01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

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01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
01/09/2022
Artist Spotlight
Alfred Portman-Corroll
Artist Spotlight: Who Was Vivian Maier?
A look into the work of the mysterious, posthumously celebrated street photographer

In answer to the titular question, even those who had been closest to Vivian Maier throughout her life had little idea until John Maloof embarked on a mission to piece together the fragments of her life after purchasing her belongings at an auction. Among the suitcases of hats, receipts, and news clippings were thousands of undeveloped photographs, consisting of street photography dating back to the 50s shot in LA, New York, and Chicago.

Shadow Self-Portrait, Vivian Maier, Undated

Unfortunately Maier died before Maloof could find her, with her belongings having been auctioned when she failed to keep up with payments on a storage facility. She had worked as a nanny for decades but fell on hard times towards the end of her life and was being financially supported by three of the children she had cared for. According to those that knew her, when asked what she did, Maier described herself as sort of a spy, she never gave her name and if she did she used variations of it. She spoke with an exaggerated French accent and wore mens shirts and big boots, her walk was a brisk march with an arm swinging by her side and Rolleiflex Camera swinging from her neck.

May 16, 1957. Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier

Her work included exceptional photographs showing the influence of MoMA’s seminal The Family of Man exhibition (1955) as well as the work of other American street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Robert Frank. Maier’s photography has the boldness that gives street photography of this kind zest; we are drawn sometimes uncomfortably close into someone’s personal space, with differing reactions - some of her subjects welcome the viewer others look back with suspicion or disgust.

January 26, 1955. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

The negatives Maloof found weren’t just the snapshots of a French au-pair in an American city, these were powerful images that at times directly confronted the street-life. This is a woman who is making a critique of the society she finds herself in, a morbid fascination with the world around her that perhaps developed from the contrast between living in the grit of expansive American cities and visiting family at her mother’s hometown - a quiet rural village nestled in the French Alps.  

Her shots were taken from the hip - the Rollieflex camera has the viewfinder on-top so Maier could look down and focus without bringing the camera to her eye - making the act of photography itself discrete. She would take her photos while walking the children, evidently tailoring the routes to her own photographic interests, sometimes taking the children through deprived neighbourhoods and even once to an abattoir. The photos expose the street from the children's perspective, being shot from below the subject is amplified. 

Chicago, IL, Vivian Maier, Undated

Accounts of Maier differ, with some remembering a dark side, with unresolved trauma, and others remember a tender caring woman. But all agree she was a mystery, she was highly secretive, and she used the camera to remove herself from the world and interpret it. Maybe the reason she never published her photos was their highly personal nature; we are seeing the world through her eyes, as Maier saw it, focusing on the things that interested her and caught her eyes, a uniquely personal, revealing style of photography.

1954. New York, NY, Vivian Maier

When Maier said she was a spy she was not serious, but she revealed something; she liked to spy, and there is a Peeping Tom sense to some of her work, particularly with its more macabre subjects. It isn’t sexual, but the proximity to her subjects feels like an invasion of privacy, capturing the things we would otherwise turn away from. Private moments like a couple holding hands, asleep on each-other, embracing - Maier captures the things we are meant to avert our gaze from: People kissing, children crying, litter, poverty, death. She is documenting the world as she sees it.

New York, NY, Vivian Maier (undated)

Maier had an eye for the perverse, the comical. There is a sense of humour in her work and sense of the strange and bizarre; she saw society for what it was, from the point of view of a misfit looking on from the outside. 

The mystery woman remains in the shadows, often literally, taking multiple self portraits of her silhouette, sometimes appearing with her head reflected in a mirror or window. But if she wasn’t taking these photos to publish, what were they for? One letter found in her belongings addresses a photographic studio in her mother’s hometown, with the proprietor having developed her early work. She wrote to him asking if he would print her American photos but whether he ever got a copy of the letter remains a mystery.

Self Portrait, 1955, Vivian Maier

In a way it is a tragedy she was not discovered sooner but there is the question of ethics; perhaps she never wanted to be in the public eye or have her life and character under the limelight.

Vivian Maier: Anthology is exhibiting at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, from 11 June - 25 September 2022.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
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