Top positive review
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Vivian comes out of the shade
on January 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.