These photographs took my breath away. The photographer was Vivian Maier, and she lived in Chicago, Illinois. She died at the age of 83, just a few days before the man who discovered the photographs located her through her very own obituary.
Photography was not her career. It was her passion. She was a nanny who liked to take pictures. She just did it for herself. I wonder if she if had any idea how amazingly talented she was and what a gift she had? Did she know that one day she would end up in a book just like the ones she read of famous photographers?
I somehow don’t think so.
It is overwhelming to see her amazing work and realize that she did this completely for herself. She did not do it for the money or the fame. Was she just so compelled by what she saw that she had to capture it? Judging by the books that were found in her things, she obviously appreciated the art. Did she not have any idea how good her work was? Or did she, but perhaps did not want to taint it? And then I think the biggest question on my mind was how did these end up out of her possession before her death?
John Maloof who purchased her photographs from an auction said the following of how he came upon this amazing find:
I acquired Vivian’s negatives while at a furniture and antique auction. 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.
I cannot even imagine. He said that many were not even developed. Most others appeared to be in negative form. It makes me wonder if she even had the resources to print them.
Thanks so much for sharing this, fstoppers. Absolutely amazing. And a big thank you to John Maloof – The man who discovered Vivian Maier’s photographs. Thank you to my good friend Dallas Photographer, Debra Klawetter, for bringing this to my attention!
I cannot wait for the book and the documentary. Seriously. Cannot. Wait.
I feel inspired. Inspired to take my camera and head to the street. And to take pictures from my heart, not my head.
What an inspiration these images are. I just cannot stop thinking about them. Have you ever had something move you like that?