Monday, July 4, 2011

Vivian Maier - A Life Uncovered

Last week I went to a lecture at the National Portrait Gallery. It was part of a bigger exhibition, about Street Photography. It was incredibly interesting and I thought I would share what I learned with you.
This is Vivian Maier. Born in 1926, Vivian was of French-Hungarian heritage. She was employed as a nanny for many years but was rather reclusive and didn't have any family or friends. All through Vivian's adult life she took photos. Photos that captured American life from the 40's to the 90's. She also travelled extensively and always took her camera, recording what she saw.Vivian didn't share her photography with anyone. She died alone and penniless in 2007 and her boxes and boxes of (some undeveloped) work was put up for auction in a Chicago auction house. On that day a young historian, John Maloof, put in a bid for a box of photographs by an unknown photographer and left the auction house. He later found out he won the bid and after leaving the box in a closet for several months he decided to take a look at what he had bought...

Maloof discovered that there were more boxes out there that had been sold at auction and set about tracking them all down. He now has all but one of the boxes which amounts to hundreds of thousands of shots. Only about 10% of which have been developed so far. It's sad that Vivian had to die before we got to see the beautiful work she created. However, John Maloof is compiling a book about Vivian's life and work, which will be out in November and a film will follow next year. I find Vivian's work fascinating and I hope she knows how much joy her photography has brought to so many people.


B x

All images are from


koralee said...

How amazing...such stunning work. Thank you for sharing all this to take another peek at these images. Happy new week. xo

CJ - Juniper and Roses said...

What amazing photos - I love Black and White photos.

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