Photos by Vivian Maier
Amazing New York street photographer, Vivian Maier, took thousands of photos in the 1950’s and 60’s that went unacknowledged until recently. In 2007, historian and collector John Maloof found a box with thousands her of black and white photography and film negatives, and struck gold. In 2011, only 2 year after her passing, he published a book of her photography and started traveling through exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, gaining the acknowledgment that she rightfully deserved. A true story of fate and destiny.
For further background on this miraculous story, 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. In her time back in NYC, she wandered the streets with her Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera, and snapped pictures wherever she went. Later, she moved to Chicago to work as a nanny and did that for forty years, taking tons of photos into the late 1990’s, all with a unique perspective. Throughout all these years, Maier ended up leaving a body of work comprising of over 100,000 negatives that she never shared with anyone, and many she never saw herself.
Now, her body of work has gone on to receive critical acclaim after 50 years of shooting them, and all to the credit of John Maloof. In 2007, after purchasing a box full of Maier’s negatives for $400 at a local thrift auction on Chicago’s Northwest Side, he realized that he stumbled upon an amazing set of photography to share to the world. And we’re all glad he did.
Through the power and grace of black and white photography, the following photos capture a raw beauty of mid-century, metropolitan city life in America. The story and photography is all so captivating that it even inspired a documentary film, titled Finding Vivian Maier, and is showing in select theaters now. Also be sure to check out the official trailer, and more find more of her work here.