What a beautiful photo this is, right? If you would have taken it, wouldn’t you show it proudly to everyone you know – post it to your blog or Flickr? Or try to get it into a magazine or competition? But its photographer never did. In fact she never showed any of her incredible 100.000s of photos to anyone. Only recently after her death they have been discovered in an auction in Chicago.
I just saw a film about the photographer who is or was called Vivian Maier – and it had me in tears. The emotions totally surprised me. I have to admit that I am still wiping the tears out of my eyes while writing this. I just felt really strongly about Vivian’s destiny of the completely un-noticed lonely photography genius who was taking photos after photos for decades – but never sought after fame or recognition.
I have studied photography and I love street photography more than anything. I have always marvelled at the works of the great street photographers of the now and then. My heroes are the likes of Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank or Martin Parr. And now there is a new name I have to add to that list: Vivian Maier.
The majority of the mostly black and white medium format shots were captured during the 1950s and 1990s. Vivian was literally sitting for decades on a treasure of 100.000s of slides and prints and 10.000s of undeveloped films.
The countless images were discovered at a street auction in Chicago in 2009. John Maloof who bought the images for merely $400 spent most of the last three years scanning the work. But he is far from finished.
He has dedicated pretty much his whole life to rescue the incredible photos of Vivian for the generations to come. Maloof says that every day he discovers new images that blow him away. His mission is to get her work published in galleries around the world, to print books and make films to make sure that Maier gets the recognition she deserves.
It really has overwhelmed me that such a genius never had the urge to show anyone her images. She was described as a loner living on her own in a flat in Chicago which was cluttered to the ceiling with boxes. She always wandered around the streets and travelled the world by herself – only accompanied by her camera.
I imagine that the only close friend or love she ever found was her photography. Something that just moved me so much. And it also remined me of how strongly I feel about street photography and that I could never imagine my life without it.
But have a look for yourself at some examples below and you will probably understand my slightly emotional state. These photos are destined to touch many people hearts. And Vivian Maier is a name to be remembered and honoured forever.
Also check out the blog of Jon Maloof where he keeps posting newly discovered images:
And here is the vidoe that moved me to tears: