Friday, April 1, 2016

Every photo tells a story...Vivian Maeir- she was a classic!

love the gingham...surprise ? 

Cori introduced me to this STREET Photographer...All she did was ask me 
had I heard of her...VIVIAN MAEIR.....and I had not...
She watched a Documentary about this lady who passed in 2009.
That was enough for me to find more and did I ever open a can of worms..

Her story is a sad one and the legal battles over who owns what after a few people
purchased many of her negatives and photos and hundreds of rolls of  film that has never
been developed has caused much  discussion of copyright laws
and who owns what after a death...

Most of her photos were taken in the early 1950's, mostly in black and white
and she took over 150,000 photos of STREET PEOPLE.
She never shared her work!

Every photo can tell a story, that is what I love about her ( view from her lens)
What she was lacking in her own life...a sad one indeed, a dark past which 
led to the documentary about her life...

FINDING VIVIAN, I have ordered the DVD as I could not see it in Canada
and from my search, found that there have been exhibits of her work all around 
the world... It is on Netflix in USA.

Her prints sell for $2,000.00 each...the internet is full of them....
however at the moment a County in Illinois has warned 
anyone who possesses any of Vivian's photos - they are not to be sold...
well at least for the next 70 years or until an Heir is discovered..

Being the hopeless romantic that I am , I loved these photos....the embraces, the holding of hands
such lovely portraits- a sweet reminder  that LOVE keeps flowing through the decades...
and the classics, such as gingham and stripes...

I love black and white photos, there is something besides nostalgia
that just pulls you in...the gift of Vivian for sure...

This one just made me melt.....I love their embrace, you can feel the emotion
and softness of their love...
When I showed David, "that is us sparky, you are my cuddle" 

This one reminded me of my Grand Aunt Lula and Uncle Frank...they were my Nanny's sister and BIL....this looks so much like them...love the fellow looking forward....

This one was Cori and I 's fav....can you imagine the carriage driver thinking...
" I wish I was in love" or something like that ....lol

This one so sweet...like " hurry take your shot, my foot is cramping.." 
or something like that lol.

How many of us could be this lady, deep in thought ..... 
what is on her mind , the extra glass,  the ashtray empty...could it be her lover, telling her their 
love affair has ended.....?
Was she aware the break up was imminent when she bagged her lunch...
look at the squished paper bag... Her gloves, draped over her bag, possibly
damp from perspiration...?

Again, every photo could be the subject of a short story or a BOOK! 

Ohhh gingham again...I keep telling everyone, gingham will outlast us all...the one
fabric basic that will  be a classic forever...
Back to the photo.... " I can see you tonight, my wife will be at a church bazaar"....

I know, what you are thinking...but look at his dark glasses, he is hiding...
hands in his pocket...( shame, deceit, lies) 
her arm around her waist. embarrassed , undecided, fear....

 I so love this for so many reasons, I had a crinoline, it made your waist so much smaller looking as
your dress would look like a bell. The mirror showing the seamed stockings, the pumps with sturdy heels, the image of the man with cigarette in his mouth strolling by.... the hand stitched hem....ohhhh she was good this Vivian...

silhouettes...all in dresses... I miss that so much these days, women don't wear dresses
like they did in the 50-60's....Women looked like WOMEN...
They had such pride!

Ohhhh I had shoes like this, but I am sure mine would be scuff free ( I still remember the white shoe polish and my Nanny touching up my shoes)  and  I remember these
sweet dresses with yolks that were all hand stitched ( smocked) ....and the big hems so that when
you grew a few inches, the hem would be taken down......and the linoleum tiles...
My Nanny has black and white tiles in her kitchen...again that gingham theme....
Do you remember white tights....ahhhhh the memories of this one shot...just 
brings smiles to my lips...

Vivian also took colored photos, but I prefer black and white...vintage, better times,
happier times questioned of course.... a very complex time....

Vivian took many self-photos as well, in fact there is a book of just her self photos..
there was a sadness behind those eyes.. Check out her life story or her documentary...
I think it will tell you so much about our own lives....

Dots, don't you just love her dress and the slight breeze lifting her hem....

OHHHH what children learn from those around them...
look at their poses...

This one  .... the 
gingham dress...I am like the dog who sees a squirrel!!!
I get so easily distracted...lol love the hat boxes, the shoes...possibly
patent leather buster browns...? The white gloves...I still wear them in the summer.!

Women wore hats...they really were not hats...
but such a polished look...

Thanks Cori for opening your world to me and thanks to Vivian Maeir
for leaving a part of hers behind....

Finding Vivian Maeir....
what a wonderful street photographer..

Check out Pinterest for more of her photos...
they are worth the search..

And now I am returning to my  stitching  of my SOAP OPERA wink...

Little update, I found out that Bulger Gallery in Toronto Canada will
be having an exhibit of Vivian's photos this June 25th.
When I obtain more info, I shall share more...

Meanwhile go to 

search Vivian Maeir, there is more info there too...


  1. Yes I know her story and LOVE her photographs. I so remember those wide hems in children's dresses so that you could wear the same dress year after year but longer. I don't know if people were happier then because there was war in Europe but life was simpler and they were happy with little things. AriadnefromGreece!

    1. So nice to hear Ariadne, that you know the story a sad one indeed...and the dresses..yes everyone had large hems...even on my school uniforms.... and I agree, not sure if people were happier but I think the stresses were different then today..we still have wars... and I don't think we can ever get away from the news...like they did in the past..few had tv, no technology.. A RADIO....

  2. You have showcased all my favorite Vivian's and given me a few more to love! This woman definitely saw the beauty in everyday moments. Her work is so beautiful, and it is such a shame that so much confusion surrounded her in life and also in death. If only Vivian had been more like you, willing to share her incredible talent, happiness may have not been so elusive in her life. It is nice to see such a great tribute to her work in your post today. If her exhibition every comes close to me, I will jump at the chance to see it...but with the gov stepping in to claim her, all the joy of discovering her is sure to be lost for this determined young man pushing through to show the world her talent. Everyone in this world has so much to offer. So much talent is packaged in every one of us. I hope that her story as it unfolds will inspire others to create a different story for themselves. Beautiful post Samm!!

    1. Again you stirred me with your comment...Vivian was a complex woman, but also a woman who had something beautiful in her soul that shines through her lens eye. I think there is a gallery in Toronto that has her arts..I have placed a call with them.. What has happened on the legal side is so disappointing...a Court that will no doubt sabotage all those who rightly purchased her negatives that would of ended in a garbage dump...how sad...

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely check this all out. Magnificent pictures.

    1. hi gracie, just check on pinterest and google..there are thousands of photos circulating..I just shared a pin head...she was amazing.

  4. Thank you Samm for the introduction to Vivian Maier. While I admire her works, they brings such a nostalgic feeling along with them. Kind of a mix between sadness of has been lost and boy, that was the gold old days. I will be looking up her story.
    Give the boys a rub for me and thanks again.

    1. HI Tonia...well we have to direct this thanks to Cori, I just dug a little further..so nice when we can share something that has us thinking...for me " GINGHAM" always is there somewhere lol. and yes a mix of both....but also a reminder to enjoy the PRESENT... yes her story is complex and riddled with what if's?

  5. As I am from The Chicago area, I have heard about her. Every now and then some of her photos show up in the Tribune. They are very graphic and telling. So much emotion. A time when love was visible, time could be stopped, everything was slower paced. A time when people cared and were not caught up in all of the nonsense of today. Thank you for sharing these wonderful moments in time.

    1. I suppose you would Mary...as most of these photos were taken in Chicago...it is amazing how a photo can tell a story...a story that can touch your heart on so many levels...x

  6. What stunning photographs! Oh my, Samm, now I will be on another adventure on the internet! haha
    Just stunning! Thank you, dear :)

    1. Sadly Sue, the more I read the more I have come to realize whatever is on the net is it...many thousands of photos cannot be sold or published until an heir is found...lawyers have gotten involved and now it may be decades before we can see more of her divine work...sad...

  7. Loved seeing these photographs! She was a brilliant photpgrapher, and how great to go back in history for a bit!

    1. Hi Lesley, no doubt from your past profession you would have a keen interest and understanding of this artistic venue...

  8. I've had this documentary in my Netflix queue. I need to WATCH it tonight! Thanks for the push.

    1. There you go Karen, lucky you...well I will see it soon enough...please share waht you liked ...

  9. What a nostalgic trip these photos took me through, and I will definitely take a look at more of her work when I get some time. We were married in the mid 50's and had 3 of our 4 children in the 50's, so memories abound during that decade, as well as the 60's. Hugs to you all and hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Hi Sylvia....she certainly portrayed that era well...I just took those I liked on the love theme, but she took on many subjects...so fascinating really....ahh you must have wonderful memories of that decade....and yes to a wonderful weekend..it starts NOW lol

  10. I love B&W movies and photographs. I read and read after your post. I'll be watching it on Netflix tonight also. I worked in Chicago for almost 20 yrs and loved the carvings on buildings...hidden gems that so many passed by without seeing. Stop and take time to smell the roses and look at the architectural delights from long ago is my motto. I would love a book on all those detailed buildings in Chicago. I love old buildings and being from the Joliet area (suburb to Chicago) I enjoyed touring the Rialto theater where I went to movies during my younger years but didn't cherish all it offered and also the Jacob Henry Mansion and so many more mansions I would love to visit. The older I get, the more sentimental I become and the more I notice all the details and textures woven for us to enjoy. Thanks for this wonderful post...

    1. What a delightful note from you...thank you ....loved hearing about your passions...it is funny isn't as we get older we appreciate so much more...It is like we want to fill our minds and hearts with so much before we leave so we can savour it wherever we are going...
      Maybe that is why we have Vivian Maeirs of the world. so we are reminded to enjoy all the moments...

  11. Also I want to say I enjoy a mystery and her life was a mystery...so much still is. I think that's partly why I enjoyed this sooo much. We used to have a newspaper journalist that wrote human interest stories from Joliet. In my mind I envisioned them all in my mind in B&W! I hope someday they will find out what happened to Sarah Avon and Molly Zelko. I won't go into the cases because they are easily found by googling them but John Whiteside kept their cases from going cold and since his death no one writes about them. Looking at Vivian's photos I found myself making up little stories to go with them. I remember going to Maxwell St in the early 80's and seeing men standing around burning barrels trying to keep warm. I had never seen such a place before and lo & behold there was a photo of that area when I was looking at Vivian's photos. What a joy.

    1. I totally agree with you...fame is not for the light hearted, I suspect V.M. may have been, since she never published a photo while she occupied our planet. Being a mystery is a lovely thing that I embrace too. At this time of my life, I have no desire to lose my privacy or
      sense of self...Many do, the price is just too vast for me.. I will certainly look into the names you shared...I love mysteries and it is like the peeling of an onion...some make you cry as you go deeper...xx

  12. What charming photos. I am going to have to read more about her.

    1. I should have noted, this post should come with a warning Mary...I knew nothing of her yesterday, and today, I could write a book on her..lol...What a mystery to this ladies past...through her photos, you can see so many emotions..

  13. Hi Samm, I haven't visited your blog for a while and a lot happend at your house. Glad to hear Sumos surgery went well and he's doing fine. Where was he operated on or was he nutered?
    I was touched by the photo's of the boys watching David in the garden, so sweet. They sure are grown these last couple of months.
    Love your embroidery text on the stool, what a warm and lovely memorial for your beloved cats. Greets, Nienke

    1. HI Nienke...and yes it was just a neutering, but because of the whole in his heart it was anything but a minor surgery...they took many precautions. We have had a couple scares this week and one today when he got very sick...he seems to be fairing better now...but he is always a worry... They both weigh the same weight now...Monchat is a month behind but he eats more too.. and the embroidery on the stool will be as you said a nice memorial to them....gosh we love them so much...as many pet owners do xx

    2. HI Nienke...and yes it was just a neutering, but because of the whole in his heart it was anything but a minor surgery...they took many precautions. We have had a couple scares this week and one today when he got very sick...he seems to be fairing better now...but he is always a worry... They both weigh the same weight now...Monchat is a month behind but he eats more too.. and the embroidery on the stool will be as you said a nice memorial to them....gosh we love them so much...as many pet owners do xx

  14. I saw this documentary. What an amazing artist, although certainly eccentric. It would be interesting to know her true back story! What a wonderful thing that all those photos were found and not thrown away!

  15. Fascinating. I love the one of the little tike holding onto the back of her mother's skirt. Thank you & Cori for introducing me to her.

  16. I know, I know...there are so many wonderful ones...I have now ordered a second book as I want to frame some of them...quite unique they are ...I feel like I know so much about her now....a week ago nada....what is wonderful about sharing x


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