Artists in the History

Vivian Maier

Vivian Dorothy Meyer ( February 1, 1926 — April 21, 2009 ) was an American street photographer whose work was discovered after her death and recognized. She worked for about 40 years as a nanny in the North Shore of Chicago while simultaneously taking photographs of the people and architecture of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. During his lifetime he has taken more than 150,000 photographs, although he has also traveled and photographed around the world.

Vivian Mayer (born February 1, 1926, Bronx, New York, USA – April 20, 2009 in Oak Park, Illinois ) is an American street photographer who has lived her life in the dark as a nanny and caregiver in the Chicago suburbs. In doing so, he created a huge number of photographic works that at the end of 2010 became a media sensation almost two years after his death.

Mayer was born on February 1, 1926 in New York to a French woman and Austrian father. She spent her childhood travelling between America and France and packed his medium-sized collection of cameras in a large hardcase around 1959, which Malof said was more than just a vacation. Many believe that Mayer had a very skillful eye and keen photography instinct.

In Finding Vivian Meyer, a new documentary about Maloof’s discovery he co-directs with Charlie Siskel, interviews with former accusations against the now middle-aged Meyer do little to show the surprising feature of her story. Not only to fill in gaps in how Vivian Mayer became an amazing and secret photographer, but also to help explain her worldview.

The largest exhibition dedicated to the late photographer Vivian Mayer, a secret nanny who photographed people on the streets of Chicago, will open at the Luxembourg Museum in Paris in next year (September 15, 2021 — January 7, 2022). According to the statement, the show will contain unreleased works such as Super 8 films as well as audio tapes that “hatched new light on his practice”.

Two years after buying the first box, she searched again on Google for the name and, to her surprise, found an obituary in which she was told that Vivian Mayer had died in a suburb of Chicago just a few days earlier. The images stayed there for a couple of months until he had time to scan some of them into his computer.

As a result, he collected over 100,000 negatives, including several thousand rolls ; continuously photographing for five decades, he eventually left over 100,000 negatives ; hundreds of prints, 100,000 negatives and nearly a thousand undeveloped rolls of film discovered when a collector bought the contents of his lockers.

In 1951 he returned to the United States, first in New York, and then in 1956 he moved to Chicago where he spent the rest of his life. He snapped a particularly hilarious picture on a Chicago station platform in July 1978, with a row of movie posters glued to the wall.

Roberta Smith drew attention to the fact that Myers’ photographs resemble those of many famous photographers of the 20th century but at the same time have their own aesthetics. He writes that Myers’ work can add to the history of 20th century street photography, with an almost encyclopedic completeness.

His work will undoubtedly inspire other photographers to take their cameras and go outside ; for now it’s just nice to celebrate his outstanding achievement. Vivian Mayer may never have wanted anyone to see her work, but by sharing the subtle power of her images, John Maloof, Jeff Goldstein and others have discovered a treasure of photography.

In 2007 the contents of Maiers vault were purchased at auction by several buyers including John Maloof, who has since devoted himself to creating his legacy. As far as I know the auction house bought his things from his locker, which was sold due to non-payment of payments.

I didn’t know what street photography was when. I bought them and. I needed days to go through all of his work. Gradually. I revisited Vivian’s negatives as. I got a photographer and saw more of her work. I later learned that she was a nanny for a North Side family where there were children most likely.

His former students – now all adults – told him with great love how he would always take them on a trip around the city, always taking his Rolleiflex with him, he had little patience with those who pretended and did little to attract attention to himself.

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