Photographer of the week - Vivian Maier

My intentions to post my 'photographer of the week' on a weekly basis (as the title suggests!) has rather fallen by the wayside since my first post.  However, I'm back on track now and thought I'd talk about a totally different genre from the work of Tim Wallace, who I featured two weeks ago.

Street photography is a relatively new discipline for me.  I took my first tentative steps in the field back in 2010 when I attended a course at West Dean College and have enjoyed dabbling ever since.  It's a real luxury to have the time to simply watch a street scene and look for what Henri Cartier Bressan would have called "the decisive moment".  Over the years I've become braver and rather than using a long lens to shoot people from a distance I now tend to shoot with my beloved 'nifty fifty' lens from closer quarters.  

One of the street photographers who has influenced me the most in recent years is Vivian Maier (1926-1909).  Maier was an American, based in New York and Chicago, where she worked as a nanny.  In her spare time she was a keen observer and photographer of human life on the streets around her and she took countless photos, latterly with a Rolliflex camera which allowed her to be relatively unnoticed as she worked.  

In her later years she fell on hard times, putting some of her belongings into storage to save money.  These were auctioned off in 2007 to raise funds and it is thanks to this auction that the wider world became aware of her work.  One of the buyers, John Maloof, found her photos and many undeveloped films (she left over 2000 rolls of undeveloped black and white film and 700 of colour film), saw the amazing quality of her work and realised it needed to be shared more widely. 

Vivian Maier had a wonderful eye for that crucial moment in the streets she walked and so many of her images capture unique moments in time.  As well as these candid shots there are wonderful portraits and the connection between her and her subjects invariably has a real intensity.  

I would have liked to include a few of Vivian's photos in this post but I haven't received permission from the curator of the website which features her work in time.  However, I strongly recommend you hop over to and take a little time to browse through her portfolios there.  The website shows a mere fraction of her enormous output but it gives an excellent sense of the variety and quality of her work.