Vivian Maier: A Photographer's Life and Afterlife - book by Pamela Bannos



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"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
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"Pamela Bannos attempts to dislodge the portrayal of Maier as a mysterious, freakish figure.
Our critic Parul Sehgal says she succeeds."
New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

"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
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The highest value of Bannos’s book is that it contains an incredible amount of contextual information,
more than has ever been uncovered or synthesized about Maier before. At last, we have a way of
separating the individual from the myths that have been constructed around her.
The Nation
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"In her groundbreaking biography. . . Pamela Bannos offers an exhaustively researched and engrossingly written examination of the life and work of the enormously talented and intensely private American photographer. . . Using an approach that is calm and careful, Bannos offers a look at Maier that is complex and humanizing, but never sanctifying or belittling. . . an impressively documented and nuanced page-turner."
Chicago Tribune
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"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
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"Assiduously researched and riveting biography. . . Taking measure of the barriers women face, Bannos portrays Maier as nothing less than a consummate, prolific, world-traveling, uncompromising, and fearless artist."
Booklist
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"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. . . 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."
Shelf Awareness
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"Behind the Fairy Tale. . . Bannos does her level best to make whole what she calls Vivian Maier's fractured Archive."
NEWCITY
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"If you approach [the book] thinking you already know the whole story, you're in for a surprise. In alternating sections, Bannos has interwoven a rigorous biography with a discussion of the photographs Maier was always taking, the tale of how her work (and life) came to be acquired and marketed by others, and the history of photography, including the enormous impact of photojournalism in the mid-20th century. All this context is illuminating."
Chicago Reader
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"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

"This is an excellent book that reads like a mystery novel tracing Vivian Maier’s life and work as a photographer through the photographs themselves. Bannos uses historical research and interviews as well as Maier’s photographs to string together a story of her whereabouts, interests, and evolution as a photographer. Wonderful and engrossing."
Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, author of Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity


"Vivian Maier: A Photographer's Life and Afterlife strives to correct and complicate what is known about the life and work of Vivian Maier. The intertwined stories of Maier’s unconventional life and the travails of those who have ‘discovered’ her work make for a fascinating read. Bannos clarifies misconceptions that have proliferated around Maier’s story and offers an equally interesting look at the growth of the Maier phenomenon."
Elizabeth Fraterrigo, author of Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America


"The Vivian Maier who emerges from the pages of this meticulously researched book is ultimately more mysterious and important a figure than the initial, and mostly inaccurate, accounts of her life and photography portrayed. The interweaving of Maier’s story and photography’s technical and cultural history contextualizes her achievements and shows a reality that is much more compelling than prior characterizations of Maier as a naive ‘nanny-photographer.’ Surprisingly, Bannos’ unsentimental yet powerful examination reveals a woman who was solidly in charge of her own creativity."
Lynne Warren, editor of the Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography




"New Bio Lets Master Photographer Vivian Maier Tell Her Own Story"
NPR Los Angeles affiliate KPCC interview

"New Book Focuses on Life, Work of Mysterious Photographer Vivian Maier"
WTTW Chicago Public Television interview

Author Pamela Bannos: "She [Vivian Maier] used her camera like a copy machine"
WGN Chicago radio interview



Pamela Bannos is an artist and researcher who utilizes methods that highlight the forgotten and overlooked, exploring the links between visual representation, urban space, history, and collective memory. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including in solo exhibitions at the Photographers' Gallery in London, England, and the Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York. Her research projects include an investigation of Chicago's Lincoln Park and the grounds of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Bannos has taught photography in Northwestern University's Department of Art Theory and Practice since 1993.

Contact Pamela Bannos.

© 2017