I would encourage everyone to go and see the Vivian Maier exhibition at the German Gymnasium in Kings Cross this weekend. Its a pretty small exhibition, but it is part of the London street photography festival and is the first UK exhibition to host Maiers work.
If you haven’t heard of her before, she is the enigmatic nanny who left behind 100 000 unseen negatives of some of the best street photography taken to this date. John Maloof, who did not know Maier and was not familiar with street photography before, came across her negatives at an auction house in Chicago. He has made it his mission to archive and make her work accessible for others to enjoy. He set up a blog which he has live-feed with her images as he has developed them for the last few years. It has been a way for him to share his findings and he is now close to his goal: roughly 90% of the archive is reconstructed.
Reviewing Maier’s work and life, its difficult to settle on what is most fascinating: Maier herself, the characters in her photographs or Maloof’s discovery. One can only imagine the excitement of unraveling Maier’s story and images, an intensively guarded and eccentric woman who has recorded some of the most witty and moving portrayal of urban America. Each photograph helps us puzzle together her incredible character and get to know her sitters in the way she did: ?as a silent spellbound observer.