Publications we loved, and the big news stories from the last month in photobooks – featuring work by Peng Ke, Tom Wood, Paul Reas, Vivian Maier and the post-war PROVOKE group
Since its discovery in 2009, Vivian Maier’s work – and her life – has attracted global attention. It been exhibited all over the world, featured in mainstream media outlets, and circulated in multiple books and films. Even so, many details of the American street photographer’s life remains a mystery.
We know that she worked as a nanny for 40 years in Chicago, and that she liked to spend time walking the streets, taking photographs with her Rolleiflex camera – with and without the children she was looking after. We also know that Maier took more than 150,000 photographs, many of which remain unseen, mostly of the people and architecture in Chicago, New York and LA, but also of herself, and her young charges.
Peppers Hideout, Perv’s House, the High Chaparral, the Patio Lounge, and the Showcase Lounge – the names alone are intriguing. They were the clubs of Chicago’s South Side in the 197os, which played underground funk, blues, and early disco, and which also played host to a glamorous crowd of music-lovers. “It was a living self-contained theatre,” said Michael Abramson, the photographer who photographed the scene. A white man in a predominantly black crowd, popping off half a dozen rolls of film every night with a Leica and a flash, Abramson was an unlikely chronicler. But, throwing himself into the lifestyle, he was able to win his subjects’ trust by getting into their scene – caught on film drinking, laughing, and dancing with his subjects into small hours, he “had a ball”, he said. Born in New Jersey in 1948, Abramson was working on his Master of Photography from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago when he shot the series for this thesis; the photographs won him a National Endowment for the Arts in …