Have you heard about Vivian Maier? I just recently read aboutÂ this intriguing lady whoÂ worked as a nanny in Chicago in the 1950s until her retirement in the 1990s.
She loved taking pictures. And the art of photography. Yet she kept her passion hidden from the world.
A fellow named John Maloof, who worked in real estate, came across a large trunkÂ of negatives at a furniture and antique auction. As he poured through the box, he knew there was something special about these negatives.Â Images such as these:
He started to show them to other people who recognized how special they were as well.
The photographer’s name was writtenÂ on an envelope tucked away amidst the negativesâ€”Â Vivian Maier.
Mr. MaloofÂ did an online search only to find there was little-to-no information about her. Eventually he came across herÂ obituary, which had run only a few days earlier.
HerÂ short obituary that doesn’t sum up all of the 100,000 images this artisticÂ nannyÂ left behind.
Her photos were uniqueâ€”sometimes quirky, sometimes artistic. She had an eye for light and for finding unique subjects. She was one of the original “Street Style” photographers (before the term was really coined), capturing candid images of many unsuspecting pedestrians. And then there were the children. OhÂ so many photos of children! Perhaps the children she took care ofâ€”which can’t help but make you smile.
Maloof talked to some of her former wards, who each described her as mysterious and utterly unique. The press began to describe her as the Mary Poppins of street photography.
John is helping bring Vivian’s world to others through a documentary he’s working on right now and a show at Chicago Cultural Center.
This is my favorite one (I photos of babies looking over the shoulder of their mama). It’s amazing that Vivian never showed her work to the public. And yetÂ she lives on through these photos.
For more images, check out John Maloof’s blog with updated pictures almost every day. Â You can also visit Artsy to see more of her phenomenal work. Gorgeous.
You never know where genius lies.
PS: Apologies for the smaller and inconsistent imagery size–but I didn’t want to distort the photography.
14 thoughts on “Vivian Maier :: Nanny and Brilliant Photographer.”
They are gorgeous! Breathtaking! Each one shouts a love and understanding of children.
Incredible article Dottie – it brought tears to my eyes. Photography is very important to me too and people like Vivian inspire me to take my camera out more.
Yay! And hopefully you will take your camera out a lot more. It’s all about the inspiration. And you rock, lady!
This one is such a hoot!
I’m so hooked!
Those are amazing! How random to find a box of negatives and find such great photos!
gosh those photos are just incredible!!!!!
thanks for sharing miss alix!!!!!!
these are breathtaking.. what a gift! thanks for sharing!
These photos are simply stunning. What a magical find! I’ve seen these photos circulating around the Internet and I’m completely smitten. <3
wow these made my heart happy and bring tears to my eyes! i love how images can bring so much emotion to a person!! these are really special photographs!!!
i had forgotten that even when i was a child, they had that bar on the swings that you slid down in front of you. the slide strikes terror in my (motherly) heart!
Dottie! LOVE this post… LOVE the pics and LOVE that she is being honored.
i’m such a jerky! THANK YOU DOTTIE For sharing these photos, ack!!!!
Oh are not a jerky at all–you are a love and I was actually quite chuffed cuz I love Alix! And really, we share a modernkiddo brain, so it’s all the same!