What if one of the most important street photographers of the 20th century was a 1950s children’s nanny who kept herself to herself and never showed a single one of her photographs to anyone?
Decades later in 2007, a Chicago real estate agent and historical hobbyist, John Maloof purchased a box of never-seen, never-developed film negatives of an unknown ‘amateur’ photographer for $380 at his local auction house.
John began developing his new collection of photographs, some 100,000 negatives in total, that had been abandoned in a storage locker in Chicago before they ended up at the auction house. It became clear these were no ordinary street snaps of 1950s & 60s Chicago and New York and so John embarked on a journey to find out who was behind the photographs and soon discovered her name: Vivien Maier.
“I went to a Bruce Springsteen concert last night and it was…what’s the word I’m looking for…the greatest night of my life! Let me ask you guys a question, have you ever hugged Bruce Springsteen? …I did. It was nice, and and you know what I’ve got underneath this suit? The clothes I wore.
Are you a fan of joy? Do you like joy? If you like joy you should go see Bruce Springsteen. I actually have a little something from last night’s show that I think you’ll like.” October 18, 2007 (x)