48 min

Pamela Bannos on Vivian Maier The Great Women Artists

    • Arts

THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview author, artist, writer, and academic, Pamela L Bannos on the very private yet supremely inquisitive street photographer who spent her days working as a nanny, VIVIAN MAIER!!

Maier (1926–2009) was street photographer who has been compared to the likes of Helen Levitt or Diane Arbus. But here’s the thing: despite taking pictures incessantly and amassing more than 100,000 negatives, she never published or exhibited her work in her lifetime. This is one of the most fascinating stories in art history.

Maier’s photographs reveal a woman who had empathy for her subjects – from children to the elderly – and who were often unaware of her presence. She famously worked with a Rolliflex camera which she would use for several decades, allowing for her signature square format, but which didn’t need to be brought up to one’s eye – enhancing even further how she could catch her subjects off guard. When asked about her occupation by a man she once knew, she’d say “I’m sort of a spy… I’m the mystery woman.”

Tracing the people, politics, and landscape of mid to late 20th century North America, Maier’s extensive oeuvre recorded life as it passed her by. And here’s the thing, because she never exhibited or published her work during her lifetime, she was predominantly known for her primary role as a nanny to children in the Chicago area. So much remains to be missing, which is why I can’t wait to speak to Pamela, who has looked at tens of thousands of these images; traced Maier’s footsteps from the US to France, and delved into the archive in search of everything we might know about the photographer.

Pamela Bannos is a professor at Northwestern University, and the author of Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife, 2017: http://vivianmaierproject.com/. Here is the TV interview of her discussing the book 10 min: https://news.wttw.com/2017/10/19/new-book-focuses-life-work-mysterious-photographer-vivian-maier

FURTHER LINKS!

Finding Vivian Maier: https://vimeo.com/452963941
Her official website by Maloof - including portfolio of pictures: https://www.vivianmaier.com/about-vivian-maier/
NYT review of the book by Pamela Bannos: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/books/review-vivian-maier-biography-pamela-bannos.html
Roberta Smith on Vivian Maier: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/arts/design/vivian-maier.html?_r=0
The New Yorker on Maloof film: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/vivian-maier-and-the-problem-of-difficult-women
WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204879004577110884090494826

Follow us:
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Research assistant: Viva Ruggi
Sound editing by Mikaela Carmichael
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Music by Ben Wetherfield

https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY OCULA: https://ocula.com/

THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview author, artist, writer, and academic, Pamela L Bannos on the very private yet supremely inquisitive street photographer who spent her days working as a nanny, VIVIAN MAIER!!

Maier (1926–2009) was street photographer who has been compared to the likes of Helen Levitt or Diane Arbus. But here’s the thing: despite taking pictures incessantly and amassing more than 100,000 negatives, she never published or exhibited her work in her lifetime. This is one of the most fascinating stories in art history.

Maier’s photographs reveal a woman who had empathy for her subjects – from children to the elderly – and who were often unaware of her presence. She famously worked with a Rolliflex camera which she would use for several decades, allowing for her signature square format, but which didn’t need to be brought up to one’s eye – enhancing even further how she could catch her subjects off guard. When asked about her occupation by a man she once knew, she’d say “I’m sort of a spy… I’m the mystery woman.”

Tracing the people, politics, and landscape of mid to late 20th century North America, Maier’s extensive oeuvre recorded life as it passed her by. And here’s the thing, because she never exhibited or published her work during her lifetime, she was predominantly known for her primary role as a nanny to children in the Chicago area. So much remains to be missing, which is why I can’t wait to speak to Pamela, who has looked at tens of thousands of these images; traced Maier’s footsteps from the US to France, and delved into the archive in search of everything we might know about the photographer.

Pamela Bannos is a professor at Northwestern University, and the author of Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife, 2017: http://vivianmaierproject.com/. Here is the TV interview of her discussing the book 10 min: https://news.wttw.com/2017/10/19/new-book-focuses-life-work-mysterious-photographer-vivian-maier

FURTHER LINKS!

Finding Vivian Maier: https://vimeo.com/452963941
Her official website by Maloof - including portfolio of pictures: https://www.vivianmaier.com/about-vivian-maier/
NYT review of the book by Pamela Bannos: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/books/review-vivian-maier-biography-pamela-bannos.html
Roberta Smith on Vivian Maier: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/arts/design/vivian-maier.html?_r=0
The New Yorker on Maloof film: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/vivian-maier-and-the-problem-of-difficult-women
WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204879004577110884090494826

Follow us:
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Research assistant: Viva Ruggi
Sound editing by Mikaela Carmichael
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Music by Ben Wetherfield

https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/

THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY OCULA: https://ocula.com/

48 min

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