Vivian Maier was an American street photographer, completely unknown until 2007. Her huge opus of around 100,000 photographs was discovered by historian John Maloof who bought boxes stuffed with negatives from auctioned storage locker. After realizing the quality of photographs, he spent past few years bringing Vivian Maier street photography opus to public via books, website and soon to be released documentary.
When John Maloof bought a box filled with 30,000 negatives in 2007, neither he nor world ever heard of Vivian Maier. She was born in 1926 in New York and spent her childhood in France, but returned soon to United States. After living for few years in New York, she moved to Chicago and worked there for 40 years as a nanny. She was a closed person and her favorite hobby was photography. She could often be seen on the streets documenting people, cityscape, the demolition of historic landmarks for new development and anything else she might encounter on the streets of Chicago.
She never showed her photos to anyone though, but kept it all for herself. At one point, her apartment became too tight for the thousands of negatives and ended in self-storage locker, which was auctioned to best bidder after she stopped paying it.
Currently, Vivian Maier’s work is being archived and cataloged for the enjoyment of others and for future generations. John Maloof remains at the core of this project after reconstructing most of the archive, having been previously dispersed to the various buyers attending that auction. Now, with roughly 90% of her opus reconstructed, Vivian Maier’s work is available to public and is bringing new attention to today somewhat neglected genre of street photography.
Almost all photography experts agree on quality of Vivian Maier’s photographs and compare her with street photography legends such as Henri Cartier Bresson. This makes the whole story even more unbelievable since her work was discovered by pure chance.
Several Vivian Maier books of have been published and a documentary of her life is currently in production.
You can find more of here images at the official website.