The 400$ box that Joe Maloof bought at an auction house turned to be a series of 100,000 negatives alongside other prints and roll films that belonged to the photographer Vivian Maier.
Born on the 1st of February 1926 in New York City, Maier spent some of her youth in France and then worked in Chicago as a nanny and caregiver for most of her life.
In her leisure, however, Maier ventured into the art of photography. Consistently taking photographs over the course of five decades.
She enjoyed the luxury of a darkroom as well as a private bathroom, enabling her to process prints and develop her own rolls of black and white film.
“I think Vivian was so secretive because she was a nanny with no ties to any family, no close friends, never married, never had kids,” said Maloof in his interview with the British journal Of Photography, “From what I know, she never had a love life. Photography was the only thing she had. And if you expose your only emotional outlet, it’s vulnerable. If she knew people would receive it the way they are today, she may have thought twice. But hindsight is always 20/20.” He added.
Maier is regarded by many to have had a highly skilled eye and an acute photographic sense.
Exhibitions of the Maloof collections have traveled to cities throughout the United States and to Canada, China, and many European countries.
She could be talking about her own photography, which so nearly sank into obscurity. No doubt her work will also inspire other photographers to take up their cameras and get out into the streets; for now, it’s just good to celebrate her remarkable achievement.