Vivian Maier Stole My Heart

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A thumbnail of one of Vivian Maier's images

Chris Bertram of Crooked Timber posted a link that has captivated me.

I’m almost reluctant to add to the hype, but the story is so unusual, and the pictures so good, that I think I’ll overcome that. In brief, then: Chicago is about to see the first exhibition of the photography of Vivian Maier, a recently-deceased, partly-French, nanny who seems to have neither sought nor received any exposure or recognition in her lifetime. Thousands of negatives were then bought by a real-estate agent at a flea market. Astonished at what he found, he’s now promoting her work, making a documentary film, putting a book together and so on. Well, I know, it all sounds too good to be true. But the pictures (at least the ones we’ve seen) are superb.

Another crude thumbnail of an image from Vivian Maier. Please go look at more of her work

He is correct – they are superb. The thumbnails in this post do not do her or the originals justice. Please go check out the links at Chris’s post, and the others at the NYTimes slideshow he links to.

One aspect of these images I must note. Maier used a twin-lens reflex, which keeps the camera at waist-height, a wonderful angle for viewing these subjects. To get the same angle with an SLR means the photographer must crouch, which is likely to draw more attention, which is less than preferable. Some DSLRs have adjustable, real-time preview viewscreens which can swivel to allow a similar angle for the photographer without the crouch. This is making me seriously consider an upgrade from my present camera.

Regardless. You’ll want to go grab your camera. I promise.