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Vivian and Francesca: The invisible artists

Left: Francesca Woodman; Right: Vivian Maier

I write this piece on photography with much trepidation because honestly, I don’t know much about photography nor photographers. But on this World Photography Day, as I come across the name and fame of a dozen iconic photographers, my favourite two women has been amiss. Vivian Maier and Francesca Woodman, the invisible artists.

Vivian Maier

Working as a nanny between the nineteen-fifties to the seventies; three children in tow and armed with a Rollieflex camera, Vivian captured life at its best and worst. Intensely private, the mystery behind Finding Vivian Maier is as fascinating as the woman’s body of work. With a collection that runs into thousands, Maier's work was discovered by accident in a pawn shop by a real-estate agent as late as 2009; a few days after she had passed away.

There’s no disputing the fact that Maier was peculiar and prickly; her shots range from morbid to benign; rape, murder, urban blight and poverty. Compared to her chosen profession of a nanny, her artistic propensity reveals a woman of bipolar layers. It was like she was everywhere but never there.
For an exhaustive collection of her work go to:

Francesca Woodman

It's almost bleak. But, but, but, that amazing rectangular ray of sunshine

One misunderstood photographer (just google her and you will see why), Francesca Woodman’s photos has always moved me in peculiar ways. Funny, artful, neurotic and occasionally painfully honest; it is sad that Woodman too received all her accolades posthumously.

Unlike a lot of critics who have psychoanalyzed her body of work through the prism of her suicide (at the tender age of 22) I have always found the two subjects completely non-linear. While it is true that a lot of her pictures have an uncanny kookiness, a ghost-like apparition of someone disappearing; I’ve always found suggestive hints of seductive decay. Somewhat depressive but never suicidal.

While not exactly exhaustive, find more works of Francesca Woodman at


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