“Her approach was not to take photographs covertly, but to do so openly, with confidence that her presence would elicit little reaction. Her subjects rarely look directly into the camera: children continue to play as if unobserved, and adults do not adopt poses. Her characteristic manner of stealing up on adults for close shots suggests she was quite aware that as a solitary, middle-aged woman she would be perceived as unthreatening and neutral, a person safely overlooked, even with camera in hand.”
—Ben Merriman and Andrew Seeder, “Introduction: Vivian Maier”
In 2013, Chicago Review published a portfolio of eight unique prints by Chicago-based street photographer Vivian Maier (1926–2009). The photographs, which depict subjects who are largely unaware of their picture being taken, reflect Maier’s eye for capturing beauty in the mundane, sophisticated foregrounding technique, and—as Merriman and Seeder write—”unobtrusive presence as a photographer.”
In 2008, over 100,000 of her prints and negatives were discovered, allowing her work to be exhibited in and beyond the US even after her death. Chicago Review was one of the first publications to feature her photographs. The University of Chicago Library recently acquired 500 of Maier’s prints and will make them available by the end of the year.
Click here to read the full introduction and view the portfolio.