Vivian Maier

A few years ago I read an article about a film called Finding Vivian Maier, about a reclusive Nanny who had secretly spent decades (1940's to 90's) photographing the inhabitants of Chicago and New York. Often in the most poverty stricken parts of the city, and sometimes with her small charges in tow! During this time she amassed over 100,000 images, approximately a of third which were unprocessed when she died in 2009

The story and the imagery lodged itself firmly in consciousness, I loved the fact that she photographed black Americans, the working classes and the poverty stricken and that she managed to do this despite the responsibilities of being a nanny. 

Many of her candid pictures give a real sense that the subjects were unaware of Maiers presence let a lone that they were being photographed and others have quite clearly been taken with the subjects consent. What appealed to me most about her work are the  pictures where the subject, despite the lens, and passing years seem to be looking directly at you. It can feel quite unnerving.  I have since read that Maier managed to capture theses naturalistic poses by holding the camera at chest level whilst talking to the subjects. I instantly and enthusiastically tried to replicate this technique,  It's really hard, Maier has been described as a reclusive, fairly aloof and secretive character,  I find it hard to imagine a person described  with those characteristics  performing this technique with strangers,  I would sincerely love to have witnessed her in action.

From a far of course