Have you heard about Vivian Maier? My darling friend, Meredith sent me a link last week about this intriguing lady who was from France and worked as a nanny in Chicago in the 50s until her retirement in the 90s.
She loved taking pictures. And the art of photography.
A fellow named John Maloof, who worked in real estate, came across a large trunk of negatives at a furniture and antique auction. Eventually as he poured through the box, he knew there was something special about these negatives. Images such as these:
He started to show them to other people who knew there was something interesting about them as well.
The photographer’s name was written on an envelope tucked away amidst the negatives— Vivian Maier.
Mr. Maloof did an online search only to find there was little-to-no information about her. Eventually he came across her obituary, which had run only a few days earlier.
Her short obituary that doesn’t sum up all of the 100,000 images this artistic nanny left behind.
Her photos were unique—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. Oh so many photos of children! Perhaps the children she took care of—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 Mary Poppins.
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 yet she lives on through these photos.
For more images, check out John Maloof’s blog with updated pictures almost every day. 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.