Vivian Maier, an excellent New York street photographer who took thousand of photos in the 1950s and 60s, was left woefully unacknowledged during her time. It was only in 2011, two years after her death, that her photos were recognized for their raw beauty in a collection published by historian and collector John Maloof.
Maloof discovered Maier’s photos in a bulk collection of old prints and negatives that he bought at an auction. He later purchased the rest of her collection but, in a tragic twist of fate, he only discovered the name of the photographer shortly before her death.
Not every photo’s location is known for certain, but most are from New York and Chicago. Her photography is raw, captivating and sensitive – it provides us with an up-close and personal look at America in the 1950s and 60s. It is especially their real and candid nature that makes them so striking. It truly feels as though one has stepped back in time through her photography to a sunny day in 1950s New York or Chicago.
Maier, who was described by some of the children she had nannied for as “a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person.” And some of this shows in her photos, which tend to focus on the working class and the poor.
(Photos by Vivian Maier)