WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BOOK
“Digging through the unprecedented treasure trove of tens of thousands of images taken by Maier, a private street photographer who never shared her work in her lifetime, Cahan and Williams have unearthed a beautiful, haunting collection of a private woman and gifted artist. Maier’s photographs often capture ordinary people caught in public giving intimacies away: an old woman lying on the beach and reacting to a newspaper; two children whispering (kissing?) behind a tennis net; a girl interrupted from her play on a beach; a handsome young man in a dirty coat standing in a doorway, open-mouthed in surprise at the photographer in front of him. . . . The collection’s only and forgivable flaw is that of leaving a viewer wanting to see more of Maier’s work.”
“Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows, in my opinion, presents her work in exactly the correct manner, starting with the book’s size and form-factor: it’s 9.2 inches square, just like the 6×6-cm square frames from Maier’s Rolleiflex. The book is large enough to be a detailed presentation but small enough to be comfortably lap-read. The 275 images are presented on facing pages, one per page, with one in full-bleed and the other inset-bordered with a page number.
The printing is also spot-on: it’s basic black-and-white. No faux toning or other artificial sweeteners or “art-eners.” By all accounts and indications Ms. Maier wasn’t trying to make art or sentimental mementos. She was catching and recording life’s visual fireflies. And that’s how the images are presented here.”
“In Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows (City Files, $60), Richard Cahan and Michael Williams have given us the definitive story about this still somewhat mysterious woman. Of course, the book is filled with Maier’s work. But the thoughtful and, indeed, heartfelt text manages to enrich the experience of looking at her photos and enables us to see this woman not as mere curiosity but as unforgettable artist.”
“Now the brilliant and intrepid photo reclamation and writing team of Cahan and Williams (The Lost Panoramas, 2011) tell Maier’s deeply moving story. They conferred with everyone they could find who knew Maier and chose 300 galvanizing photographs—most unprinted, many undeveloped—from the tens of thousands she shot. She lived frugally while working as a nanny and caregiver, continually taking pictures of her young charges and their world and of Chicago’s see-it-all streets, composing urban tableaus of penetrating wit and empathy. Maier was “painfully private,” outspoken, unconventional, gutsy, and compassionate, and her long-secret photographs evince a profound clarity of vision and intent. Cahan and Williams compare Maier to Emily Dickinson, and her life and work do speak to our most cherished sense of what art is and why it matters.”
“This book is fascinating and a revelation. Not only is it beautiful and compelling and haunting, it is a life in photographs…You will never read a more definitive book about Vivian Maier than Out of the Shadows.”
“Cahan and Williams, coauthors (The Lost Panoramas: When Chicago Changed its River and the Land Beyond) of this fine book have carefully selected and arranged the images, and while the book includes curious vignettes about this unknown photographer, the collection of brilliant images is the strength of the work. They show that Vivian Maier was a great artist—not simply “the nanny photographer,” as some have called her. Verdict: This book will be greatly appreciated by anyone interested in art photography, 20th-century art, and American cultural history. Highly recommended.”
“The still unfolding legend of Vivian Maier has been one of photographic genius discovered only after a lifetime of shooting. Now hailed as a master of street photography, she spent most of her working life in obscurity as a nanny in New York, where she was born, and Chicago, where she died in 2009 at age 83.
The latest chapter in this endlessly fascinating tale is the publication this year of Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows, by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams (CityFiles Press).”