She grew up in France and after returning to the U.S., she worked for about forty years as a nanny in Chicago. During those years, on her days off, she wandered the streets of New York and Chicago, most often with a Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera and took about 100,000 photographs, primarily of people and cityscapes. Apparently, she did not share her pictures with others. Many of them, she never saw herself. She left behind hundreds of undeveloped rolls.
Her photographs remained unknown and mostly undeveloped until they were discovered by a local historian in 2007. Following Maier’s death her work began to receive critical acclaim.
John Maloof— the man who first brought Maier’s masterful work to the public’s attention. He set up a blog site as a tribute to her work and posts images periodically. He states on the blog:
“THIS WAS CREATED IN DEDICATION TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER VIVIAN MAIER, A STREET PHOTOGRAPHER FROM THE 1950S – 1990S. VIVIAN’S WORK WAS DISCOVERED AT AN AUCTION HERE IN CHICAGO WHERE SHE RESIDED MOST OF HER LIFE. HER DISCOVERED WORK INCLUDES OVER 100,000 MOSTLY MEDIUM FORMAT NEGATIVES, THOUSANDS OF PRINTS, AND COUNTLESS UNDEVELOPED ROLLS OF FILM.”
Here are some of her remarkable photos:
Click HERE to find out more on John’s discovery