Glenbow hosting Canadian debut of work by secretive photographer Vivian Maier
Calgary’s Glenbow Museum is presenting the Canadian debut of “Vivian Maier: In Her Own Hands,” an exhibit that showcases the posthumous works of the amateur photographer who likely never saw many of her photos turned into prints.
A bulk of the photographs capture everyday scenes in Chicago and New York from the 1950s through 1970s.
A nanny, Maier's charges were often her subjects, but her self-portraits and documentary-style works are earning praise in the art world.
“She really had a great eye for people and humanity and just day-to-day life that we might consider mundane. She found the artistry and the poetry in everyday life,” said Zoltan Varadi, communications specialist with the Glenbow.
The exhibit has never been presented in Canada before.
It’s believed Maier kept hundreds of thousands of negatives that were never developed and not shown to anyone.
“In fact, she probably didn’t even see the photographs that are on display here,” Varadi said.
Her life became the subject of an Oscar nominated documentary after a box of her negatives were purchased at auction in Chicago in 2007.
Maier passed away in 2009 and never received praise or acclaim for her works, which have been described as stunning masterpieces.
“She didn’t seek out fame. She could’ve had it in her life, had she shared this work, but she chose for whatever reasons that we don’t know to keep it hidden away from the world. Had it not been for an accidental discovery we would never have known about it.”
The exhibit runs until May 24.