Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Finding Vivian Maier

After hearing about the discovery of Vivian Maier, a 1950's street photographer, Mike, Sam and I decided to head to Chicago to see her work. The Chicago Cultural Center has an exhibition of her work that ends on March 24th.

We met early on Sunday, Superbowl Sunday. None of us are that interested in football, so we had the whole day. It tooks us a bit to get to Chicago, we kept running into lake effect snow on the way down. But a lot of good discussion, photography, art, friends, and even politics.

We decided to go the the Art Institute to see a couple of photography exhibitions. We spent more time than planned, since I had to look at how the Japanese Prints exhibit had changed since the last time I was there, and we wandered through the Impressionist wing for a while. There were other side trips in the museum as well. It's great that such a resource is so close to Grand Rapids. While I like the local art museum, it doesn't compare.

After the museum, it was lunch time. Sam managed to persuade us to grab a cab and hit a Mediterranean place called Reza's. A lunch buffet with selections that changed, and more good conversation.

After another short cab ride, we finally ended up at the Cultural Center. I had heard about the exhibit, some thoughts good, a couple bad. Most of the bad comments were about the printing. The artist used film, and some people think that the prints should be made using traditional materials, rather than modern digital methods. I don't really care much for that argument. I wanted to see the images rather than quibble about the material the image is put on.

I wasn't disappointed. The artist, in my opinion, had a great eye. The images were excellent, nicely composed and capturing slices of daily life where Maier lived. I was especially enamoured with some of the portraits displayed. Overall, an excellent set of images, and my only complaint was that there was not enough of them.

We spent some time photographing in Millenium Park, before heading back home. A fun day overall, and I'm going to keep an eye out for more of Maier's images.

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