An homage to Vivian Maier

DSCF4667 2Yesterday I finally got to see the documentary ‘Finding Vivian Maier” I was covered in goosebumps for practically the entire duration of the film. It is a fantastical story about an incredibly secretive Chicago nanny in the 1950s who took photos, most of which were never even printed, but whose images are some of the most powerful, moving examples of street photography that I have ever seen. She had such empathy with her subjects – the joy, the misery, the poverty. She may have been a reclusive outsider but she had such a feeling for humanity, that finally was able to be revealed in the dark room, coincidentally so soon after her death.

I walked home in a trance, so excited that street photography could be so beautiful, and so appreciated. If I needed another spur to keep doing what I am doing with my own street photography, then this was it. This is one of the photos I took last night in that drunken haze of admiration and inspiration.

Thank you Vivian Maier. I’m sorry I never met you, but I will always feel like I knew you, through the legacy of your work, and  as a friend who felt compelled to do what I too feel driven to do – to capture all facets of street life in through the lens.


9 thoughts on “An homage to Vivian Maier

  1. Wasn’t she just amazing!! I just love the photos I’ve seen from her collection. Sadly these days it’s hard to actually capture street photography in the same manner. People are often paranoid about their photo being taken :-(

    1. Yes Sarah, she was, and here pictures still are! My secret is to use a small camera – I’ve recently got myself a Fujifilm XT1 with a standard 18-55mm lens. I just look like a harmless tourist snapping away and no-one seems to feel threatened by me.

  2. Eleanor I’m so pleased that you found inspiration in this documentary. Your image is wonderful. I love the perspective and your ability to retain the textures of his face. I’m going to have to find the film and watch it.

      1. A friend was able to locate a copy. I did enjoy it. She was a fascinating person. Her images were in many ways experimental and raw and well worth looking at. Some of them reminded me of Wigi with his in the face crime scene images. The film did not go into what influenced her photography. She did have all of those newspapers. Thank you for letting me know about Vivian Maier.

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