Vivian's photography

Maier's images depict street scenes in Chicago and New York in the 1950s and 1960s. An article in The Independent characterizes her photographs thus:

The well-to-do shoppers of Chicago stroll and gossip in all their department-store finery before Maier, but the most arresting subjects are those people on the margins of successful, rich America in the 1950s and 1960s: the kids, the black maids, the bums flaked out on shop stoops.

Driven by her sequestered, private motivations, Vivian Maier captured US cities, suburbs and rural towns. A nanny for many years, herself childless, Maier revealed the beauties and complexities of domesticity. Her photographs demonstrate an intimate exploration of family life, as well as seemingly allegorical treatments of “home”—a space sometimes idyllic and whole, and sometimes troubled—as in her photographs of homes destroyed by tornadoes or street riots. In this present collection, we witness her sophisticated, expansive approach to setting and subject matter both intimate and grand. The photographic subjects range from Salvador Dali to Nixon; from poignant self-portraits to photos of the unnamed on the street. She documented the exhilaration of Macy’s parades, along with the quiet of cemeteries, scenes of road kill, the life of flowers and her worldwide travels. In addition to Europe and the United States, those travels included places as diverse as Egypt, Malaysia, the Philippines and more.

Through surveying her selection of deeply varied subject matter, we are allowed an intimate view of Vivian Maier, obscure photographer extraordinaire.

Maier's photographs, and the way they were discovered, received international attention in mainstream media.