Vivian Maier (street 1)

Undated

September 24, 1959, New York, NY

Vivian Maier was a street artist in her spare time, but her actual career was a nanny and she did this for fourty years. She took over 150,000 photos in her life time and all of these photos show a story. My first impression of Vivian Maiers photographs was that the photos consisting of people standing central in front of the camera as it highlights the features of their face and the way they either stand or sit, being central also makes you stand out in the image so when you look at the image you aren’t distracted by the background.

The facial expressions and stance of the two people stand out. With the young girl you can see she is covered in dirt and her face is blank however her eyes look like they are swelling up into tears. The photograph of the older man stands out because of the dirt all over his clothes, face and hands. You can’t fully see what he has in his hand however you may say it looks a lot like food and the way his hair is a mess and his face has a slight sneer to it may interpret that this man is homeless and is younger than he looks because he is face has a worn out look to it. Vivian Maiers work makes me feel quite sad as both photos are very sad because both man and child look as if they’ve been through much more than either should have with the sorrow in both their eyes and the dirt all over their faces, clothes and arms.

Her work is mainly on portraits in the streets of New York. The work is realistic and is quite old because of the photos being black and white. The stories that I see when I look at these photos are quite similar I would say that both of these people have got sad backgrounds, the older man looks homeless and because of the rough life he has had he sadly looks older than he actually is. The young girl looks as if she has been abandoned also lives on the streets, I got this story because of the way the young girl looks at you with her big eyes that look as if they have seen years of sorrow which a young girl at around the age of 8/9 years old shouldn’t have seen.

These photos have got little background as both of these people are in the centre of the photo looking straight forward at the people that are viewing the photo. Maiers work is realistic and historical even though the photos that she takes look like they are usually posed for.  The theme of the work is people on the streets of New York, the people are from all different ages and ethnicities.

I would say that my feeling toward the photos haven’t changed because I still only feel sorrow and lost hope in both the people’s eyes mainly the young girls. The work does possess a high technical skill because of the angles and the thought that has gone into the people chosen to show that story, Vivian Maier also had to use the darkroom with all of her black and white photos and that takes a lot of skill especially when you have over 150,000 photos. These photographs are an effective piece of work because it made you look closer at the lines in the mans face and the dirt all over his clothes and with the girl you look closer into her eyes and see the sadness that is also demonstrated with the dirt all over her body and her arms being crossed as if she annoyed or fed up.

Visit her website:

http://www.vivianmaier.com/

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