Out + About : Vivian Maier Exhibition


I heard about Vivian Maier and–at the risk of being totally dramatic–I fell in love. You can find out more of her story here, but the Cliff Notes version is this: a guy stumbles into a pile of photograph negatives and discovers a treasure of work by an unknown artist…thousands of hours, scans, and prints later, Vivian Maier was being heralded as a remarkable–yet hidden–street photographer.

I was so moved by this story and I wanted to be a part of it, wanted to give a voice to Vivian. I donated money to her Kickstarter project and I’ve been following her story via the web.

On Christmas morning, JD handed me a gift wrapped in gold bow. I unwrapped The Vivian Maier book. And then I cried.

Every so often I open the book and stare at black and white images that move me, that make me feel something, so you could just imagine my excitement when JD and I made our way to the Merry Karnowsky Gallery for the Vivan Maier – A Life Discovered exhibit. As we made our way through Los Angeles, I looked out the window and felt lucky. Lucky to do what I love and, much like Vivian herself, see the world from behind the shadow of a camera.

En route to the gallery, JD stopped me from photographing him…he prefers to be behind the lens. I definitely prefer to be behind the lens as well, but when we stumbled on this mid century modern sofa, I begged JD for it. I even resorted to the pleasepleasepleaseI’lldoanything mantra that worked well with my parents as a kid, but not so well with him…

I felt weird taking pictures of pictures, but I didn’t want to forget a single thing. Not.one.thing. To see more of Vivian Maier’s work, you can check out her website, but I’d definitely suggest checking out the book…it’s breathtaking. Really.

Even though I didn’t get the sofa, we did enjoy shopping on Melrose Avenue and I even made a picture to remember the memory of it all.

Happy Monday!

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  1. Liz

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    How weird – I just read a post about her on the NY Times Lens blog a couple of weeks ago, along with a series of images from that exhibit. That’s so great that you were able to go!

  2. W. Lotus

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I like Vivian Maier’s work and story. Sometimes I wonder what will become of the hundreds of negatives (and thousands of digital negatives) I have amassed as I’ve evolved as a fine art photographer. I like to think that in addition to the joy they bring people when I share them now, they will bring joy for generations to come.

    As a professional photographer, do you enjoy making art for art’s sake, or do you mostly enjoy making photos as a business?

  3. Stacy

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    that sofa is WAY TOO COOL!

  4. dana

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    so AWESOME!!! πŸ™‚

  5. The New Diplomat's Wife

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    looooooooove her! so excited you got to see the exhibit – hopefully it will come to DC!

  6. Gabby / En Route Photography

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    That Hollywood sign behind the sofa is just beyond words!!! I wish I had a gigantic loft to put it in! ;D

  7. Katie

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Vivian Maier’s story is incredible and so inspiring. The fact that she photographed thousands of images of everyday life and stored them away in boxes only to be discovered after she has passed adds so much mystery to this woman’s unassuming life. What a gift she has given to us through these pictures! How exciting that you were able to go to the exhibit and take it all in!

  8. Katie

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Vivian Maier’s story is incredible and so inspiring. The fact that she photographed thousands of images of everyday life and stored them away in boxes only to be discovered after she has passed adds so much mystery to this woman’s unassuming life. What a gift she has given to us through these pictures! How exciting that you were able to go to the exhibit and take it all in!

  9. Autumn Lee

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I have yet to go to a photo exhibit…I must add it to my list of things to do someday LOL!! That couch btw was totally rockin’

  10. Life with Kaishon

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I love her story too. Absolutely love. : ) She had a remarkable life. I wonder what her blog would have been like…you know if there had been blogs way back then.

  11. teri

    January 30th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    her self portrait gallery is brilliant! thanks for making my monday by sharing her story. so cool..

  12. Gail

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Oh so FUN! Jealie that you got to take in that wonderful exhibit! And must get Vivian’s book for the latest addition to the ‘ol coffee table.

    BTW, what shop is that on Melrose? BECAUSE I WANT TO GO THERE TOO!! πŸ™‚

  13. Yuliana

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Ya’ll are just too cute!!

  14. naomi chokr

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    wow! thank you so much for introducing us to Viviene Maier. Her work is breathtaking and is making me all choked up.

  15. Allison

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Ah! I’m so jealous, I also fell in love with her and the story behind her. I’m an Ohio girl traveling to Chicago for the Fix WS and had planned on seeing her exhibit while I was there… come to find out its a traveling exhibit and not there while I’m in town! Boo!

  16. Kandise

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    So good!

  17. Tara

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Men.. they can be so difficult sometimes! πŸ™‚

  18. Sarah

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I absolutely fell in love with Vivian Maier the first time I heard about her story and saw some of her work. When I found out they were putting on a small exhibition in London, I knew I just had to go. Sadly, I had no one to go with but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I jumped on the train and off I went. Her work is absolutely amazing and I aspire to be even as half as good as her.

    I am so jealous you have her book! My fiancΓ© tried his hardest to get the book for me for Christmas but it is out of print here in the UK, currently. I’ll keep trying though because I want to feel the way I felt that day in London when I saw her work up close for the first time.

  19. Victoria Anne Photographt

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Fun! LOVE the one of you sitting on the couch.

  20. Kristi Chappell

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Amazing story….I ran across this a few months ago. She was truly a born artist. Her images reminded me of some you would see in Time Life.
    Oh, for the ya’ll or y’all southern slang issue, it is y’all! I’ve always seen it as ya’ll so by nature spelled it that way. I thought of you when my IPhone corrected my southern ways! Looking forward to meeting you in Atlanta!

  21. Alicia

    January 30th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Wow, I just checked out her website, those images are AMAZING! And she didn’t even know what she had taken? That’s incredible. The couch picture of you is lovely, by the way πŸ™‚

  22. Jillian

    January 30th, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I first heard about Vivian Maier on a KCRW morning show. It was one of those times I had to sit in my car for 20 minutes to finish listening to her story thus making me late for my appointment. Such an amazing discovery.

  23. Kyle Bromley

    January 30th, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I love Vivian! Her work is breath taking. It saddens me that she never lived to see her work next to the masters. Goes to show your snapshots can be photographic gold!

  24. kim butler

    January 30th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    i would have begged for that couch too! love the color!

  25. Dominique

    January 30th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I went to this exhibit in Chicago and just fell in love with her work. Thanks for the head’s up on the book, I’m all over ordering that!

  26. Sonal

    January 30th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I feel in love with Ms. Maier too! When I first heard about her, I couldn’t believe that 1) she had taken *so many* moving, significant, and important photos, and 2) not only had other people not seen her photos, but *she herself* hadn’t seen most of her own photos… I often wonder if she had any inkling of her enormous talent…?
    PS – That sofa *is* awesome; at least you have a fabulous picture. πŸ™‚

  27. Tami Inoue

    January 30th, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    What a fun day and amazing photographer!! I’m in love with that couch too!

  28. Katelyn James

    January 30th, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    gosh she was a phenomenal artist!!! Loved seeing her work!! thanks for posting:)

  29. Stacey

    January 30th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Completely captivating. Thank you so much for sharing!

  30. lmend

    January 30th, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    oooh! i too fell in love with the story, and received the book as a holiday gift. jealous you were able to attend the exhibit — and happy for you at the same time.

  31. ceresa

    January 31st, 2012 at 3:08 am

    thank you for sharing this amazing story….
    amazing art!!

  32. Yuliya Callahan

    January 31st, 2012 at 3:59 am

    She is very good

  33. Family Photographers Denver

    January 31st, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Really she is a phenomenal artist.I m in love with all the photographs captured by her..This Collection of pics is really awesome.

  34. Bianca Fiji

    January 31st, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Never heard of her, watched the video you linked, googled the official site, went to Amazon and checked out with her book on the way to Fiji!!! πŸ™‚

  35. Continuum Photography

    January 31st, 2012 at 8:13 am

    We love Vivian Maier!

  36. AlexanderKiselev

    January 31st, 2012 at 10:10 am

    JD is really cute))
    Love you guys)

  37. Falcon

    January 31st, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Thanks for sharing, Jasmine! I also noticed your photos have a lot of grain in them but I really dig the look πŸ™‚

  38. Aisha Mujib Khan

    January 31st, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Jasmine, I was wondering if you noticed the same issues in your copy of the book as detailed in these reviews from Amazon.


    I plan on buying the book anyway, but was curious and don’t know anyone else who has the book yet. Thanks!

  39. Anthony Quesada

    January 31st, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I have no idea what you are saying Jasmine. Screw the couch, I want that dinosaur! hahaha. Great post:)

  40. Antonia Chick

    January 31st, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Thanks for this post Jasmine – Vivian’s pictures are really beautiful – I’ll definitely be buying the book!

  41. Mindy Metivier

    January 31st, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Love this story!!! Amazing that her work has never been seen before. She has beautiful and moving images…it makes me wonder why she never showed her work to others…is it because she was that private of a person or maybe she was like so many of us and thought that her work wasn’t "good enough" therefore she hid it. So many questions!!! Thanks for sharing her with us Jasmine!!! πŸ™‚

  42. Corey

    January 31st, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    So fun!

  43. Babu

    January 31st, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Jasmine, I have a PhD in history and work with things from the past all day. But Vivian Maiers story made my cry. Thousands of film rolls, nobody saw what she had photographed. Not even she herself. And now her art ist displayed in the museums… finally.

  44. Rose

    February 1st, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Just call me a dork! How did I miss her exhibit!!

    I LOVE Vivian’s work too! I discovered her sometime last year. I may have to splurge on her book!

  45. Stacey - Total City Girl

    February 1st, 2012 at 4:11 am

    Just checked the VM webste and so bummed I missed the exhibition here in NY! Glad you got to see it. πŸ™‚

  46. Terra

    February 1st, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    I love Vivian Maier. I could stare at her work all day. How could one woman’s brilliance go for so long unknown to the world?

  47. Shannon Rosan

    February 3rd, 2012 at 5:21 am

    That sofa…AH.MAZE.ING… Love Vivian and her story.

  48. Stacie Frazier

    February 3rd, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for this Jasmine! I’m completely fascinated and inspired by Vivian’s story.

  49. Mireya

    February 5th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing it.

  50. Paul

    February 20th, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Yep – I want that sofa now too.