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Yesterday I discovered someone who I wished I had known years ago. Her name is Vivian Maier and coincidentally yesterday was her birthday, which is kinda neat I discovered her on her day. Besides the children that she was a nanny for (her profession for most of her days), no one else seemed to really knew her. As the story goes, a guy named John Maloof was writing a book about a Chicago neighborhood and won in an action boxes filled of photos taken in what he hopes to be the neighborhood he was researching for the book. Instead, he discovered a street photographer named Vivian Maier whos photos filled the boxes he bought for a mere $400. For more of the story, you can watch this great video of the story here:

In the video you saw John Maloof show the interviewer a box full of film that Vivian never developed. I couldn’t image taking one roll of film and not developing it, let alone what looks like to be hundreds. I wonder why she didn’t develop them. Was it just lack of money? She never showed her to photos to anyone. Did she already think her photos were no good on that roll? Not worth spending the money on? With all her work that has been resurface so far, I find that so hard to believe. Wonder what she thought of her own work? Why did she never show her work to anyone? (I have many questions as you can see.)
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I know times where very different back then, Vivian wouldn’t of had etsy.com or anything to sell her prints on. But surely there was some avenue she could of sold her work through, right? Or was that just not an option for women during the 50s and 60s? Maybe she was perfectly fine to have just her families she was a nanny for be the closest people in her life. I just wish she had someone close to her, a friend or a lover that she would of shared her art with.

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Makes you think of your own story, how would people describe you? I feel like I would of liked Vivian. The kids she was a nanny for loved her yet she was apparently stand offish and was outspoken. Sounds like my kind of girl. I wish she would have been able to see her amazing art get the attention it is getting now. I appreciate so much of what John Maloff is doing to tell her story. There is a book and a documentary to share her story more widely that is being funded on kickstarter.com which I think is such a worthy cause. This guy is spending a ton of his own money and time to make sure Vivian’s story is told. Telling the story of someone who never told their own, I wish that happened more often than it does.

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Street photography for me has always made me wonder what the story was behind the scene or person. Part of me liked being able to make up my own story, but I always still wished I knew who this person was who was brilliantly captured. Was it a candid shot, unknown to the subject it was being taken? Or were they asked? Its been said that Vivian recorded conversations some of her subjects as she took their picture. What a very great idea she had.

This finding of Vivian and her work make me want to hear more untold stories. To make sure people who I think have a great story get a chance to tell it or somehow tell it for themselves. As for now, I leave you with a slideshow of some Vivian’s work, enjoy.

(all photos from http://vivianmaier.blogspot.com/ )

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