At a local auction in 2007 a Chicago real estate agent named John Maloof purchased a box of undeveloped film negatives for $380. John began developing the over 100,000 negatives from an unknown photographer that had been abandoned in a storage locker. What he found wasn’t the usual photos of family vacations or birthday parties. These snapshots were from the 1950s and 60s, taken on the streets of Chicago and New York, of everyone and everything. John set out to find out who was behind the camera and soon discovered her name: Vivian Maier.
Unfortunately, Vivian passed away in 2009 after hitting her head on some ice. She was 83 years old. What John was able to find out about this mysteriously private woman, however, was that she was born in New York and raised in France, moved back to New York in 1951 at 25 years old, was a nanny for 40 years and spent her time off wandering the streets, taking photos of everyone from the homeless to the well-dressed with a Rollieflex camera. As a young girl, Vivian and her mother lived with Jeanne J. Bertrand, a French pioneer of photography who knew the founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Some of the most intriguing photographs are of her own reflection. Vivian had a way of capturing her subject’s soul, their very essence, in the click of her camera. Take a second to think about it: she never saw any of her photographs. Her curiosity was satisfied by finding the right thing to look at through the lens. For Vivian, it was about the thrill of taking the picture.
Her photographs have been exhibited globally in London, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Hamburg and Oslo. John Maloof has made a documentary film called Finding Vivian Maier.
THE SQUARES – WEEK 24
My apologies for being a day late with this post. You can blame the head cold that attacked me. Or as Evan put it, my white blood cells were busy attacking what was making me sick. (Thank you Magic School Bus!) I tried a new pattern this week for squares two and four – two SC together followed by one chain. I really like the resulting waffle texture.
Square six is a special tribute for Father’s Day. To all the dads out there, past and present, I hope you felt appreciated and loved. Special thoughts given to those who have lost a dad and to those celebrating their first holiday as a new dad.
Square Count: 168