This is such an exciting story about the discovery of an unknown street photographer whose voluminous and gifted body of work was stumbled upon by a young Chicago man.
In 2007, John Maloof purchased a box of film negatives through an auction. They had come from a repossessed storage locker. He wanted to create a book about his Chicago neighborhood and thought he might be able to use some of the photographs. What he got was the work of Vivian Maier, a woman who worked as a nanny and took masterfully striking photographs of Chicago street life on her days off. Her work spans the 1950s through the 1990s. There are so many positive elements to this story – Maier’s brilliant photography, Maloof’s commitment to scanning and documenting her work, and the odd chance that her work would end up in the hands of someone who didn’t know what street photography was but be moved by its great beauty.
When I read in John Maloof’s blog that looking at Maier’s photographs had inspired him to pick up a camera and start taking pictures, I was awed by his great fortune in acquiring such a fascinating and skilled ghost mentor. This accidental discovery has changed the course of his life, shifting its focus to preparing her film negatives for the world to see, and it has brought to light the work of an extremely talented artist.