Whether you are interested in photography or are simply curious about human nature, you will find the life of photographer Vivien Maier both touching and compelling.
Born in New York in the first half of the 20th century, she juggled her job as a nanny with her passion for photography. Whenever she could, she would take her modest camera and wander the streets taking pictures of people. She even travelled the world on her own and captured astonishing images of remote places.
No one can tell much about her personal life. We know that she didn’t marry and that she was very private. She died poor and, in her last days, failed to keep up payments on the storage she rented to keep her pictures and negatives. Later, photo collector John Maloof bought a big part of her work and made it public.
I am intrigued by this unusual woman who travelled and photographed in the days when being a free spirit was much easier for men than for women, a woman who challenged the conventions of society.
I wonder what she would think if she saw how her pictures have been exposed to the world. Did she keep her artworks in secret because she believed that no one would be interested? Or were they a very intimate expression of her inner world that she kept for herself?
Some artists need to share their works with the world, while others opt to remain private. Whatever the reasons, it takes a lot of courage for an artist to make their work public and expose it to criticism and judgment.
If you want to learn more about this brilliant person, go to her website: www.vivianmaier.com.
Beatriz Puche López, Spanish teacher in the UK.