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VIVIAN MAIER OUT OF THE SHADDOWS Hardcover – 1 Oct 2012
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"This book is fascinating and a revelation. Not only is it beautiful and compelling and haunting, it is a life in photographs. You will never read a more definitive book about Vivian Maier than Out of the Shadows." -- Rick Kogan "Now the brilliant and intrepid photo reclamation and writing team of Cahan and Williams tell Maiers deeply moving story. They conferred with everyone they could find who knew Maier and chose 300 galvanising photographs -- most unprinted, many undeveloped -- from the tens of thousands she shot." -- Booklist Starred Review "Digging through the unprecedented treasure trove of tens of thousands of images taken by Maier, a private street photographer who never shared her work in her lifetime, Cahan and Williams have unearthed a beautiful, haunting collection of a private woman and gifted artist." -- Publishers Weekly "The thoughtful and, indeed, heartfelt text manages to enrich the experience of looking at her photos and enables us to see this woman not as mere curiosity but as unforgettable artist." -- Chicago Tribune "(Starred Review) They show that Vivian Maier was a great artist -- not simply "the nanny photographer", as some have called her." -- Library Journal
About the Author
Richard Cahan isa former picture editor for the "Chicago Sun-Times" and was the director of CITY 2000. He lives in Skokie, Illinois. Michael Williams is the author or coauthor of 10 books on Chicago history, including "Chicago: City on the Move." He lives in Chicago. They are the coauthors of "Edgar Miller and the Hand-Made Home," "The Lost Panoramas," and "Richard Nickel s Chicago.""
Top customer reviews
The nine chapters have photos from 1949 to the mid-seventies and so they are a good sampling of the things that caught Maier's eye. The three chapters that I thought worked the best are: 'America' with forty-seven photos of Los Angeles and New York; 'Maxwell' has twenty photos of this Chicago street market; 'Downtown' with thirty-four taken around the Chicago Loop area. These are photos of Maier at her best, capturing the bustle of big city streets with energy and compassion. One thing missing from Maloof's book was explanation of who was Vivian Maier. 'Out of the shadows' fortunately fills in a lot of detail about her life and interest in photography and each chapter gets a short essay about the photos that follow.
It is inevitable that this book is compared to Maloof's and like another reviewer I prefer his book. It has a much better selection of photos and nearly everyone shows one of Maier's strengths: her ability to create perfect framing. 'Out of the shadows' has many more photos but because of this I thought it also included several that seemed, perhaps, not worth including. The child asleep in a car, page 123, street light on page172, some lit windows floating on a black square, page 277 (it could well be that some some non-specific photos were introduced to create a change of pace as the reader turns the pages, in the 'Street photographer' book several blank pages were used to do this). Maloof's book is also a better production with a good matt art paper for the 200 screen printing which produces solid blacks and mid-tones, something I thought was missing from 'Out of the shadows' though printed with a 175 screen.
Both Maier books, of course, display wonderful photos taken by this extraordinary amateur photographer. Who knew while she was alive? Her legacy will slowly be revealed with each new publication.
>>>LOOK AT SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
One thing that soon stands out very clearly, is that this book is much different from 'Vivian Maier, Street Photographer'. For this reason, anyone interested in Vivian Maier should acquire both. However, I doubt very much these both books gives us any complete or definitive view of Vivian Maier. There is more, must be more, to be revealed.
Another thing that strikes you (with this book), is that Vivian Maier wasn't exactly a "Street Photographer". That's just a label they have applied to her, to position her, in the contemporary establishment of perceptions of photography. Of course many of Maier's images falls into the cathegory of 'Street Photography'. But that's by convenience or accident. Vivian Maier was a photographer. Period. She nurtured an obsessive love for the photographic image and for making them. And she seems to have made an awful lot of them that are truly excellent.
A third thing that strikes you is that she went her own way. All the way. She didn't listen to anybody. She didn't seek any judgement or accolades. She didn't watch or communicate with other photographers. Everything is 100% Vivian Maier, totally 24 carat genuine. She doesn't care if anyone else finds worth in her images. They had immense worth for her. That's all that mattered.
These things are parts of the portrait that this book presents. It's much more personal than 'Street Photographer'. There are a lot of images, and the printing is very good, as it should be.
I've seen some murmurs from others about that the images in this book are not as striking as those in the 'Vivian Maier, Street Photographer' book. Depending upon what you mean by 'striking' or 'strong' that could have some truth in it. However, in my opinion, the images in this book are of the same quality and possibly more interest. They present a more intimate, personal outlook on the world. Many may lack the twist or "moment" of 'street photography', but instead they have a strong sense of the preciousness of time. She captures a sliver of time, for other, more personal and heartfelt reasons, than in the traditional image of life in the public room of street photographers. And it's very easy to read in more value in that. I do it so easy.
Whether the value is there or not, will be up to a lengthy semantic process between gallery owners, critics and art professors (it really is, that's how art works).
In the end it doesn't matter. Vivian Maier's images are still there, whether they are representations of her artistic vision or somebody's selection process. It's enough for me. And it seems to be enough for the big audience as well. I certainly hope interest will be enough to make photography books of her work keep coming out.
I would guard my tounge very carefully, if I were anyone of Vivian Maier's critics. Remember that Van Gogh eventually buried his, in a landslide of ridicule.
She is a master of her craft and now a piece of Chicago history
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