The hubby and I went out for a drinks and photography date a few nights ago and ended up seeing the Vivian Maier Exhibit at the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto.
For those of you unaware of Vivian Maier and her story, she was an American street photographer who worked as a nanny in Chicago. She obsessively took photos of the world around her and regularly wore her Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera around her neck. Many of her images were of the children in her care during the 1950’s and 60’s. These shots and some of other children are the focus of the show at the Bulger Gallery.
Maier’s work was unknown for most of her life and only surfaced when her possessions were auctioned off from a storage facility that failed to receive payment. John Maloof, a Chicago historian and collector, purchased a box of her negatives in 2007 for around $400 and started posting Maier’s work on a blog in 2009, soon after her death. She quickly became a social-media sensation. Her work has been exhibited around the world and there has even been a successful documentary film of her story.
The exhibit at the Bulger Gallery consists of vintage prints and posthumous exhibition prints. It was narrative and inspiring. Maier’s portraits offer an intimate glimpse into her life, the lives of her subjects, and a time long gone. The work is insightful, bold, touching, often humorous, and nostalgic. It is quite likely that Vivian Maier will join the likes of Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand and other impressive imagemakers as one of the most important street photographers of the 20th century. I highly recommend catching this show in its final 2 weeks. Click the link below for location and hours.