Vivian Maier – Composition Tips Part Five

Maier’s Typical Street Portrait.

Maier has a signature crop to her street portraits. In the image above, you can see the rough size relationship of the subject to the 6×6 frame of her Rolleiflex marked out. Below, you can see the rough dimensions / proportional relationship running consistently throughout the compositions. Even her self-portrait almost conforms to the signature crop.

Untitled 4Each composition includes a focus on the facial expression of the subject. Maier takes it further by also including their upper torso – from roughly just above the belly button upwards. By including the torso, Maier manages to incorporate the person’s clothes, adding additional clues to their personality and what they might be feeling. With the passage of time, the inclusion of the subject’s clothes becomes even more dramatic.

Maier’s self portrait shows both a quite intense face combined with a very stern looking outfit, for example.

Most of the shots are taken from a slightly lower perspective than eye level – a function of the waist level finder on the Rolleiflex. Looking upwards gives a slightly more positive feel, maybe more upbeat, to the images.


Click here to read part one.

Click here to read part two.

Click here to read part three.

Click here to read part four.

One Response to “Vivian Maier – Composition Tips Part Five”

  1. I loved these compositions. Learned a thing or two for my future photos. Thanks for sharing!


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