Go See “Vivian Maier: In Her Own Hands” in Stockholm

Kulturhuset, with its central location, free entry (not including exhibitions) and the café overlooking the city, is a popular meeting spot in Stockholm. Currently, Gallery 5 on the 3rd floor showcases Vivian Maier’s Chiago and New York street photographs of the 1950s and ’60s.

American-born Vivian Maier has caused quite a stir within photography world. For most of her adult life, she worked as a live-in nanny. Although she didn’t much like children, the profession enabled her to wander the streets with a camera and her bored little protégés in tow. Her daily walks resulted in approximately 150,000 negatives that the world never saw or appreciated until after her death in 2009.

Maier’s work was acquired by three collectors in 2007, after she had stopped payment on a storage facility. Though they were initially put online by one collector in 2008, it was not until 2009 – the year of her death – that another of the collectors linked his blog to her work and sparked massive interest.

Self-portrait, Chicago area, n. d. 30x40cm (11x14 inch.) Vivian Maier II- In her own hands Kulturhuset Stadsteeatern 2016

Her work is notable for its interest in common humanity and particularly its attention to women and children. Her eye for visually interesting yet calm, everyday scenes sets her photographs apart. She also took numerous photos of herself, which, paired with the fact that these are the only autobiographical record we have of her, creates a compelling mystery.

If you’re hoping to stop by Kulturhuset to see Maier’s work during your lunch break or to kill time in between meetings – don’t, it’ll be a waste. To really make the most of the exhibition, set aside at least two to three hours.

Apart from the photographs, the exhibition includes two feature-length documentaries on Vivian Maier’s life and work, plus a few short movies by Maier herself (hence, three hours). Try not to skip any of these – as much as the photographs make for a compelling aesthetic experience, you won’t fully comprehend the Maier phenomenon until you see them. Where did she really come from? What do the families she worked for have to say about her? Many questions were asked and answered with a few juicy bits highlighted.

Expert tip: Stop by the wall of mirrors and take a selfie, just as Maier used do. If you Instagram it and hashtag with #vivianmaiersthlm, you can join the virtual party.

Self-portrait, Chicago area, n. d. 30x40cm (11x14 inch.) Vivian Maier II- In her own hands Kulturhuset Stadsteeatern 2016

Vivian Maier: In Her Own Hands

Gallery 5
Kulturhuset Stadsteatern
Sergels Torg
103 27 Stockholm

Opening Hours

Mon 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Tues- Fri 1:00 – 7:00 pm
Sat & Sun 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Ticket Price

100 SEK/adult, 80 SEK/seniors & students
On until 22nd May, 2016

Is there a current or upcoming in exhibition in Stockholm you’d like to know more about? Share it in the comments!

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Marta Karcz

Marta Karcz is a food journalist, recipe developer and translator. She originates from Poland but after taking a gap year in Stockholm, she promised herself she would be back and eat one kanelbulle a day for the rest of her life. After a 7-year detour in London she is slowly implementing her Scandinavian dream. Marta has an academic background in English and journalism. Click here to join Marta for a bite.