I have a closet fascination with photography. Sometimes I wish I was a talented photographer, while other times I find the idea of using a ‘real camera’ completely absurd (I’m much more into phontography). However, I can definitely appreciate great photography, and one such instance is the photographs taken by Vivian Maier. You won’t find her around anymore – unfortunately, she passed away quite some time ago.
There’s a great write-up of Maier’s treasure trove on My Modern Met:
Maier was born in New York in 1926, lived in France and then returned to New York in 1951 where she lived for five years. She wandered the streets and, mostly using her Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera, snapped pictures wherever she went. Later, Maier would move to Chicago to work as a nanny for forty years. Taking pictures into the late 1990s, Maier would leave behind a body of work comprising over 100,000 negatives. She did not share her pictures with others and many she never saw herself. In fact, she left behind hundreds of undeveloped rolls of film.
Enter John Maloof, a young eBay entrepreneur and real estate agent. In 2007, after acquiring a box full of Maier’s negatives for $400 at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side almost by accident (he thought he was purchasing pictures of Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood), the then 26-year-old would soon realize that he had stumbled upon something epic.
Now 50 years after Maier took her photos, her body of work has gone on to receive critical acclaim. Her vintage street scenes depicting life in Chicago and New York have received worldwide attention. The photos that were seemingly destined for obscurity, have been given a new lease on life.
Here’s a few of my favorites: