In 2007, John Maloof, a local historian in Chicago, came across some boxes of photos and negatives depicting Chicago in the 60’s at an auction house. Unable to get a thorough look at their contents, he took a gamble and purchased the boxes for around $400.
He found nothing relevant for the history book he was writing so John put them to one side. After some time, he revisited the negatives and started to scan them. The images that caught his attention were historic in nature and he was intrigued as to the identity of the photographer.
She was Vivian Maier who had been a nanny in Chicago during the 50s and 60s. In her spare time, she was out on the streets photographing people, buildings, signs, objects, unseen lives and landmark buildings long since demolished. Her talent is clear but she was unknown in her lifetime. She accumulated boxes of belongings as well as the photos and had to pay for storage – she had no home of her own. When she defaulted on the payments, the contents were released to auction houses. She died aged 83 in 2009, never knowing that she would become famous.
The documentary by John Maloof, ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ won awards and was Oscar nominated, and her pictures have been exhibited widely. They can now been seen in l’Isle sur la Sorgue where the arts centre has a large display of photos and also a comfortable room where they are showing the documentary.
Vivian Maier captures her own reflection in a passing mirror
One room is dedicated to photos where Vivian caught her own image in unexpected ways. Others show typical scenes of street-life usually featuring the ordinary people going about their daily lives. It feels like another world.
Where: Campredon Centre d’Art, 20 rue du Docteur Tallet, l’Isle sur la Sorgue.
When: until 19th Feb
Opening times: 10-12:30 and 14-17:30 Tues-Sun.
Logistics: just over an hour’s drive from Aix. Large car-park just across the river from the arts centre.
Two warnings! The Vivian Maier website appears to have been hacked. Also this cold spell is not the ideal time to visit the town as the delightful cafés by the streams look like this….Hopefully there will soon be some warm weather to enjoy while visiting this very good exhibition.
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