It had been a long time since I brought home any big photography books or collections from the library. Partially this was because we've been taking the little umbrella stroller for CRjr, or just walking to the library with our library bag, and photography books are heavy to lug around. But mostly it was because I'm not very good at tracking down neat photography books through serendipity (which is really how I find most of my reading).
So a while back RickLibrarian came to my rescue again but suggesting a book by a street photographer named Vivian Maier. I got the book (one of two collections that has been published; I'm still hoping to check out the other one), titled simply Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, and found it really beautiful.
It's a collection of street photographs that Maier took in Chicago and New York City in the 1950s and 1960s. The photographs are gorgeous--I particularly liked the ones where people are looking directly at her camera--but what's really intriguing is the woman behind the camera. Evidently she worked as a nanny for forty years, and spent most of her time off taking photographs, but she never showed them to anyone. It was not until after she died, in 2009, that her boxes of negatives and her talent were "discovered."
It was just the right sort of book to page through and simply enjoy at night, when I was too tired to read and didn't want to watch TV. I wish the pictures had come with more explanation, but I suppose that Maier didn't leave much in the way of descriptions, and perhaps it would have been too hard to pinpoint the locations pictured in the photographs fifty years later. Perhaps that was just as well. Perhaps it was best just to let the pictures speak for themselves.