Born in New York in 1926, Vivian Maier worked as a nanny and took photographs in her spare time. As far as the public is concerned, the story nearly ended there, because she didn’t share her passion with others. Towards the end of her life, her archive of more than 100,000 negatives went into a storage locker, where it might easily have been forgotten or destroyed. Indeed, in 2007 the contents of the locker were auctioned off for non-payment of rent. And that is when her images began to be shared and appreciated by others. Since she died in 2009, there have been solo exhibitions and books featuring her work.
Nearly a decade later, opinion is divided on Vivian Maier’s place in photographic history. Has she left a great body of work or is it her story that intrigues people? Undoubtedly the sudden appearance of this major archive, coupled with the story behind it, has attracted a lot of attention. But I’d like to think that her photographs can stand alone and will pass the test of time. I’m not sure that Vivian Maier would have cared what people think. She was an amateur in the true sense of the word, taking photographs for the love of it – and that is what I find inspiring.
If you’d like to see more of her work and learn more about her, I can warmly recommend the website www.vivianmaier.com