Vivian Maier: lost art of an urban photographer – On BBC One Tonight – June 25, 2013
I am a massive fan of Vivian Maier’s work and as the BBC point out, ‘She’s been called ‘the greatest photographer you’ve never heard of’… the mysterious Vivian Maier, a nanny based in Chicago who took about 150,000 photographs in her lifetime and stashed them away, not showing them to anyone.
She left thousands not even developed, and most as negatives from which she never made prints.
It was sheer accident that her life’s work was discovered.
Two years before she died in 2009, Vivian Maier stopped paying the rent on five storage lockers in Chicago. Without her knowledge the contents were sold.
At locker sales, you have to stand at the door and buy without touching. So auctioneer Roger Gunderson saw only a jumble of boxes and suitcases:
“A Paris sticker on one trunk caught my eye. I thought maybe there’s going to be some perfume or jewellery.”
Gunderson bought the lot for $250 – “a truck and a half load of stuff”, he says: papers, magazines and thousands upon thousands of photographs.
People who then bought them at auction posted a few online. Before long, Vivian Maier went viral. Now her prints sell for thousands of dollars/pounds a piece’.
Tonight on BBC One at 10.35 pm (BST) you can see the latest documentary of life. It will also be available to catch up later on BBC iPlayer (if you don’t have this app, you must download it – click here).
Wonder what Vivian would thought of all this attention. Hope we can watch the show here in USA. Will try downloading the app.
This work along with a few other outside artists from that era, where embarked on learning a visual language that came from deep intuitive explorations.
Vivian fits right into what Scorsese has been saying lately about watching the old films. There was no language and these folks were discovering aspects of an ancient symbology with their work and subsequent exhibiting of it.
They were unfettered by main stream group mentatlity. We need less snapping of images and more thought into why.
She was truly brilliant, wasn’t she? [wipes tear from eye]
I know the guys who bought the storage locker of her films/etc. What a story!
Tracy Mitchell Griggs
The good news is that the work was salvaged. The sad thing, is that a woman artist’s lifetime of work, was almost lost to history. I am happy that a docu crew made a film and can’t wait to see it.
This program was so good. I was lucky enough to get to the exhibition in Chicago, such inspiring work.