Vivian Maier photographic archive: A Lesson on Honouring the Photographer and the Photographed


The discovery of Vivian Maier’s archive of b/w photos was a documentary film featured at the Antigonish Film Festival. The complications around her photographic archive is instructive for how we preserve and re-touch (restore) the photographs in the Imagine Antigonish archive.  Our archive does not have a collection by a single photographer of the magnitude of Vivian Maier.  In most cases, we cannot identify the photographer definitively.  However, this paragraph on the complications around visual representations of people who can no longer speak for themselves, stood out for me.


Why does any of this matter? Because the fracturing and complicated case of Maier’s archive affects how we understand her and her work.

Maier is no longer alive (nor does she have any descendants), which means the printing and presentation of her work and story

are controlled almost entirely by the private collectors who own her effects — none of whom she knew, let alone chose to represent her.

Posted in Cooperative Arts, History of Photography, Photography Archives.

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