This is just amazing: The most important American street photographer of the 20th century was a 1950’s nanny who kept to herself and never had a single photograph sold or published during her life time. Meet Vivian Maier – born in the US, raised in France (with some connection to Jeanne J. Bertrand) who moved to New York in the early 1950s and spent all her free time from the sweat shop she worked at to document the street life of her home town as well as Chicago. Following a career change to nanny she held that occupation for over 40 years, while still continuing her hobby.
Decades later, and by sheer coincidence, Chicago real estate agent John Maloof bought a huge box of undeveloped film at an auction, for the asking price of $380. Slowly developing her work he discovered the massive talent of the then-unnamed photographer and became obsessed with trying to find the creator of the 100,000+ negatives. In 2007 he found her name. In 2009 he found out she had died the previous year at the age of 83. Deciding to tell her story to the world he started working on the documentary Finding Vivian Maier – soon to premiere this year. In the mean time her work is rocking the exhibitions in cities like London, New York and Los Angeles.
In a day and age where most of us can
spam the shit promote everything from our selves to our local garage band having their debut show, a friend’s art exhibition or just what we’re having for lunch via social media etc., I found it both fascinating and heartbreaking her work was completely unknown. Watching it now at the official site I am impressed by the quality of her photography and find a weird sort of comfort that even though she’s passed on she finally gets some recognition. Read up on her story here and spread the word!
copyright Vivian Maier. Year unknown.