One of the books on The New York Times’ list of the Top Ten Photo Books of 2011 features the work of a photographer who, despite having made more than 100,000 negatives, was, until recently, completely anonymous. Vivian Maier was not a professional photographer. Born to a French mother and an Austrian father in The Bronx, she worked as a nanny in the North Shore area of Chicago. In 2006, John Maloof purchased a box of negatives depicting Chicago in the 60s at auction for $400. What happened next is the stuff of Hollywood moviedom. Over the course of a year, Maloof purchased as many of Maier’s negatives as possible, about 90% of her work, and started a blog where he began posting her photographs. The rest, as they say, is history. The response to Maier’s work has been overwhelming, both from other photographers as well as the art world. Her work is being compared to Harry Callahan (the other one) and even Cartier-Bresson. The recently published book, Vivian Maier, Street Photographer, features a stunning collection of photography, taken on the streets of Chicago and New York, that capture everyday life seen through the eyes of this unassuming artist.
“An unassuming Chicago baby sitter named Vivian Maier was one of the pioneers of street photography. But for 60 years, nobody knew it.” -The New York Times Style Magazine
[via The New York Times]