Prolific street photographer Vivian Maier may be best known for her self-portraits and her incredible life story, but it’s really her ability to capture candid moments of humanity that has made her photography so enduring. As a skilled photographer, Maier moved quietly through the streets of Chicago and New York, clicking her shutter each time she came upon a slice of life worth capturing. Her skills as a storyteller are especially evident in her photographs of couples.
It’s in these images that Maier is easily able to transmit the connection between these pairs of men and women. Her stunning photos of couples display an undeniable familiarity and chemistry between each person, making their partnership obvious at first glance. Whether embarking on a romantic carriage ride or enjoying the scenery during a boat trip, each couple has been immortalized at various stages of their relationship. Young and old, they each have a bond that Maier is able to encapsulate within a frame—a moment frozen in time.
Her pictures of couples demonstrate just how in tune Maier was with her subjects. Years of observing people clearly left her with the capacity to read body language and frame her photographs in a manner that tells a story without words. It’s in the small physical interactions that we feel the rapport between the couples, whether it’s gently resting one’s head on the shoulder of their companion or holding hands across a dinner table. These small gestures of love are the ones that are universal and continue to resonate over 50 years after the photographs were taken.
Perhaps this is why Vivian Maier’s work continues to strike a chord today. Her uncanny ability to cut to the core of human relationships makes her work a timeless triumph that has resonated with the public long after her passing.