Vivian Maier: Life Story
Vivian Maier was born on February 1, 1926. She was born in New York City and spent much of her childhood in France. When she returned to the United States, she worked as a nanny in Chicago, Illinois for almost forty years. During that time, she took more than 100,000 photos. Most of her images were of people on the streets or cityscapes of Chicago.
In 1951, Vivian Maier moved from France to New York. She was 25 years old. When she moved back she worked in a sweatshop. She made her way to Chicago by 1956.
Almost all of the images that Vivian Maier took in the forty years of photographing the streets of Chicago were left undeveloped in the homes of families she had nannied for. She kept boxes of mostly negatives that she had shot with her Rolliflex camera. Towards the end of her life she lived off of social security income and the children that she had nannied for, bought her an apartment in Chicago. In 2008, she slipped on ice and was hurt. She eventually passed away in April of 2009 at the age of 83.
A few years ago, a local historian in Chicago, named John Maloof, purchased a box of Maier’s negatives. Vivian Maier never planned to use her images to be known for. She kept them undeveloped and unseen. She used it as a hobby that passed the time when she took her walks through the city. So she could capture every interesting thing she discovered.
Street photography is taking images of real world, candid shots of modern life. They are unaltered images of the human condition in public places. This type of photography is very similar to another subject documentary photography. This is taking shots of neighborhoods and documenting the architecture and the culture of the ages.