Vivian Maier.

Pete Coles, a friend of ours from the UK, sent us a link to the website of an obscure American Street Photographer.

Vivian Maier (1926 – 2009) was born in New York to a French mother and Austrian father. She spent her early years in France and started taking photos on a Kodak Brownie box camera. On returning to New York in 1952 Vivian purchased a Rolleiflex, square format camera and her photography blossomed.

Many of her photos feature portraits of the urban poor, shot in a manner that is strangly contemporary, especially for post war America.

She supported herself as a nanny in New York and Chicago but her passion was photography. Everywhere she went she would obsessively take photos, most of which were never printed or even developed.

She kept her photos in storage and the negatives were eventually sold off in 2007 because of a non-payment of rent.

John Maloof was one of several collectors who purchased her work. He discovered over 100,000 images in black and white and colour, plus 8mm film and a large collection of her memorabilia. You can read her story and see some of her amazing photographs on

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