s 2 hour movie special, “The Invisible Made Visible“. One of the highlights was learning about the largely unknown street photographer Vivian Maier. This Life tells the story of her posthumous discovery when John Maloof acquired 30,000 of her prints and negatives in a storage locker auction. It’s worth downloading the This Life movie to watch and hear Ira Glass tell her story.

Maier was a prolific film-based street shooter. She often took pictures while walking on the job as a nanny, with the young girl she cared for. She has an incredible eye and gift for composition. You can see virtual contact sheets on the website set up for her. One of the nice parts of the This Life story is how one of the curators talks about the importance of viewing her work in sequences.

I recently purchased a Panasonic GX1K with fixed 20mm f/1.7 lens for my own street photography work. Maier’s certainly an inspiration and it’s amazing she was so prolific using film.

Her work also reminds me just a bit of my friend Jeff Harris who has been taking daily self-portraits for more than ten years.

The New York Times reported on Maier’s work as well: A Outsider’s Life in Pictures and Boxes. I found this additional video of Maier’s work here:

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest.

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