Her pictures are at once artfully self-conscious and hilarious, as in the grocery store window dresser whose work shoes are caught peeking out from the stacks of canned peaches. Her eye is as sharp from distant shots of crowds to intimate portraits of strangers — eyeing her suspiciously, vamping for the lens, or simply going about their business. Maier's timing is the envy of any photographer: the smouldering shell of an armchair left to burn on a curbside; the brilliant self-portrait she must have seen happening and planned out to the second as a worker moving glass plates leaves but a perfect moment for the photographer to capture her reflection — and she gets it.
You’ll get it, too. In an era when everybody wants to be and is a photographer and can instantly share their work, Maier’s quiet persistence in obscurity gives one hope for visual wheat among the chaff.
[Photo from Vivian Maier: Street Photographer photographs by Vivian Maier, edited by John Maloof, published by powerHouse Books.]