Vivian Maier was a misterious American nanny and photographer. She grew up in France. After comming to USA, she worked as a nanny in Chicago. She used every free moment to go out on the street with her camera to take photos of the people and city life. She left the legacy of more than 100,000 negatives.
Vivian Maier, Self-portrait
Vivian came to USA in the early 1930′s and worked in a sweat shop in New York when she was about 11 or 12. She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men’s jacket, men’s shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn’t show anyone.
None of the people whose children Vivian kept didn’t know where does she go on Sunday. Until 2008. year when John Maloof, a young real estate agent – and a auctioner of old stuff in the suburbs, did not buy an old crate. He didn’t find anything that he needed for the history book he was working on, but he found something that took his breath away. Crate was full with negatives of amazing portrait and street life photography!
John Maloof looking at negatives and at the first exhibition of Vivian’s work
John Maloof:”I acquired Vivian’s negatives while at a furniture and antique auction while researching a history book I was co-authoring on Chicago’s NW Side. From what I know, the auction house acquired her belongings from her storage locker that was sold off due to delinquent payments. I didn’t know what ‘street photography’ was when I purchased them. It took me days to look through all of her work. It inspired me to pick up photography myself. Little by little, as I progressed as a photographer, I would revisit Vivian’s negatives and I would “see” more in her work. I bought her same camera and took to the same streets soon to realize how difficult it was to make images of her caliber. I discovered the eye she had for photography through my own practice. Needless to say, I am attached to her work.”
“Uptown West, New York, N.Y.”
“August 11, 1954, New York, N.Y.”
“September 28, 1959, 108th St. East, New York, N.Y.”
“Sept., 1956, New York, N.Y.”
“January 9, 1957, Florida.”