Many street photographers and street photography enthusiasts are hold Vivian Maier in high regard. Little do they know, there is a modern day Vivian roaming the streets of Chicago as we speak. Her name is Gloria Cassens and until just a few years ago, she was wandering Chicago taking some incredibly moving street shots with no intention of sharing her photos with anyone. Street photography as she describes it, “has been my saving grace.”
Gloria spends her days roaming the streets taking photographs. She got started in 2010, taking shots with a mobile phone she found on a train. Monday through Friday she is a supper guest at Catholic Charities and in the evenings she resides in a rented hotel room. Her photography centers around the human condition and she takes special notice of others, like herself, who are struggling to get by. Gloria put it this way in a short film she put together called “Gloria Cassens: Bits and Pieces:”
The streets of Chicago are unforgiving. The majestic buildings that dot Chicago’s shore and grace its city, unforgettable. The weary worn and wary individuals that line, litter and lace Chicago’s streets are my interest. Not with compassion at the forefront but for their photographic beauty, their resolve, resilience and tenacity. Along with the knowing that it takes a lot to hold onto nothing and not everyone has someone they can cry to.
Gloria is, in some respects, very much like Vivian Maier and in others, very much her own photographer. Vivian was content to shoot the streets alone and share her work with no one as was Gloria, but that may be where there similarities end. Gloria has her own, unique vision, based on her own unique circumstances. Take a peek at this video, produced by Nancy Stone, to get a glimpse into her life and her passion as a street photographer.