1950’s New York by Vivian Maier
Maier’s massive body of work would come to light when in 2007 her work was discovered at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side. From there, it would eventually impact the world over and change the life of the man who championed her work and brought it to the public eye, John Maloof.
The story of this nanny who has now wowed the world with her photography, and who incidentally recorded some of the most interesting marvels and peculiarities of Urban America in the second half of the twentieth century, is seemingly beyond belief. She passed away days before Maloof figured out who this treassure actually belonged to. And she will never know how loved and coveted her photography would be.
I was drawn to Vivian Maier’s work after searching for street portraiture to help inspire my developed idea.
Maier spent most of her life working as a caregiver in Chicago, but in her free time she was out with a camera shooting on the streets of New York and Chicago, never really showing her photographs, so it was discovered when she passed that she had left behind over 100,000 negatives for the world to revel in.
Maier became poor and was saved by 3 of the children she had nannied in the past. They came together to buy an apartment and took care of Vivian. However, unbeknowst to them one of Maier’s storage lockers had been auctioned off, one which contained a good portion of her negatives and it ultimately led to her work becoming public in 2007.
Her images above were taken in the 1950’s and just looking at them takes me back and makes me picture what sort of times the people in the photos were going through. My developed idea looks at street portraits, but I wanted to focus on keeping the subject looking at you, engaging with the people of the streets, which is why these particular images of Maier’s have helped to inspire me.