Vivian Maier, or Nanny as she has been popularly coined, was an American street photographer whose work came to cultural and critical prominence posthumously.
Originally born in New York in 1926, Maier grew up in France before moving back to New York in 1951. She religiously documented the streets of New York and Chicago from the early 1950's until her death in the latter half of April in 2009. She was a social recluse and had very few personal relationships, apart from those with the families for which she was a live-in Nanny. No-one was aware of her work or had even seen it, including Maier herself, as many of her films remained undeveloped at the time of her death.
Through her photography she had accumulated over 100,000 negatives, most of which were stored in storage lockers across Chicago. Prior to her death and perhaps unbeknown to Maier, her possessions, including her life-time collection of negatives had started to be auctioned off as a result of delinquent storage payments. In 2007, at an auction in Chicago’s Northwest side, her work was discovered by John Maloof, who has since gone on to exhibit and archive her work, bringing it to public attention.
As well as New York and Chicago landmarks and the residents who inhabited these cities, Maier also photographed herself and these self-portraits are amongst some of her most poignant works. Taken mostly in the 1950s, these photographs give us a brief insight into the life of this remarkable woman.