It's the last Friday of the month, time to own up to what I've read in the past 4 weeks, and for the most part it isn't a pretty picture. Buzzfeed online. The Funny Times for a newspaper. And a new low in fiction: Desperate Housedogs by Sparkle Abbey. My god, how embarrassing! Literary junk food for a whole month? Armchair Squid of The Cephalopod Coffeehouse wonders what my best read has been.
There is one book that sets itself apart from the summertime drivel: Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows, by Richard Cahan and Michael Williams. It's a book about a photographer who has fascinated me since I first heard about her a couple of years ago: Vivian Maier, the so-called "nanny photographer," whose thousands of undeveloped rolls of film were sold off at an auction in 2007 when she was ill and unable to pay for their storage.
Vivian died unknown in 2009. But John Maloof, who bought the spools
of film hoping to find original material for a book he was writing about
a Chicago neighborhood, soon realized that he was sitting atop a
mountain of astonishing street photography, shot mostly in Chicago, but
also in New York and France. Maloof's book Vivian Maier: Street Photographer probably contains more of Vivian's most powerful images than Cahn and Williams book, but less about the details of her secretive life.
Out of the Shadows' unedited photos accompany anecdotes gleaned from interviews with the families for whom she worked during the 50's and 60's. Imagine a nanny who took you on field trips to the Chicago livestock yards...that's pretty strange.
I highly recommend this book, especially in tandem with Maloof's book. I hope to see the documentary (just out this year) about Vivian Maier. Check out the trailer here:
Writing this book review has made me feel a little better about myself. One good book per month is better than none.