Exploring How to Take Street Photographs Like Vivian Maier

Street photography fans will be familiar with the beautiful portraits and serene city scenes that Vivian Maier captured in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles. But, have you ever tried applying her way of shooting into your own street photography?

Largely mysterious, Maier has been a beacon for all of us who enjoy different types of photography for personal reasons. With no assignments or paid jobs dictating the direction of the photography, personal work encompasses exactly what the photographer behind the camera is all about. The subjects may be interesting, but end of the day, it's the photographer's personality and way of seeing that shines through in this type of personal work. Whether she would have agreed for all of us to dive in and dissect her photography legacy is still a controversial topic, because unfortunately, Maier isn't around anymore and cannot answer that.

Nevertheless, inspired by her work, street photographer Frederik Trovatten explores the basics of Maier's photography, including how she composes her street and self-portraits, how she utilizes reflections from windows, and how she created emotive imagery of children. Using his very own Rolleiflex camera instead of a modern digital camera, Trovatten travels through the streets of Mexico City and experiments with shooting street portraits and scenes in Maier's style. Trovatten not only shows behind the scenes of composing each shot but also the final result.

Undoubtedly, as consumers, we can be thankful that we get to see and be inspired by the photography work she created over her lifetime because it is beautiful and revealing and provides an enormous source of insight on how to approach photography today.

Anete Lusina's picture

Anete Lusina is a photographer based in West Yorkshire, UK. You'll either find her shooting weddings, documentary, or street photography across the U.K. and Europe, or perhaps doing the occasional conceptual shoot.

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One question is hard to answer: do we still have people on the street that are good subjects for photos?


Depends what a good subject is - there are plenty of interesting characters and faces, plenty of people doing humorous things without realising, plenty of people relaxing and going on about their day without realising they are stepping in just the "right" composition.

These look nothing like Vivian Maier's work. Vivian connected with her subjects and surroundings on her best images. She also seemed to understand light and composition on a high level. A Rolleiflex in your hands doesn't make you take photos like anyone but yourself.

"How to take street photographs like Vivian Maier"
Well hell...now that's just what I want to do, shoot photos as if copying a famous photographers' style. She is one of my favorite photographers, but I would rather have my own identity with my photographs and would never dare to impose on her unique style of work. She has influenced and inspired me to strive to become a better photographer of MY OWN STYLE. But thank you anyway for bringing her back in the light.