A while back I posted about a fantastic photography collection by a photographer not known or appreciated while she was alive: Vivian Maier.
I said at that time I wanted to see her other book, Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows. It finally came in for me at the library, and over the past few weeks I've spent some time looking it over. The photographs are gorgeous (I still love the ones of people looking directly at her the most), but what I particularly appreciated in this volume was getting some more of the background on Vivian. I wish I'd seen this book first; but it's okay. Her photography stands on its own merit, even without knowing anything about her. But I did appreciate learning a bit more of her background, which the editors of this collection went to great lengths to provide:
"To better understand Maier, we tracked down everyone we could find--from the suburbs of Chicago to the slopes of the French Alps, where she grew up. We talked to old acquaintances in the beautiful French valley of Champsaur who knew her as a schoolgirl, contacted those for whom she worked on Long Island during the 1950s, and interviewed people who knew her in Chicago. Their portraits of Maier are remarkably similar. She was a tough woman engrossed in photography, cinema (everything from classics to B movies), books (mostly biographies and autobiographies), and politics (liberal and feminist). She cared deeply about the poor and oppressed (Native Americans and African Americans, in particular) and showed little interest in the material world." (p. 19.)It's a gorgeous book, well worth a look. And it makes me want to revisit some other photography book favorites of mine: Hubert's Freaks: The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus, and The Oxford Project.