Photographs by US street photographer Vivian Maier are on display in Taiwan for the first time, showcasing scenes of her country in the mid-20th century.
Portraits of pedestrians taken from waist level, abstract figures created through an interaction of light and shadows, and mysterious self-portraits are among the 113 pieces on display at the “Vivian Maier, Street Photographer” exhibition in Taipei.
The photographs, some color and others black-and-white, were shot with a Rollei binocular film camera on the streets of New York and Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s.
Maier, a French-American born in New York in 1928, was a career nanny whose photography was not widely known until more than 100,000 photos were discovered after her death in 2009 in Chicago.
In 2007, some of Maier’s photographs and negatives were purchased by historian John Maloof for US$380 at an auction of her possessions to recover her debts. He put them in storage until he found her obituary two years later.
Since then, he has been promoting her work, and has produced and directed a documentary about her life.
Since 2009, Maier’s photographs have featured in almost 100 exhibitions in 24 countries and are now on an Asian tour that includes South Korea, China and, for the first time, Taiwan.
Maier’s work shows the contrasting lives of people of different socioeconomic statuses, while also capturing moments of joy and tenderness on the city streets, said Art Angle Corp, organizer of the exhibition in Taiwan.
The most intriguing photos are her self-portraits, which show her staring impassively at herself in mirrors, windows and other reflective surfaces, Art Angle chief executive officer Abel Lin said.
Her photographs from the 1970s have vivid colors, giving more life and spontaneity to the subjects, Lin said, adding that the exhibition explores the “value of humans.”
Lin said he hopes the exhibition and Maier’s story would encourage people to explore “the reason we take photos.”
While Taiwan has no shortage of photographers and camera equipment, most people do not know why they take pictures and are reluctant to review their own work, he said.
The exhibition at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park’s Warehouse No. 1 runs until Sept. 6.
The admission price is NT$280.
more OCAC News, welcome to OCACNEWS.NET