ANNA SPARHAM AND ANN MARKS: THE EVER-INTRIGUING VIVIAN MAIER

 

Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1962. ©Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy of Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Photographer nanny Vivian Maier took the world by storm with the posthumous discovery of images that captured the universality of the human condition. Heralded as one of the most acclaimed photographers of the last century, Maier’s personal life and motivations have remained a mystery. Now, biographer Ann Marks reveals new information regarding Vivian Maier’s background and photographic development in order to better inform our understanding of the artist and her work. In this conversation, Anna Sparham discusses the astonishing presentation of Ann Marks and her discoveries regarding the mystery that is Vivian Maier.


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Anna Sparham has worked with photography in the museum sector for over 17 years. Originally from Birmingham, Sparham graduated in 2001 with a first-class degree in photography from Nottingham Trent University. After working with the photographs collection at the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum in Bristol, she joined the Museum of London in 2004, becoming a curator there in 2006. Working closely with historic and contemporary images, Sparham has helped develop the museum’s photography collections and realised several temporary exhibitions and books. These include London Street Photography plus book, (co-curated 2011), Observing the Crowd: Photographs by Bob Collins (2014), Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom plus book (2015), Stomping Grounds: Photographs by Dick Scott-Stewart (2016) and most recently the exhibition and book London Nights in 2018.
Ann Marks is a former New York business executive with a research background who became inspired to unlock the mystery of photographer nanny Vivian Maier.  She is the only person in the world given access to Maier’s records, possessions and archive of 140,000 pictures. Study of these materials and dozens of interviews with the photographer’s relatives, friends and employers, has enabled Marks to prepare a comprehensive biography tracing the arch of Maier’s life with her photographic development.