Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife by Pamela Bannos

by
March 2018, no. 399
Helen Ennis reviews 'Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife' by Pamela Bannos

Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife

by Pamela Bannos

University of Chicago Press (Footprint), $69.99 hb, 362 pp, 9780226470757

Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife by Pamela Bannos

by
March 2018, no. 399

Vivian Maier has received the kind of attention most photographers and artists can only dream of – multiple monographs, documentary films, commercial gallery representation, extraordinary public interest, and now a biography. However, all this activity and acclaim has occurred posthumously. In her lifetime Maier’s mammoth output, estimated at 150,000 photographic exposures and hundreds of reels of silent movie footage, wasn’t known. She didn’t take photographs for public consumption, for publication, or for exhibition – she took them for herself. Photography was her obsession, but its outcomes came perilously close to total obliteration. Maier – ill, old, and poor – was unable to meet the payments on her storage units in Chicago and so, without her knowledge, the contents were sent to auction where small-time collectors purchased her undeveloped films, negatives, and prints. This alone explains her attraction; the mysteriousness of her origins and her secretive life as the ‘nanny photographer’ have only increased it.

Helen Ennis reviews 'Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife' by Pamela Bannos

Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife

by Pamela Bannos

University of Chicago Press (Footprint), $69.99 hb, 362 pp, 9780226470757

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comment (1)

  • Many people know her as the reclusive Chicago nanny who wandered the city for decades, constantly snapping photographs, which were unseen until they were discovered in a seemingly abandoned storage locker. They revealed her to be an inadvertent master of twentieth-century American street photography. Not long after, the news broke that Maier had recently died and had no surviving relatives. Soon the whole world knew about her preternatural work, shooting her to stardom almost overnight. I like the images and here: http://desertimages.com.au
    Posted by Ana Liza
    07 February 2020

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