Largely unknown or recognised in her time as an artist or photographer, Vivian Maier spent many hours at leisure during her baby-sitting hours, scouring the streets of Chicago and New York capturing the quotidian on-goings. Using up to a whole roll of film each day, Vivian left an outstanding body of work composed of more than 100,000 negatives and undeveloped roll films. Her recent ascent from recluse to revered artist is phenomenal, and has become one of the most remarkable stories in the history of photography.
Maier found herself effortlessly inspired by the lives around her, a truth that reflected plainly in her photographs through an exceptional eye for detail and flair for composition. They are witty and intelligent, and charged with a strong sense of empathy for each individual she encountered in her lens. Her photographed ranged from the downtrodden to the well-heeled, of all classes and all ages.
Maier died at age 83 in 2009, just two years before her undeniable talent had began to gain its wholly overdue diligence. A chance discovery at a Chicago auction in 2007 unveiled a mass of photographs kept in storage lockers. As she had no permanent home of her own, Maier accumulated her life’s work of which included undeveloped film, negatives and several prints into storage – all of which were auctioned off when Maier fell on hard times later in her life.
Her works are now receiving the international critical acclaim that they deserve. Widely celebrated, her works have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Moscow, Munich and London. Maier herself is also the subject of two hugely successful and award winning documentary films. Her name now stands alongside those of the other great photographers of the twentieth-century, including Brassai, Walker Evans, and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Beetles+Huxley are delighted to present an exhibition of exquisitely hand printed photographs, made from the artist’s original negatives. The show will span some of Maier’s most fascinating photographs, many never seen in London before. The exhibition will showcase her street photography alongside her ingenious and intricately staged self-portraits.
The exhibition runs until September 5th at Beetles+Huxley
3-5 Swallow Street
Luciana Garbarni (@LucPierra)