Seriously, I mean "must see." If you do nothing else this week, you should watch the video of Chicago Tonight's telling of the Vivian Maier story. A terrific presentation of one of the absolute best stories in American photography from the decade now ending. Or American and French photography, I should say, since Maier was Franc0-American.
The video was prepared in conjunction with the first American exhibit of Maier's work, which will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center next to Millennium Park in downtown Chicago from January 8th to April 3rd, 2011. Here's the link to the Cultural Center's page about the show.
I have to say I love what I've seen of this woman's photography, and the story of her and her accidental rescuer John Maloof ranks right up there with Berenice Abbott rescuing the work of Eugene Atget. I'm definitely unchaining myself from the leg of the desk and firing up the bus and trundling down to Chicagger for a gander at the show.
Don't miss the video. Heartwarmin' stuff for the holidays.
There's also a nice article by Nora O'Donnell at Chicago Magazine online, from its January 2011 issue.
(Thanks to Gary Mortensen, Tom Kaszuba, and Peter Turnley)
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Christian: "Mike, I don't know how you feel about us linking to other people's blogs in your comments, so if this is un-kosher please feel free to not approve the comment.
"Portland photographer Blake Andrews posted about her pictures on his blog, "B," and in the comments there comprise an interesting (especially to a lay person such as myself) conversation. Mr. Maloof even chimes in some, including talking a little about his experiences curating Ms. Maier's work."
Question from paul logins: "I don't get it. Why do you 'hope those two little white lines in the foreground are two discarded matchsticks'?"
Mike replies: Because it would be what's called a "telling detail." It would mean that the two ladies with the nearly identical legs and nearly identical shoes and nearly identical dresses and nearly identical handbags are puffing on cigarettes together. And probably holding them just the same way.
It helps give the picture a narrative (in that it helps answer the picture's basic question, "why are those two women sitting there?") and helps me imagine some of what the picture doesn't show....