Vivian Maier – the greatest street photographer you haven’t heard of yet.

by lydiasee

I spent the night with Henri Cartier Bresson two nights ago.  Then Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith joined us. We had an amazing time together, the four of us, up all night, in my bed. The dreams I had that night, after falling asleep with The Modern Century (MFA Catalog of Bresson’s work) and Just Kids (Patti Smith’s account of her life-long relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe) …. I had the most fantastic dream about an undiscovered street photographer who composed some of the most inspirational images I had ever seen.

I feel like I never woke up. The next day I was introduced to Vivian Maier (thanks Bill!) and I simply can’t seem to snap out of it.

Her portraiture work is e v e r y t h i n g  a street portrait should be. Her compositions are impeccable, from the exposure to the framing of her subject matter in the perfect 120mm square.

We even share some of the same interests: non-traditional portraiture, playing with scale in land/city-scapes, and dead birds.

I am obsessed with her attention to detail and an exceptional focus on finding the light in tiny intense moments .. in other people’s lives. If Henri Cartier Bresson was the father of the street portrait and modern photojournalism, and the Sartorialist is the fashion-forward current version, then Ms. Maier is the missing link.  Tenderness while shooting women’s legs, calves, hands. Brash crisp focus of filthy children and dead things. Abandoned objects, private moments, self-portraits, city/land/dream-scapes. Her work is an enigma, and thanks to a serendipitous turn of events, is now being archived by John Maloof and Anthony Rydzon.

PLEASE go to the blog set up by John Maloof and also check out he and Anthony Rydzon, and award-winning Danish documentary film maker, Lars Mortensen’s forthcoming documentary about Ms. Maier: (Give them lots of money!)

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