Some tellings of Maier's story suggest that perhaps we should feel a proxy regret, that we should feel sorry about her solitude, her rages, her dark edges, her impecunious existence. Shall we make her a martyr or can we allow that she may have had the life she wanted ? How did she see herself ? We know that she was looking at that too - the copious self-portraits prove it. She often photographed her own sphinx-like expression in the reflection of bathroom mirrors, car windows, shop windows, shards of glass and curves of aluminum. She captured her shadow creeping across the frame to touch an empty sidewalk, a lone horsehoe crab, a flowering lawn. These pictures help me to understand, finally, that Maier isn't invisible, except to us. She was looking at herself all along.
The New Yorker