December 15, 2011

Vivian Maier's Beautiful Photos Of New York In 1940s

About a year ago, I posted about the discovery of a treasure trove of photos taken by a Chicago nanny that are an artful record of mid-Century American urban life.  A Chicago real estate attorney discovered thousands of her photos a couple years ago, taken when she was off duty as an upper-class nanny, and has been sifting through them ever since.

I recently found some of Vivian Maier's photos posted on one of my favorite photo sites, How to Be A Retronaut.  Unlike the majority of her work  that depicts Chicago, these photos were of New York City in the 1940s and they are just extraordinary.  I am posting two of my favorites here but I encourage you to check out the rest on the site.  They are really remarkable given her compositions, the characters she finds and her subtle use of available light.  Earlier, critics likened her work to Walker Evans but, based on these new pictures, I'd say she's more like Henri Cartier-Bresson, with a mad touch of Diane Arbus thrown in there too.

The first NYC exhibit of her work opens today at Steven Kasher's gallery in Chelsea. I look forward to seeing them in person as beautiful photos like these should be seen; printed, framed and hanging on a wall.