There was once a woman who worked as a nanny, who wandered the streets in her off hours photographing pedestrians, policemen, and passersby. Thousands upon thousands of pictures she took, tossing countless rolls of undeveloped film into drawers and boxes without an apparent need for approval or accolade. Tonight in Los Angeles, Vivian Maier’s legacy of fascinating self-direction and independence will be given the art gallery treatment with a reception at Merry Karnowsky Gallery on La Brea Avenue.
From what we know of Maier, courtesy of John Maloof, discoverer of all of those lonely rolls of film and the imagined stories behind them, she did not seek fame or fortune. She wasn’t competitive nor driven by a need for attention or even very much company. For such a rare and precious discovery, I’m both excited and afraid for my expectations of whom her work will attract. Will the “look-at-me” L.A. crowd be up for her self-contained legacy? Stay tuned.