Finding Vivian Maier

In 2007, photographer John Maloof went to an auction house across the street from his Chicago home and bought a box of undeveloped film that had been abandoned in a storage locker. When he developed the negatives, he discovered that they contained a photographic gold mine left by a mysterious woman named Vivian Maier.

Vivian Maier - completely unknown at the time - had left a body of work comprising of more than 2,000 rolls of film, 3,000 printed photographs and 150,000 negatives, representing the photos she took from the 40s through the 70s. She took candid pictures of people, street life, and buildings in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the American Southwest, and places as fara way as Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt and Italy.

But who was Vivian Maier? Maloof spent years reconstructing her work and life - and when he finally found her identity, Vivian died only days before he could reach her.

But in death, the very private Vivian Maier (friends have likened her to Mary Poppins - Maier was a nanny) has found fame. Thanks to Maloof, her work has found new fans from published books and exhibitions across the United States - and finally, a documentary is in the works.

Take a look at the trailer above, then view a selection of Maier's photographs over at the official website: Link | Finding Vivian Maier documentary official website

A few of her photographs of New York:

Undated, New York, NY

September, 1953, New York, NY

Armenian woman fighting, September, 1956, Lower East Side, NY

Sept, 1953, New York, NY

Undated, New York, NY

... Chicago:

May 16, 1957

May 27, 1970, Chicago, IL

August 22, 1956

... from her travels:

August, 1958, Churchill, Canada

Untitled, Undated

And finally, few self portraits:

Self Portrait, 1955

Untitled, Self Portrait

Untitled, Self Portrait

View more over at Vivian Maier's afficial website | Vivian Maier: Street Photographer Book - via The Jealous Curator

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I recently had the pleasure of seeing the exhibition of her photos at The Chicago History Museum. ( She made some incredible artwork with her photography. Looking at the exhibit makes one wonder how she was able to capture such raw emotion in some of the subjects. I was fascinated by the way she is able to pick out and highlight small details, like the crinkles on the edge of a newspaper, in a larger image.
I'm really looking forward to the documentary.
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Her self-portraits are interesting. What she seemed to convey in every photo is her role as a 'watcher'. There's no expression on her face except attentiveness, and she chose a camera she holds low on her body, so that it didn't get between her and her subject. The photographer and the subject would then be equally exposed to each other's curiosity.
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