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Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife Hardcover – Illustrated, October 10, 2017

4.4 out of 5 stars 95 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Stories--like snapshots--are shaped by people, and for particular purposes. There's always an angle. A new biography, Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife, by Pamela Bannos, strives to rescue Maier all over again, this time from the men who promulgated the Maier myth and profited off her work. . . .  Almost point by point, Bannos refutes how Maier has been marketed.  . . . The achievement of Bannos's intelligent, irritable self-reflexive study is in its restraint. She unseats the ghost and restores to us the woman--but in her own words and images, and without psychologizing. It's a portrait as direct as any of Maier's, and what a distinct pleasure it is to meet her gaze again."

-- Parul Sehgal ― New York Times

"Offers a level of detail and thoughtful reflection that no previous book on Maier has. . . . This book is by far the finest yet published on the artist. I believe it will become a classic in the field."
Art in America

"Bannos offers a clear-eyed investigation of Maier's life, aiming to penetrate the myths surrounding her and to assess her stature as an artist. . . . In alternating chapters, Bannos juxtaposes Maier's biography with her afterlife. She effectively contextualizes Maier's aesthetics within the history of photography, and she makes a persuasive case for her talent and originality. In the end, though, the author is left with unanswered questions about Maier's personal life, her motivations to photograph, and her artistic aims. A sympathetic portrait of an artist who remains elusive."

 
Kirkus Reviews

"Patiently and lucidly detailed by Pamela Bannos in her nearly forensic biography--which unties many knots and brings order to what was previously a chaotic welter of information and misinformation."
-- Luc Sante ― Bookforum

"At last, we have a way of separating the individual from the myths that have been constructed around her. The revelation of greater context is the beating heart of Bannos's book, and she’s clear from the start that she sees it as an act of feminist reclamation."
Nation

"Meticulously researched. . . . Bannos's biography is a vital contribution to understanding the historical relevance of Maier's work and an important challenge to the way in which Maier's work and legacy have been represented thus far."
 
Publishers Weekly

"By carefully analyzing the artist's images, Bannos skillfully tracks her entire adult life: work history, where she lived and traveled, and her interests, and is able to look past the mystique of the 'eccentric nanny with a camera' to tell the true Maier story. . . . The book's strengths are Bannos's exhaustive research and her ability to connect the greater history of photography in to the account of Maier's curious life. This extraordinary work is recommended for all art history and photography enthusiasts."
 
Library Journal

"Bannos's engrossing, meticulously researched biography sensitively reconstructs Vivian Maier's very private life in conjunction with her now massive public legacy as a visionary photographer. Many questions remain and always will. However, Bannos's comprehensive narrative ensures that Vivian Maier's story and the treasure trove of her work will live on, transcending the world of photography. . . . A fascinating glimpse into the life of an eccentric, legendary photographer whose work came to prominence only with her death."
Shelf Awareness

"Bannos's engrossing, meticulously researched biography sensitively reconstructs Vivian Maier's very private life in conjunction with her posthumous legacy as a visionary photographer. Many questions remain and always will. However, Bannos's comprehensive narrative ensures that Vivian Maier's story and the treasure trove of her work will live on.. . . . A fascinating glimpse into the life of an eccentric, legendary photographer whose work came to prominence only after her death."
Shelf Awareness for Readers

"Her approach is refreshing--a clear-eyed, empirical account that counters the willfully obscure, ego-driven yarns spun by the buyers. In this light, A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife is a work of real integrity in a field lacking such a genuine spirit of inquiry. . . . She directs her energies on getting the counternarrative right, and this she manages admirably. . . . In many ways, Maier and the various ways she has been understood, from the 'mystery nanny' to the 'street photographer,' is a construction and reflection of our time and much less of her own. This is what makes Bannos’s biography so welcome. For the most part she lets Maier emerge simply from what she did--her travels, her photos, her actions. Only in her closing remarks does Bannos give us the swiftest brush strokes of a portrait, which is worth remembering for it is one of the most lucid and accurate summations of Maier's work to date."
 
Los Angeles Review of Books

About the Author

 Pamela Bannos is professor of photography in Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice.
 

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Product details

  • Publisher : University of Chicago Press; Illustrated edition (October 10, 2017)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 022647075X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0226470757
  • Item Weight : 1.51 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 95 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
95 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Richard Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Clarifying the Myth
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 26, 2018
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Cat S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Reviewed in Canada on October 20, 2018
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Hollowarth
5.0 out of 5 stars EXZELLENT - inhaltlich sowie die Bindung des Buches
Reviewed in Germany on September 4, 2020
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Robert Westdale
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book
Reviewed in Canada on November 15, 2018
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TDL
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story!
Reviewed in Canada on September 27, 2020
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