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Vivian Maier: Street Photographer [Hardcover]

Vivian Maier , Geoff Dyer , John Maloof
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 16 2011
Please note that all blank pages in the book were chosen as part of the design by the publisher.

A good street photographer must be possessed of many talents: an eye for detail, light, and composition; impeccable timing; a populist or humanitarian outlook; and a tireless ability to constantly shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and never miss a moment. It is hard enough to find these
qualities in trained photographers with the benefit of schooling and mentors and a community of fellow artists and aficionados supporting and rewarding their efforts. It is incredibly rare to find it in someone with no formal training and no network of peers.

Yet Vivian Maier is all of these things, a professional nanny, who from the 1950s until the 1990s took over 100,000 photographs worldwide—from France to New York City to Chicago and dozens of other countries—and yet showed the results to no one. The photos are amazing both for the breadth of the work and for the high quality of the humorous, moving, beautiful, and raw images of all facets of city life in America’s post-war golden age.

It wasn’t until local historian John Maloof purchased a box of Maier’s negatives from a Chicago auction house and began collecting and championing her marvelous work just a few years ago that any of it saw the light of day. Presented here for the first time in print, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer collects the best of her incredible, unseen body of work.

Frequently Bought Together

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer + Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows + Vivian Maier: Self-Portraits
Price For All Three: CDN$ 97.81

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Product Description


"Her work alternately brings to mind Lisette Model, Leon Levinstein, Harry Callahan, Garry Winogrand, Weegee, Helen Levitt and Robert Frank. But the uncracked nut at the core of her mystery is this: Why didn't Vivian Maier show anyone her pictures?"
-Wall Street Journal

"Saved from obscurity, the work of an unknown street photographer is, at last, coming out of the shadows."
-Anthony Mason, CBS News

"An unassuming Chicago baby sitter named Vivian Maier was one of the pioneers of street photography.  But for 60 years, nobody knew it."
-The New York Times Style Magazine

“An undiscovered artist whose photography is now being compared to the giants, a reclusive woman who, in death, is attracting the kind of attention and acclaim she would have shunned in life.”
-The Huffington Post

"Show-cased in the new book Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, out this month from powerHouse-rivet the viewer with the extreme vulnerability of her subjects."
-Vanity Fair

"[Maier] is a gifted visual thinking with a strong sense of self. Through [her] lens, self-shadows and window reflections are deftly composed more about context than the figure at the center"

-American Photo

"A combination of straight forward portraits, mirrored reflections and abstract self-portrayals, the collection...attempts to put a face to the name that's most recently captured the photography world's attention" -The Huffington Post

About the Author

There is still very little known about the life of Vivian Maier. What is known is that she was born in New York in 1926 and worked as a nanny for a family on Chicago’s North Shore during the 50s and 60s. Seemingly without a family of her own, the children she cared for eventually acted as caregivers for Maier herself in the autumn of her life. She took hundreds of thousands of photographs in her lifetime, but never shared them with anyone. Maier lost possession of her art when her storage locker was sold off for non-payment. She passed away in 2009 at the age of 83.

John Maloof is an author and street photographer involved in historic preservation of Chicago’s Northwest Side. He discovered the first negatives of Vivian Maier’s work in 2007 while compiling a book about the history of the neighborhood where he grew up.

Geoff Dyer’s books include But Beautiful (Picador, 2009), Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It (Vintage, 2004), The Ongoing Moment (Vintage, 2007) winner of the ICP Infinity Award for writing on photography, the novels Paris Trance (Picador, 2010) and Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi (Vintage, 2010), and a collection of essays, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (Graywolf Press, 2011).

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivian comes out of the shade Jan. 18 2012
I'm surprised how many one, two and three star reviews there are on US Amazon for this excellent photo book. On any level it really can't be faulted. Blank pages in a photo book are quite common though here the confusion was probably caused by having them very close to each other and repeated as such throughout the pages. Book designers would normally space a few blanks roughly evenly between all the photos. The printing by Asia Pacific is comparable to any other quality printed art book (and it costs less than quality printing in Europe or the US). The duotones use a 200 screen on a very acceptable 157gsm matt art with perfect register. The slight black/ochre feel to these photos, I thought, was a wise color choice.

As to Vivian Maier's photos, the 106 in the book are quite stunning. In particular the framing is just prefect and I think this separates her work from other well known street photographers especially those classed as the New York School who go for a more emotional style of imagery. The photos reveal everyday street scenes in Chicago and New York and work so well because they always pull you into the composition without any distractions about what to look at first. The pacing helps here too, close-up portraits merge into medium shots and then, perhaps, a long shot saturated with detail. The more I looked through these pages the more the sequencing added to the photos.

If I have a criticism it is that there is really nothing about Vivian Maier. Her named website gives some background and I think it would have been helpful to the reader to have included some of this material

John Maloof, the book's editor, is to be congratulated on finding and preserving a treasure trove of photos by an unknown photographer who had such a remarkable eye. I'm hoping this will be the first of many books revealing Ms Maier's creative vision.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hard to breathe when looking at her work April 6 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
If I can take one photograph in my lifetime that comes close to any of hers, I will rest happy. The book flows through themes that make such sense the groupings are seamless. The author has done the photographer honor
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivian Maier Street Photographer Aug. 6 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a treasure for anyone who has attempted street photography. The quality of images made with her Rolleiflex are superb, but it's the subjects and their placement in the frame that are so masterfully composed. There is a sense of tragedy in that Vivian's talent was never discovered in her lifetime so that she could have received the accolades that this wonderful body of work deserves.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% recommendation. Dec 27 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book for anyone interested in photography. Maier's work is beautiful and tragic. Great quality paper. Beautiful hardcover book. And for the price, you can't go wrong.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book April 14 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic catalog of Vivian Maier's work despite her modesty as a person throughout her lifetime. She hid away very nicely as a nanny and was able to capture stunning shots of NYC. I am extremely intrigued by the social commentary developed in these images.

Highly recommend for the photography book collection!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Eye March 14 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great images. Unfortunate that Vivian is not around and no one nows her in relation to her body of work. Maybe it's best that way, let the images speak for themselves.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing book Dec 29 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I feel so privileged to view these photos and am forever.grateful that they have been published for everyone to see.
They are amazing works, and Vivian Maijer has captured three decades of urban Americana unbenownst to the subjects.
This is a book I will visit over and.over again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Oct. 10 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent book, beautiful pictures.
Would recommend for everybody owning a camera.
At this low price everybody should own it to see street photography at its greatest.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very nice, Very nice
Published 1 month ago by MICHEL CARON
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I must see for every budding street photographer!
Published 2 months ago by leslie brown
3.0 out of 5 stars hmmmmmmmm
quite desapointed not what i was expecting
Published 2 months ago by herick69
5.0 out of 5 stars A very well edited Vivian collection
This book is edited excellently, a pleasure to go though - every image is a stop and look, fantastic.
Published 2 months ago by Allan
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book Honouring A Great Photographer
Wonderful book honouring a wonderful photographer. This is definitely worth a look if you enjoy photog books. Thank you and all the best
Published 16 months ago by Costa Maragos
5.0 out of 5 stars A great find!
I first discovered Vivian Maier's photography before the book was publish from an Facebook link. At first I wanted to purchase on original print, but when I contacted the future... Read more
Published 16 months ago by A. Richard
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking 'fresh' content
This review is for the book, not the images of Vivian Maier. Her images are beautiful.

Sadly, at least half the content in this book can be seen on vivianmaier dot com. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Adam M
2.0 out of 5 stars Print Quality lacking
After reading the reviews about Maloof's book on Vivian Maier and taking into account the print quality which the critics say is lacking I decided not to buy this book and will buy... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Andre Dumas
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