Vivian Maier / by Dawn Webb

I was recently introduced to the work of a female photographer called Vivian Maier.

A good friend of mine Giles Penfound asked me to look at her work for inspiration so I did, I couldn't believe I had never heard of her.  I guess now it's time to step up and look into the masters of my craft from yesteryear, so much can be learnt from the way they worked - way before digital came to life these photographers were out there on the streets shooting film against all of the odds and producing images that far surpass some of the banal trite I see today from so called "Professional Photographers".
They had no ability to chimp their shots on the LCD, zone focusing was often used and so on but the key to their success was making the real image in the darkroom, that's where the craft had to be perfectly honed.  The eye made the image, the camera captured it and in the darkroom the recipe was thrown in and the picture was developed.  Maiers work gives me that ignition to want to get out there and emulate her style, she was brazen and she got stuck in - her mind must of worked overtime as she pounded the streets.  She see's things how I think I see things, my own mind is a constant hive of activity as I walk around and now I have my newest camera addition I will bring my work here to this very blog for you all to see, if I could only emulate one of her images I would be totally stoked.  Perhaps a trip to Chicago is on order on of these days when I make my millions? NO ok then.....oh well Crayford will have to do for now.

Some info on the mighty and great Vivian Maier.......

Her photography was described as - Maier's images predominantly depict street scenes in Chicago and New York, in the 1950s and 1960s. An article in The Independent said "the well-to-do shoppers of Chicago stroll and gossip in all their department-store finery before Maier, but the most arresting subjects are those people on the margins of successful, rich America in the 1950s and 1960s: the kids, the black maids, the bums flaked out on shop stoops."John Maloof has said of her work that "Elderly folk congregating in Chicago's Old Polish Downtown, garishly dressed dowagers, and the urban African American experience were all fair game for Maier’s lens."

the lady that was - Vivian Dorothea Maier (February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009) was an American street photographer, who was born in New York City and spent much of her childhood in France. After returning to the United States, she worked for approximately forty years as a nanny in Chicago, Illinois. During those years, she took more than 100,000 photographs, primarily of people and cityscapes in Chicago, although she traveled and photographed worldwide.

Her photographs remained unknown and mostly undeveloped until they were discovered by a local Chicago historian and collector, John Maloof, in 2007. Following Maier's death, her work began to receive critical acclaim. Her photographs have been exhibited in the U.S., Britain, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and France, and have appeared in newspapers and magazines in the U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, France, and other countries. A book of her photographs, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, was published in 2011

You only have to look at these to know this was one very special photographer. one I will learn one hell of a lot from.

I hope to get her book - Street Photographer and to see more of her work from a wonderfully written blog please click -

The greatest photographer you never knew - Vivian Maier