Last week I was finally able to visit the Vivain Maier exhibit over at the Des Moines Art Center. I was a huge fan of the documentary concerning her life's work and I was very excited to see it all in person.
My friend and photography wizard, Haverlee, was able to join me and snap a few shots as we wandered around. While it was a smaller exhibit than I would've hoped, it was still inspiring. More after the jump if you want to see...
For those of you who don't know Vivan's story, I'll summarize it briefly. Vivian Maier was a nanny in Chicago during the 1960's and 1970's. She was an avid photographer, taking thousands of pictures of people on the streets of Chicago But she was reclusive, very private, and she never shared her work with anyone.
In fact, it wasn't until her death in 2009 that they were seen by the public. In a serendipitous turn of events, John Maloof, a young history buff living in the suburbs, purchased a box of negatives for $400 at a local auction. The rest is history.
Her work went viral, John became the point man for a large collection of iconic art, and the exhibit is now traveling all across the globe.
Until January 22nd, it will be here in Des Moines.
In many ways, Vivian has much in common with modern day street photographers, people like Scott Schuman of the Sartorialist for example. She seemed to interested in real people. One of my coworkers even went as far as to say that Vivian "created the selfie." While I think self portraits are a bit older than 1970, I do think she's kind of a precursor to all of our social media documentation.
Vivian seemed interested in life - big and small. Her work focuses on people and little moments in their normal lives. Her pictures have almost a haunting quality to them. You'll see what I mean.
I wish I could sit down with her and learn more about herself and her work, but I'll have to settle for the art that she produced. Go see it for yourself.