My New Favorite Black and White Photographer: Vivian Maier

Thank you, Nirzhar, for forwarding this article about Vivian Maier. Her work is simply beautiful, quiet, and real. She wondered the streets of her Chicago home where she worked as a nanny, taking portraits of people, objects and buildings. Often she didn’t even fully process her work – rolls and rolls of her negatives were found and purchased by Jeff Goldstein and John Maloof:

John Maloof, a 29-year-old eBay entrepreneur and real estate agent, is now principal cheerleader in the effort to find a niche for Ms. Maier at the pantheon of modern photography. He is only about one-tenth of the way into the task of scanning and archiving 100,000 negatives of hers in his possession, working with his friend Anthony Rydzon. And they have yet to develop several hundred rolls of black-and-white film and about 600 color rolls.

Another large collection — including 12,000 negatives and 70 homemade movies — is in the hands of Jeff Goldstein and his collaborators at Vivian Maier Photography.

Mr. Maloof acquired his first boxful of her negatives for $400 at an auction in 2007. They had been in a commercial storage locker whose contents were seized for non-payment.

Read more of the article New Street Photography, 60 Years Old.

 And here is some of her work that I downloaded to share with you from her website:


More about Maier, from the currators of her work:

Working as a nanny allowed her to solve not only life’s hierarchy of needs: food, clothing and shelter; it also provided a foundation for her to fulfill her personal need to take photographs.

Vivian Maier’s way of life speaks to what all artists and individuals strive to achieve in one form or another: coming to terms with their personal sense of beauty through pursuit of one’s own purpose.

Like many great artists, Vivian Maier did just this. However, in her case, she did so without the support of family, friends or fellow artists. Through her own isolated efforts, Maier found her life’s mission in photography, documenting her own sense of beauty (sometimes raw) in the images of people, places and things around her.

So, what is it that you long to do? How are you pursuing your purpose in life, if not to be paid by it?