Vivian Maier – A Life Discovered: Photographs from the Maloof Collection

Vivian Maier – A Life Discovered: Photographs from the Maloof Collection

Los Angeles, CA, USA Saturday, January 7, 2012Saturday, January 28, 2012

Los Angeles, CA, USA
Saturday, January 7, 2012Saturday, January 28, 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7, 8-11pm

Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present Vivian Maier – A Life Discovered: Photographs from the Maloof Collection. Unearthed by John Maloof in 2007 at a local auction house in Chicago, Maier is only now beginning to be recognized as an iconic street photographer from the 40’s, through the 70’s. A body of work that spans not only the US, but the globe, Maier took more than 2,000 rolls of film, printed over 3,000 photographs and produced more than 150,000 negatives representing the street life and architecture of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the American Southwest, as well as destinations as far off as Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, and Italy.

The exhibition will be hosted by actor and photographer Tim Roth, who will be in attendance at the January 7th opening reception. John Maloof of the Maloof collection will also be in attendance.

Invested in her bird’s eye view of the people who made industrious cities thrive and pulse, Maier captures gentle and poignant moments between parents and children, the disenfranchised and forgotten, in a country on the verge of social and political upheaval. Maier recorded historic landmarks and their demolition as developments were built to replace them over several decades.

Maier’s ability to grab the right frame at exactly the right moment, with elements of lighting, movement and essence all aligning, is revealed in the remarkable fact that she seldom shot more than one picture of the same moment in time. An intensely private person who kept most of her work hidden, Maier also created a series of homemade documentary films and audio recordings that have yet to be released to the public.

Having worked as a nanny most of her adult life, Maier was described by those she cared for as “a free spirit, but also a proud soul,” - “a quasi ‘Mary Poppin’s’ figure.” She was, in the accounts of the families for whom she worked, very private, spending her days off walking the street taking photographs, most often with a Rolleiflex camera. At the end of her life Maier became impoverished, but several children she had cared for in the early 50’s pooled their money together and paid for an apartment and other necessities in her later years. Unbeknownst to them, a storage locker that contained a slew of negatives Maier had secretly hidden away was auctioned off due to delinquent payments. Maier died in 2009 at the age of 83, before the extent of her legacy had been fully understood or revealed.

The Maloof collection is comprised of roughly 90% of Vivian Maier’s work, which has been meticulously reconstructed, archived and catalogued. The collection consists of 100,000 to 150,000 negatives, over 3,000 vintage prints, hundreds of rolls of film, home movies, audio tape interviews, original cameras of Vivian Maier, documents and various other items. The prints in the Karnowsky exhibition will consist of 100 plus pieces including silver gelatin prints in limited edition of 15, as well as 40 plus one-of-a-kind vintage prints, developed by Maier during her lifetime.

The book Vivian Maier: Street Photographer published by Powerhouse Books will also be available during the exhibition, and a feature-length documentary film about Maier and Maloof's discovery of her work, titled Finding Vivian Maier, is scheduled for release in 2012. The opening reception at Merry Karnowsky Gallery will be filmed as part of the documentary film.

For more information, please contact Merry Karnowsky at, or call 323.933.4408 Press Contact: Jessica O’Dowd